“The authorities have chosen to institutionalize a new crack hill in the heart of Paris”

FIGAROVOX / INTERVIEW – The Minister of the Interior and the City of Paris have decided to bring together crack users in the Jardin d’Éole, in the 18th arrondissement of the capital. This solution endangers the safety of residents, believes the spokesperson for the movement Free!.

Pierre Liscia is the spokesman for the “Free!” by Valérie Pécresse and author of “La Honte” (Albin Michel).


FIGAROVOX. – After the successive dismantling of the “crack hill” of the Chapel (18th century), the Porte d’Aubervilliers and Rosa-Parks (19th century), the “crackheads” have flocked even more to Eole. The Éole park in the 18th arrondissement has now become, for a few days, the official landmark for addicts by decision of Gérald Darmanin. Do you approve of the decision of the Minister of the Interior?

Pierre LISCIA. – It’s not a decision, it’s a hide-and-seek! The reality is that since the first dismantling of the crack hill at Porte de La Chapelle in 2018, no solution has been found to try to stop this death spiral of street drug addiction and crack in the north-east of Paris. For 3 years, the government and the City of Paris have been content to shift the problem from neighborhood to neighborhood: Porte de La Chapelle, Porte d’Aubervilliers, Rosa Parks tunnel, Stalingrad, Eole gardens … Each time, this are the inhabitants who clink glasses for the result which we know today: a whole stricken district of Paris, abandoned residents and businesses in agony. Not only was the situation no improvement, but above all it deteriorated considerably: when I sounded the alarm on the situation on the hill, there were a good hundred drug addicts. Today, there are more than a thousand! The more you allow the situation to rot, the more it becomes inextricable. Failing to have been able to stop the scourge of crack, the government and the City of Paris are desperately trying to contain it. It’s a shame !

Frankly, is it worthy of the capital of the fifth world power to park drug addicts in a kindergarten?

Pierre Liscia

Residents organize a demonstration every Wednesday, they demand that they be « [rendent leur] parc » . Is it normal that residents are deprived of green spaces?

Being a local resident myself, I naturally took part in these events. Frankly, is it worthy of the capital of the fifth world power to park drug addicts in a kindergarten? The government and the City have chosen to institutionalize a new crack hill in the heart of a very residential neighborhood where many families live. There are nearly thirty establishments that welcome children – nurseries, day nurseries, nursery and primary schools, secondary schools – within a radius of 300 meters around the Éole park. For me, there is a deliberate endangerment of the life of others!

Verbal and physical attacks are a daily occurrence for residents, as are brawls between drug addicts. The way of the schoolchildren has become a way of the cross that parents and their children dread. For many of us, even the slightest outing, even the most trivial to go shopping or walk our dog, is synonymous with stress and anxiety. We are constantly living in a heavy and oppressive climate. The most vulnerable and women feel deprived of the most basic freedom to come and go in their own neighborhood. Where are the feminist associations usually so quick to react? An unimaginable nightmare in the most beautiful city in the world, a stone’s throw from Montmartre and in a district which will welcome the whole world for the 2024 Olympics.

The “crack plan” of the City of Paris is more than 9 million euros thrown out the window.

Pierre LIscia

Rather than trying to give us oxygen, they close the lid on us, brushing aside our worries, our indignation and our anger. The Parisians of the north-east are not second-class Parisians on whom one could impose decisions with such heavy consequences for their living environment and their security without the slightest consultation with them. We aspire as much as others to peace, health and serenity, for our loved ones and for our children.

What can the City do to improve the situation?

The first thing to do is to end the denial of reality first. How do you provide solutions to a problem you refuse to see? For a very long time, the Town hall preferred to close their eyes to what was happening in the north-east of Paris. When I was elected in the XVIIIe arrondissement, I was the first to warn about the deterioration of my neighborhood. However, the elected representatives of the majority of Anne Hidalgo preferred to accuse me of exaggerating the gravity of the situation and of stigmatizing its inhabitants. What contempt! We must put an end to the patches that displace the problem and feed it.

The “crack plan” of the City of Paris is more than 9 million euros thrown out the window: not only has the situation worsened since the number of drug addicts and insecurity have exploded, but this plan has contributed to permanently encyst crack in the north-east of Paris by creating fixing points as in Stalingrad or Éole. Taxpayer money should not be used to support crack addiction by providing drug addicts with sterilized injection and inhalation kits that maintain the addiction instead of allowing them to get out of it.

Against the ravages of crack, we are therefore proposing a real Marshall Plan which mobilizes both the Ministries of Health, the Interior and Justice as well as the City of Paris, all with the support of the Region.

Pierre Liscia

For more than 3 years now, I have been advocating a global solution. In addition to the police response essential to guarantee public tranquility and dismantle the networks of deal, it is urgent to equip ourselves with a real health arsenal: addiction to crack cannot be combated other than by withdrawal and therefore by serious medical care and a suitable course of care. A judicial component must imperatively be associated with it in order to be able to order the placement in closed detoxification centers of these individuals who are a danger to themselves but also to society. Unlike rooms shoot which feed the links between drug addicts and their dealers, health care in detoxification centers would break them. The only obstacle and not the least: such structures do not exist!

In this regard, Valérie Pécresse had in July 2018 offered the Prime Minister the financial support of the Île-de-France Region to open such centers, although this is not at all a regional competence. I regret that this proposal has remained unanswered to date even though it is the only possible outcome! When she came to the Eole Gardens last weekend with Rachida Dati, Valérie Pécresse reiterated her proposal, proof that she is the only one to have a global and non-partisan vision of this issue. Against the ravages of crack, we are therefore proposing a real Marshall Plan which mobilizes both the Ministries of Health, the Interior and Justice as well as the City of Paris, all with the support of the Region. This price to pay will always be less than that of seeing the scourge of drug addiction irresistibly plague the entire northeast of the capital. This requires showing unwavering political determination. However, to date, nothing in the action of the government or the Mayor of Paris allows me to see the slightest desire to act.

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