Raoul Schaaf (Abrigado): risk reduction and reintegration
Raoul Schaaf, Director of the National Committee for Social Defence or CNDS, presents Abrigado, an organisation which works with drug addicts by welcoming them, providing them with clean, safe surroundings, offering support and raising awareness of risk reduction. Interview.
Can you briefly present the Abrigado centre?
The Abrigado centre has three complementary structures. The first is a drop-in centre which works to reduce risks for drug users and includes a substance use room for addicts and a medical department. Secondly, a shelter for homeless people and drug users with 42 beds, 12 of which are reserved for women. Thirdly, activities to structure the day for older drug addicts, including psycho-social work with addicts and collaboration with other organisations which focus on reintegration and a better quality of life for addicts.
«The CNDS takes an active role in the reintegration of Abrigado’s target population.»
What kind of support do you offer Abrigado’s users?
The main objective is to provide addicts with a place where they feel welcome. The centre takes drug addicts’ specific issues into consideration. Initial contact takes place in a lounge area; staff also get to know new clients in this area. Support is offered: the centre provides information, raises awareness, particularly with regard to risk reduction, and organises a syringe exchange to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. Addicts can see a doctor three times a week and a nurse is available on site every day. Clients can visit Abrigado’s infirmary for minor medical treatment, including treatment for wounds, sores and veins.
Can you tell us about some of Luxembourg’s reintegration projects?
The CNDS has taken an active role in two projects over the last few years which focus on the reintegration of Abrigado’s target population. The project to help older drug addicts, as described above, focuses on social reintegration through regular activities which also improve self-esteem. This stabilising measure also helps addicts to develop new and long-lasting social connections, away from the drug scene, perhaps as a first step toward a healthier, more stable life. The second project is called Housing First. Its premise is simple: the unconditional provision of accommodation for those who have lived on the streets and are in need. This model focuses on providing people with access to safe, peaceful surroundings. Once settled in their new homes, socio-educational staff members work with these people, who specify their own individual needs.