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HIT Seminar Archive

Drug Consumption Rooms

The world’s first drug consumption room was opened in Berne, Switzerland in 1986. Dr Robert Haemmig and Dr Jakob Huber were among the founders. Dr Haemmig spoke about their history and rationale and Dr Huber spoke about the development-oriented approach that bridges acceptance/harm reduction perspectives and abstinence based services.

Neil Hunt spoke about the past, present and future of Drug Consumption Rooms in the UK including the support shown to them by David Cameron. He also spoke at length about the legal landscape in the UK and how this may impact (or not) on the possibility of these services.


Dr. Robert Haemmig

University Psychiatric Services, Berne, Switzerland

Dr. Robert Haemmig is a Swiss Psychiatrist and Director of Integrated and Drug Services, University Psychiatric Services, at the University of Bern, Switzerland, since 1994. Dr. Haemmig opened the first safer consumption site in Bern in 1986 and was a pioneer in the development and provision of heroin-assisted treatment in Europe. He has been a Member of the Safety Assurance Group for Heroin Prescription in Switzerland since 1996. He is a world authority on innovative harm reduction approaches to injection drug use, patient-centered care and the incorporation of evidence-based approaches into the treatment of addiction. Dr. Haemmig is the founding and past President of the Swiss Society of Addiction Medicine.

Jakob Huber


Jakob Huber managing director of Contact Netz (Contact Foundation). He played a key role in shaping the addiction aid organization Contact and Swiss harm reduction. In the 80s and 90s, which were characterized by distressed open drug scenes, CONTACT did pioneering work in Swiss drug policy and work. With bold, innovative harm reduction

Neil Hunt

Freelance Researcher and Trainer

Neil Hunt a Freelance Researcher and Trainer; Honorary Senior Research Associate at the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research, University of Kent; and Honorary Research Fellow with the Centre for Research on Drugs and Health Behaviour, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK.

Video Credits

All the films of sessions appearing on this page have been recorded and edited by Jon Derricott.

HIT Seminar