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Raoul Schaaf (Abrigado): How to Reintegrate Drug Addicts


Raoul Schaaf, Director of the “Comité National de Défense Sociale”, answered our questions about Abrigado, a structure dedicated to helping drug addicts adopt a holistic approach to reintegrating into society. Interview.

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Could you describe Abrigado in a few words?

Abrigado is made up of three complementary divisions. The first focuses on survival aid, with the Centre d'accueil et d'accompagnement à la réduction des risques pour usagers de drogues (CAARUD), the salle de consommation de drogues pour personnes toxicomanes (SCDMR) and the Service Médical. We've been here for 20 years, in the containers next to the station. People in distress can take a shower, go to the toilet, obtain equipment - including syringes - and substitution products, and we offer 42 beds, with 12 beds in two rooms reserved exclusively for women. We also offer administrative assistance and help with the formalities required in a world that has become very complex in administrative terms. The second division offers support through work, in collaboration with our various structures offering activation measures. This enables those concerned to benefit from the activation allowance, a component of the Social Inclusion Income (REVIS). This can be done by working on the Vollekskichen, for example, or taking care of pedestrian circuits, the Mullertal trail or various nature reserves across the country owned by the Fondation Hëllef fir d'Natur. Last but not least, in the third area, we provide accommodation for 120 people. 

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"Empowering those in need to rise from adversity is the cornerstone of our mission."  


What are the benefits of your action for the public?

First of all, I think our society has a duty to support people in difficulty and protect their lives. We take on this difficult task. We intervene almost daily in cases of overdose, but no deaths have occurred at CAARUD since it was set up. Secondly, the presence of doctors enables us to absorb hundreds of consultations every month and relieve the hospitals, which represents real added value for the population. But the main benefit lies in our holistic approach, which enables us to work to lift people in difficulty out of poverty using all the necessary means: Administrative assistance, access to employment, and housing. Drug addicts are in a state of extreme vulnerability: The trap would be to provide them with comfort in their misery. Abrigado and the CNDS structures are working to get them out of this misery.

How can individuals and companies support your efforts?

I can give you three examples of projects: TABA offers elderly drug addicts an opportunity to structure their day, therefore improving self-esteem, and facilitating psychosocial interventions with the addicted person. Housing First is a second project designed to provide unconditional accommodation for people in extreme social distress. Enabling people to regain the calm and security of a home remains paramount in this model. Finally, we are currently working on a project for a house reserved for women: "Entre-elles." Interested companies or individuals can donate via Rotary Schuman or by contacting us directly.

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