The health and safety problems linked to drug trafficking – especially around the consumption and the crack cocaine deal – are worsening, but the authorities are still struggling to resolve them.
A cheap derivative of cocaine, diluted with baking soda or, more dangerous still, with ammonia, this drug, with powerful but very brief and particularly devastating effects, has been wreaking havoc in Paris and elsewhere for years. other large French cities such as Bordeaux, Strasbourg or Lille. If the number of consumers is estimated at ten thousand in France, a handful of them have sunk and live in the streets. With sometimes tragic consequences.
Treated as an outcast, most drug addicts have lost everything, receive no assistance, no longer have a family and survive by committing thefts or, more generally as regards women, by prostituting themselves. They “carry extremely important issues of precariousness”, the result of “years of street consumption. […] with all the violence one can imagine, ”explains Doctor Thomas Dusouchet, head of the Gaïa association in Paris.
Formerly discreet, their mere presence has now become a problem, especially in downtown Bordeaux or in Paris since the dismantling at the end of 2019 of the Colline du Crack, where they had found refuge. On the one hand, they say they are prisoners of this ultra addictive drug for which there is no substitution treatment. On the other hand, residents of open consumption areas express their anger at the violence and insecurity generated by the presence of consumers but also of dealers, feeling abandoned by the public authorities.
Solutions under study
But faced with this exploding scourge, it is clear that the solutions are lacking. However, there are many structures designed to accommodate people suffering from addictions. About a hundred reception and support centers for reducing the risks of drug users (CAARUD) are open to everyone, mainly in large cities. Two lower risk consumption rooms (SCMR) – called “shooting rooms” – were also inaugurated in Paris and Strasbourg in 2016, for a six-year experiment. But all this arsenal seems to show its limits.
Often accused of doing nothing, the Paris municipality pleads for the rapid establishment of a “metropolitan network” of reception centers, offering supervised consumption, access to care and accommodation. An ambitious project that it does not intend to set up alone, insofar as the support of drug addicts is a competence of the Ministry of Health, and that the fight against drug trafficking is a competence of the Ministry of Interior.
On September 15, Prime Minister Jean Castex gave the green light for “the creation of new places dedicated to reception and rest”, even inviting the Parisian councilor to offer him sites to welcome them, just before the Minister of Health Olivier Véran in turn announced, on September 23, the next trial of Haltes care addiction (HSA) funded by the State.
A debate which was also invited in the presidential campaign, since some candidates expressed their ideas, like Valérie Pécresse who proposes the opening of a detoxification center. Enough to make this already explosive file even more complex.