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Controversy over “narcosalas” in France: the government supports them, but neighbors oppose them


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The anti-repression struggle in Paris enveloped the atmosphere of the city. Although the neighbors opposed the installation of “narcosalas”, they believed it was related to the increase in crime rate. French government And non-governmental organizations support them as the best way to curb drug addiction.
Paris is immersed in a struggle that is not new, but since the city council is run by socialists, the struggle has acquired a new dimension. Annie Hidalgo, Announced the opening of four places Supervise consumption, Called “narcosalas”.
Since 2016, there has only been one in Paris, close to the Garde du Nord train station. There are two in France — the other in Strasbourg (East) —. In these rooms that are widely used in the Netherlands, Canada, Germany or Switzerland, Consumers can inject or smoke under hygienic conditions And start their recovery safely.
The plan caused a lot of controversy in countries like France. Consumers were punished, but it was approved by the chief executive. Emmanuel Macron.
Representative of Macron Party (LREM) Caroline Janville Led this political struggle. “Some people think that it is only necessary to ban and crack down on this drug, instead of monitoring patients like in those rooms,” he defended in a statement.
However, “narcosalas” was opposed by many residents in the northern and eastern neighborhoods of Paris, who traditionally registered more crack users (a cheaper and more addictive cocaine derivative) on their streets.
“For these people, drugs are their belief, and they get it at all costs,” condemned Tarak Sassi, a member of the anti-crack organization in Paris.
Sassi speaks at the door of his house. He is located in the center of the 18th arrondissement (north of Paris), only two steps away from Rue Riquet, which is one of the most contradictory places. “They attacked me there Holding a gun There, they killed a disabled youth. I can’t stand it anymore, they turned us into a landfill in Paris. “
Activists march on the adjacent road of Riquet every Wednesday, which is adjacent to Park d’Eole. Hundreds of addicts now using this drug in the middle of the street have just been expelled from that park.
Neighborhood associations and the right-wing opposition also targeted NGOs. “Why do they have these buses (for medical care) or those drug users? Your relationship with these drug users is to detain them in a center outside the city,” Sassi argued.

“Limit Damage”

Jamel Lazic from Gaia Paris, a non-governmental organization, runs the only “narcosala” in Paris. Signs in Russian, French and Georgian inform the rules of operation. “15% of users are from Georgia (Former Soviet Republic) Or Russian,” he said.

The young director is accustomed to hearing criticism. “Those who say they should be kept in detention centers outside the city are meaningless. It turns out that it is useless. These people need stability,” he said.

They go through the center every day 160 consumers on averageThey are registered there, undergo medical examinations, and are assisted in some administrative procedures. Most of them are French. The average age of men is 40 years old, and they come from all social classes. There are 15% women.

Gaia members said that the opening of this room has not deteriorated the security conditions nearby, which is open for 11 hours a day, significantly reducing the number of syringes scattered on the street, and even real estate prices in the area have increased. .

“We are committed to reducing harm, and we are a door for these people to stabilize and restore their lives,” he added.

Frank, 51 years old, from the Southwest France, Is an example. Due to family problems, he has been under state supervision since his adolescence and started taking drugs in Paris in the 1990s. He has a son and got a job as a professional operator, but his addiction to alcohol and drugs drives him to the streets of the capital, where he is homeless.

Consume Crack one year He was eventually admitted to the hospital due to a mental crisis. Starting in 2016, his life began to stabilize. At first, he was a Gaia volunteer, and now he is one of the 30 permanent employees of “narcosala” in Paris.

“I told my friends who still use crack, you can go out, I’m an example,” he said. Frank, who suffers from hepatitis C, follows a step-by-step detoxification medical plan.Currently Daily injection Derivatives of morphine. “Other than that, I don’t have any more vices. Of course, I have grown a few kilos,” he said with a smile.

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