Harm reduction – visits to various facilities of Basel-City

The public policy on drugs of the Canton of Basel-City is based on the so-called four pillar model. The four pillars prevention, treatment, harm reduction and repression are the basic elements of a comprehensive approach in dealing with drug users, which is sustained by all political forces. The concept of harm reduction is also supported by a wide range of social institutions. The common goal is to reduce the worsening of the health as well as the social state of drug users and to support a positive future development.

The tours offer the conference participants the opportunity to inform themselves about the practical work of key institutions in the area of harm reduction and to discuss with staff members their everyday work. On the tour, the participants will be accompanied by a local addiction care professional and will also find the time to take a look at the city.

The Centre for heroin-assisted treatment of the University Psychiatric Clinics Basel is one of 23 treatment centres in Switzerland offering the dispensary of pharmaceutical heroin within the framework of a heroin-assisted treatment. The essential aspects of the heroin-assisted treatment will be presented on the tour through the facilities. The basic idea of this treatment method is that harm reduction ideas and highly specialised medical treatment can complement each other. In practical terms, this idea is implemented through a number of closely related social work, psychological and specific medical care.
The “Tageshaus für Obdachlose” (day care centre for the homeless) is a meeting place for people with problems of addiction or other personal problems. The offer includes not only the possibility to take a shower, to wash laundry, or to eat something, but also counselling and support in social issues. The opposite workshop called Jobshop offers low-threshold employment and job opportunities to 20 to 25 socially disadvantaged drug addicts. People can access the centre’s services without any particular requirements. The “Tageshaus” aims, in the first place, at helping people to create their meaningful daily structure. Wherever possible, the integration into the labour market is encouraged.
The three contact centres run by the “Suchthilfe Region Basel” (Addiction Aid Basel Region) offer users of illicit drugs injection and inhalation rooms as well as snorting areas. Under the surveillance of professional staff drug users are allowed to consume substances they bring along. Furthermore, clean equipment, such as syringes and needles, is available at the contact centres. Offering the possibility of a hygienic drug use aims at preventing infections with HIV or hepatitis C and thus at diminishing the morbidity and mortality rates among drug users. The medical and social counselling and support reduces the risk of distress and social exclusion of the affected people.
This tour offers the possibility to visit an exhibition on the historical development of addiction care in the Canton of Basel-City. The exhibition takes visitors on a tour through the evolution of Basel’s drug policy in the last 100 years. On one hand, texts and photographs document institutions and actors that played a crucial role in the treatment of “drunkards” and drug addicts. On the other hand, the changes over time in dealing with addiction and addictive substances are presented to the visitors by means of interactive facilities. It is demonstrated how different societal and social developments have an impact on drug policy and influence each other. What used to be legal, can be a punishable offense today. What is prohibited today, will not necessarily be illegal tomorrow.

The number of participants is limited to 15 people per tour.

>> There are a few places left for some of the tours. You can apply for them at the registration desk on Wednesday, 7th May from 10.30 am onwards.