Soon Paris will open another kind of permanent shooting gallery – a secure environment for taking hard drugs – in the 10th arrondissement near the Gare du Nord train station. That's where you get off the Eurostar. A site had been approved near La Chapelle Metro stop on national railway land. The drug injection room will provide users with sterile needles, and drug use will be supervised by doctors, nurses and social workers.
The arrondissement’s mayor, Rémi Féraud, told a press conference on Thursday that the gallery would be open in the fall.
Bertrand Delanoe, the mayor of Paris, has green lighted the shooting gallery but faced differing opinions. Vocal opposition has come from local inhabitants and politicians have reacted strongly. An official from the conservative UMP party said 'I see this as yet another moral defeat. It’s an encouragement to break the law.'
Here's Simone de Beauvoir and Sartre at an Existential Shooting Gallery.Meanwhile, the Health Minister reacted saying that the government would crack down on trafficking and drug consumption, adding that the Conservative opposition’s criticism was '...removed from reality. This is about helping sick people, helping addicts so that they seek advice from medical professionals and social workers, and obtain help to quit drug use.'
But that's not the tune of a mother who lives with her children in an apartment across from the street.
The Health Minister also added that the project was 'aimed at reducing the number of people taking drugs in the street, in common areas of apartment buildings and other areas such as car parks.'
The area would be given a boosted police presence, she added, to prevent dealers from selling their wares nearby.
The area around the Gare du Nord is already plagued by drugs and petty crime.
And the plan to open a shooting gallery there has attracted considerable hostility from local residents’ associations, who fear the area, described as an 'open air drugs market' will be further degraded by the presence of a shooting gallery.
A snap vote organised by a local councillor in April found that of 300 residents who cast their ballot, 93 percent were opposed to the opening of the gallery.
Paris already distributes free sterile needles for drug users. Of the 300,000 handed out in 2012, half of them were from distribution points near the Gare du Nord.Shooting galleries exist in a handful of European countries, including France's neighbors Switzerland and Germany and Portugal.
Cara - Tuesday