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Germany

Germany holds day of remembrance for victims of drug addiction

This Wednesday, Germany is holding its annual memorial for those who have died as a result of drug addiction. Aid groups look to use the occasion to obtain more governmental support for those suffering from addiction.

Heroin being transferred from a spoon to a needle

Aid groups say heroin addicts should have clean morphine

Germany holds its national day of remembrance this Wednesday for the victims of drug addiction. Ceremonies are being held in more than 40 cities, in connection with the federal drug control agency and a number of German humanitarian organizations.

At midday, an ecumenical service will be held at the St. Elizabeth Church in the western city of Duesseldorf, to honor the memory of those who have died of drug addiction in the country.

Last year, 1331 people died of drug overdose or complications related directly to drug addiction in Germany.

Since 1998, the country has held a national day of remembrance every year for the victims of drug addiction on July 21.

Medical morphine provisions

Humanitarian organizations in Germany's most populous state, North-Rhine Westphalia (NRW), are looking to use the national day of remembrance to have their calls heard for more support for drug addiction sufferers in Germany.

A German man injects himself with heroin in an injection center in Badem Wuertemberg

The United Nations objects to Germany's injection centers

In particular, the groups are calling for more comprehensive care for heroin addicts.

The German parliament passed a law on July 21 last year calling for the establishment of medical injection centers that offer free supplies of clean morphine.

However, humanitarian organizations - such as Aids-Hilfe NRW - have complained of "considerable gaps" in the availability of the supplies.

A spokesperson for Aids-Hilfe NRW, Guido Schlimbach, said this was due to not enough funds being allocated for the project. He called for "blanket coverage" for those addicted to heroin, stressing that the clinics be open for at least 12 hours per day and that a physician be present during those times.

Author: Gabriel Borrud (dpa/epd)
Editor: Rob Turner

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