Denmark’s new state-financed heroin clinics have just enough political backing and plenty of funding, but they can’t find enough heroin. Five city councils are set to be the first districts in Denmark where heroin addicts can receive free treatment and help kicking their habit.
But at least one clinic, in the town of Odense, hasn’t opened yet because it is having difficulty scoring enough heroin to handle the needs of its patients, according to the Fyens Stiftstidende newspaper.
More than a year ago, the Danish parliament allocated 70 million kroner to set up heroin clinics in Copenhagen, Odense, Arhus, Esbjerg, and Glostrup. Copenhagen got the lion’s share of the funding, pocketing nearly half of the total amount. But the National Board of Health is having a hard time finding a pharmaceutical company that is able to supply enough heroin, package it, and deliver it at a reasonable price.
The newspaper Fyens Stiftstidende says that the government has therefore embarked on a fact-finding mission abroad (location unstated) where it hopes to learn more about the practical side of its project, such as storing and distributing heroin.
Another obstacle facing Odense’s heroin clinic, which is scheduled to open on 1 January, is that locals don’t want the clinic opened in their backyard. The present drug treatment centre in the city reports it is running into difficulties finding a clinic location for the users and the staff due to local bias against junkies.
By Luna Finnsson
May 18, 2009