PARIS, Oct. 22 (UPI) -- Rooms where heroin addicts can safely and legally inject drugs under medical supervision may soon open in France, says Health Minister Marisol Touraine.
Touraine, the country's top health official, announced Sunday on television the so-called "shooting galleries" could be open on a trial basis by the end of the year, France 24 reported.
She said several cities were ready to test the program.
The proposal was criticized by conservative opposition party UMP, which said in a statement the minister's plan "trivializes drug use and legalizes the use of the hardest drugs at the taxpayer's expense."
Jean-Marie Le Guen, the deputy mayor of Paris, last August endorsed the rooms, which would use sterile needles provided by medical professionals.
A September survey by French polling agency Ifop found 55 percent of those questioned against the shooting galleries, with 45 percent in favor. A similar poll by Ifop in August 2010 found 53 percent in favor and 47 percent against.
French President Francois Hollande campaigned on a promise to oversee the first shooting galleries in the country.
A three-year study in the United Kingdom found such places reduced crime and street dealing.
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