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Paris to open trial 'shooting gallery'

The French government has given the green light to the opening of the country’s first trial “shooting gallery” where drug addicts can inject drugs legally under medical supervision. The opposition has described the decision as a “moral defeat.”


The French government on February 5 authorised the opening of a trial “shooting gallery” in the north of Paris, where addicts will legally be able inject heroin and other drugs under medical supervision.

The drug injection room, due to open in the springtime, will provide users with sterile needles, and drug use will be supervised by doctors, nurses and social workers.

Opposition politicians have reacted strongly. Henri Guaino, an MP from the conservative UMP party, on Wednesday told French TV: “I see this as yet another moral defeat. It's an encouragement to break the law.”

Health Minister Marisol Touraine on Wednesday said that the government would crack down on trafficking and drug consumption, adding that the opposition’s criticism was “removed from reality.”

“This is about helping sick people, helping addicts so that they seek advice from medical professionals and social workers, and obtain help to quit drug use,” she said.

French people are deeply divided over shooting galleries. According to an opinion survey by French polling agency Ifop in September, 55 percent of those questioned said they were against them, while 45 percent said they were in favour.

Shooting galleries exist in a handful of European countries, including France's neighbours Switzerland and Germany.

(FRANCE24 with wires)

In pictures : a shooting gallery in Bern, Switzerland
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