Ethical reflections emerging during the activity of a low threshold facility with supervised drug consumption room in Geneva, Switzerland

Sandra Solai, Françoise Dubois-Arber, Fabienne Benninghoff, Lazare Benaroyo (2006)

A drug consumption room (DCR), ‘Quai 9’, opened in Geneva, Switzerland in 2001. As part of its evaluation, a study of situations which presented staff with ethical conflicts in their day to day work was undertaken in 2003. Problem situations were identified via an open ended questionnaire and non-participatory observations. The nature of the ethical conflicts encountered in the identified situations was discussed in a staff focus group and analysed using an ethical framework based on three levels of norms (personal, professional, institutional) adapted from a clinical setting. In a second focus group, an applied analysis, using the same level of norms from the first focus group, was presented to the staff to assist them dealing with ethical conflicts. Situations associated with ethical conflicts for staff were assisting clients to inject, client refusal to seek treatment in spite of poor health, new injectors, prohibition of access to minors, pregnant clients, client self mutilation, and non-participation in proposed activities. The study showed that despite Quai 9's clear objectives, expressed philosophy, and operational rules, the staff were frequently exposed to ethically conflicting situations. However, open and structured discussion of these situations using an ethical framework which allowed the identification of different norms and discussion of their respective importance in order to reach a common decision was feasible and useful in a DCR setting.

Ethical reflections emerging during the activity of a low threshold facility with supervised drug consumption room in Geneva, Switzerland

Ethical reflections emerging during the activity of a low threshold facility with supervised drug consumption room in Geneva, Switzerland (501)

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