In Paris, Avenue de Flandre, the scene of clashes between residents and drug addicts

Crack sanctuary

It is now there, at the beginning of Avenue de Flandre, in front of the headquarters of Cramif (Ile-de-France regional health insurance fund), that traffickers and consumers join together every evening as soon as it closes. the Eole garden, a public park in the district where crack smokers spend the day. For François Dagnaud, the mayor of the 19e arrondissement, the place has become for a year “The European crack sanctuary, with an active line of 200 traffickers and consumers”. April 30 and 1er May, fireworks mortars were fired in the direction of drug addicts gathered as they do every night under the windows of the inhabitants of 15, avenue de Flandre. The prosecution opened an investigation. Since then, police reinforcements have been dispatched.

Aggressive begging

For more than a year, according to residents, the metro entrance of the Stalingrad station located on avenue de Flandre has been impractical between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m., invaded by dozens of drug addicts in need who practice aggressive begging. Because of the noise at night, some residents of the neighborhood whose windows overlook the street sleep in their bathrooms. Exasperated, others throw buckets of water at drug addicts who relieve themselves under their windows or make passes in the middle of the street, when they are not fighting with machetes. “We suffer, and I am prescribed medication so as not to go crazy”, tells a resident.

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“Drug junk”

Crack is a “junk drug”, and this is the reason for its success: inexpensive (between 10 and 15 euros per “stone”, from which we get an average of 4 doses), easy to produce ( just mix and heat the cocaine with baking soda), it is very addictive and there is no substitute. If Stalingrad Square, a place of traffic since the 1980s, had experienced a slight respite in recent years, it did not last. In November 2019, the failed dismantling, due to lack of support, of another high place of traffic, the “Crack Hill” (Porte de la Chapelle, 18e arrondissement), disseminated drug addicts from the North-East of Paris and redistributed them to Stalingrad. Three months later, the first confinement worsened the situation.

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Powerless politicians

Many elected officials reproach the Paris Police Prefecture for its inaction, while the traffic, held by West African networks, is taking place in full view. “The police are not in a logic of drying up, but on the contrary of convergence and aggregation of these drug addict populations”, regrets a municipal councilor PS of the 19e borough. Apart from the prohibitions to appear or the injunctions of care, justice is, for its part, almost powerless. “The” crack plan “, signed in 2019 between the Prefecture, the prosecution and those involved in the fight against drug addiction, comes to an end in 2021 and has not met its objectives”, admits Nicolas Nordman, assistant to the security of the mayor of Paris.

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