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In Paris, the new consumption rooms with lower risk of crack approved by the government

In response to a letter from the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, which dates from the end of August, the Prime Minister, Jean Castex, gave, Wednesday, September 15, the green light for the development of new reception sites for consumers of crack. “The creation of new places dedicated to reception and rest will be supported by State services”, subject to a suitable offer and location, wrote Mr. Castex in a letter to the mayor of the capital.

The latter wants “Offer consumers resting places and a quality weaning route” and wishes to continue the deployment of “The offer of care” as part of the crack plan signed in 2019 between the State and the City.

Read also Anne Hidalgo calls on the State for “new devices” for crack users in Paris

If the Prime Minister does not explicitly mention the development of new lower risk consumption rooms (SCMR), the four new sites proposed by Mr.me Hidalgo “Are intended to be part of the experimental framework offered by the law of January 24, 2016, which the government will take the initiative to extend” with the Social Security financing bill presented to the Council of Ministers on October 6. The 2016 law authorized experimentation with SCMRs until 2022.

Reservations on the location of a room

Two structures of this type have since been launched in France, Strasbourg and Paris. The question divided even within the government, between the hard line adopted by the Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, and that of the Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, whose cabinet ruled “Positive” the results of these two structures.

Read the op-ed: “In Paris, it is urgent to act against the dramatic and outrageous situation linked to crack”

Mr. Castex however expressed reservations on one of these four new sites envisaged by the town hall, located a few meters from a school in the 20e district, and about which the mayor, Eric Pliez, must explain Wednesday evening with the residents. “I am already calling your attention to the obvious difficulty that the creation of such equipment would represent on a site adjoining an elementary school”, underlined the head of government.

SCMRs deemed “useful and effective”

Tuesday, the deputies Caroline Janvier (LRM) and Stéphane Viry (LR), in charge of a mission on the subject, judged the SCMR “Useful and efficient”, but stressed that it was necessary to favor the opening of new rooms “At the level of already existing scenes”, that is to say in neighborhoods where street consumption already exists.

Crack is a very addicting and inexpensive derivative of cocaine. It is causing strong tensions in the north-east of Paris, where street consumption creates nuisances for the neighborhood. In mid-May, the prefecture and town hall had agreed to regroup drug addicts in the north of the Eole gardens, a historical site of consumption on the border of the 18e and 19e districts, with the aim of relieving residents of the neighboring Stalingrad sector.

At the end of June, however, Ms. Hidalgo decided to put an end to this temporary situation by prohibiting crack users from entering the park. Since, “Consumers and crack dealers have maintained their presence around the site and the scenes of violence such as nuisance to residents have not stopped”, also underlined Mr. Castex.

Read the survey: Bringing together crack users in the Eole gardens in Paris amounts to “pushing them back into the interstices of the city”

The World with AFP