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In Paris, a public garden open at night for crack addicts

How to ensure that the place of Stalingrad in the 19e arrondissement of Paris, is no longer, day and night, a vast zone of drug trafficking and consumption, ” the European crack sanctuary ”, in the words of the mayor of the arrondissement François Dagnaud? Faced with rising tensions and the exasperation of residents, the public authorities decided, Monday, May 17, to temporarily transfer this open-air market 500 meters away, in a public garden now open at night. The sale and use of crack, an inexpensive and highly addictive drug, should be carried out in a less problematic way, under close surveillance.

Organized jointly by the State and the city of Paris, this transfer is already disputed. “Parking drug addicts in a kindergarten is a very bad solution which only shifts the problem”, critic Pierre Liscia, inhabitant of the district and candidate on the list of Valérie Pécresse (Libres!) in the regional elections. “The situation had become unbearable for the residents of Stalingrad, replies Emmanuel Grégoire, Anne Hidalgo’s first deputy at Paris city hall. The measures taken should allow better care for drug addicts. I am convinced that we can obtain spectacular results. “

The government and the town hall had been discussing since February the best way to improve the situation in the Stalingrad district, whose inhabitants could no longer bear to meet drug addicts and drug addicts in need, to be confronted with aggressive begging, and to not being able to sleep anymore because of the noise at night. Everything accelerated after the night of April 30 and 1er May, during which fireworks mortars were fired in the direction of drug addicts gathered under the windows of the inhabitants of 15, avenue de Flandre.

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The state then decided to organize an evacuation operation. “But evacuating Stalingrad without doing anything else would only have pushed the problem back a few tens or hundreds of meters,” comments Emmanuel Grégoire. The users would have dispersed in the neighboring streets, perhaps as far as the Gare du Nord or the Gare de l’Est. ” In this kind of case, “It is worse for residents, who find themselves with drug addicts in their stairwells, and for drug users, of whom we lose track, and we can help less”, adds Anne Souyris, the assistant in charge of health.

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