Sylvie Geismar-Wieviorka

Treating drug users From cold turkey to shooting galleries Publication date : May 25, 2016

Dr Sylvie Wieviorka is a clinical psychiatrist. From 1991 to 2012 she was Director of the Centre Pierre Nicole, one of France’s foremost facilities specialised in the treatment of drug addiction, and during the 1990s played an active role in the series of debates and commissions presiding over the distribution of substitute treatments in France in pursuit of a risk-reduction policy.

Neither partisan nor militant, this book is written by a doctor working on the front line seeking to evaluate the most effective treatment to offer drug addicts.

For a long time director of a treatment centre specialising in the management of drug addiction, the author, a clinical psychiatrist, has prepared a review of the evolution of policies against drug use. From the cold-turkey treatments of the 1970s to the imminent opening of the first “shooting galleries”, what are the milestones in this evolution and the reasoning behind them? How did we transition from a policy of cold turkey to support? What is the function of shooting galleries? What are the stakes in this new treatment tool? What can it change? What are the drawbacks?

An essential contribution to an understanding of the evolution of health policies regarding drug use, and support that must benefit the most vulnerable. The author draws upon experiments, among others, conducted in other countries. This is a substantial tool, reflecting upon the methods put to work in the treatment of drug users in France at a moment when the “shooting-gallery” debate is in the spotlight.