Coronavirus: Changes to contact points and refuges in the coming days

26/03/2020 (14:30)
Press release
Department of Health

The current coronavirus situation will also affect points of contact and refuges for drug addicts [Kontakt- und Anlaufstellen (K+A)]. During the last few days, the services offered by the K+A were reduced to just one site, K+A Dreispitz. For reasons of space, services will move to the site at Riehenring 200, instead of the Dreispitz site, in the coming days. This K+A will temporarily be extended with a tent in order to meet hygiene regulations regarding distancing. This will therefore enable the vulnerable group of people with severe drug addictions to continue to receive support, and at the same time protect public spaces from signs of drug misuse.

The K+A have been an important service for people with a drug dependency, for more than 25 years. There are currently two K+A in Basel, at the sites at Riehenring and Dreispitz. The addiction support foundation Suchthilfe Region Basel runs both K+A on behalf of the canton. As an important element in the harm reduction aspect of the “Four Pillars” policy, the K+A offer people with a drug addiction support, advice and medical care. The K+A also help to prevent signs of drug misuse from having a negative effect on public spaces. In the drug-consumption rooms of the K+A, drug-dependent adults can take substances they have brought with them in a protected environment under hygienic conditions and professional supervision.

Because of the current coronavirus situation, it can be assumed that visitors to the K+A will also become infected with the virus. However, the K+A should not be closed so that the health of the users (illness and overdoses) can continue to be monitored and the effects on public space kept to a minimum. To this end, the services of the K+A were reduced a few days ago to just one site, K+A Dreispitz.

However, further drastic operational and spatial measures are required if the K+A are to continue to operate: K+A Dreispitz will close in the coming days and will start operating again at K+A Riehenring, as this K+A has better spatial conditions. In order to comply with the hygiene regulations required to keep providing the services, such as social distancing, the premises at K+A Riehenring 200 will temporarily be extended with a tent set up in the car park behind the container. Only the options of drug consumption under hygienic conditions, medical supervision and handing out of injecting equipment will be offered from now on. The entire area will be guarded by a security firm and care will be provided by the staff of addiction support foundation Suchthilfe Region Basel.