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Drug replacement clinic: Bonn residents fear new drug scene in the Südstadt

Drug replacement clinic : Bonn residents fear new drug scene in the Südstadt

Bonn city administration wants to approve an outpatient clinic where drug addicts can receive substitute drugs (such as methadone) on Niebuhrstraße in the Südstadt. Residents complain that patients urinate on building facades.

New turmoil in the Südstadt (southern part of Bonn city): On Niebuhrstraße, residents have directed their displeasure at a doctor who has apparently opened a drug substitution clinic in the former Sparkasse bank branch without permission. Residents complained about it to the city. The doctor is now threatened with disciplinary proceedings, but he can continue to keep the clinic open. The city cannot deny him a permit.

The Bonn citizens’ association BBB made an inquiry to the city administration about it and was told that the city had to approve the request of the physician to convert the former bank into a clinic for patients with psychiatric and psychosomatic issues. It has to do with the fact that the surrounding buildings also house medical practices, law firms, tax consultants and other institutions.

The city administration explained that so-called drug substitution clinics are not considered to be different from "normal medical practices" in terms of planning and building regulations. After clarification of various issues concerning building regulations, a building permit could be issued in a short period of time. However, the city has initiated proceedings against the physician. According to Andrea Schulte of the press office, in such cases a fine of up to 500,000 euros can be levied.

Local residents had informed BBB leader Marcel Schmitt that people who apparently belonged to the drug scene had been waiting in larger groups outside the clinic during the Corpus Christi holiday and the following weekend. Passers-by had been harassed by some who were begging.

Michelle Zimmermann and her husband run the bakery across the street and can understand the concerns of the residents, although she wants to stay neutral. "After all, we are only leasing the bakery." Some residents, the GA learned, have meanwhile hired a lawyer. "The residents have not even been informed about this agreement", Georg Köhler complains. The 62-year-old lives beyond the railway gate, but regularly visits the bakery and uses the ATM next to the clinic. "I won't be withdrawing any more money there in the future," says Köhler. Like his immediate neighbors, he fears that the drug scene will shift to Niebuhrstrasse.

Since the clinic opened, residents have complained that patients urinate on building facades and drink beer in the open on the street. "I've already observed that." Many children walk along there, said Köhler, referring to several daycare centers in the neighborhood. When asked why the residents were not informed about the clinic, the city press office explained: "Neither the city administration nor the clinic has an obligation to provide that information".

Marcel Schmitt is now calling on authorities to not approve the permit for the clinic. It is well known that Bonn drug substitute clinics are not only visited by drug addicts who live here, but also by addicts from the region, often from Cologne. He mentioned that the doctor in question had already opened such a clinic in Beuel and had to close it again due to lack of a permit. Despite several telephone enquiries, the doctor was not available for comment.

(Orig. text: Lisa Inhoffen; Translation: ck)