Mostly those who are unable to abstain come here. Drug addicts have an uncontrollable urge to use an addictive substance, and when it is stopped, an “abstainer” comes on. And without professional help, their mental or physical condition, which is part of their illness, cannot be managed.
Dirty, without veils, they roar. And there are syringes. Smíchov is bothered by drug addicts
Two non-profit organizations operate such centers on the territory of the fifth city district and, according to Mayor Zajíčková, those problem drug users are moving to Smíchov (mainly to the vicinity of the Anděl metro station) and to Košíř. “I have been declaring for a long time that Prague 5 can no longer take care of drug addicts from all over Prague,” said communal politics in one of her Facebook posts. The latest complaints went to the town hall and to the Sananim and Progressive associations, under which the contact centers operate.
“Fuck and muddy between cars”
Zajíčková also shared a letter from a resident who lives on the corner of Vrchlického and Mahenova streets on social networks. “We just watch helplessly as syringes roll in, disgusting (and even fucking) in front of us, scolding on the street between cars, using drugs at our apartment building (and previously even inside). They roll between cars, in front of the house or near containers, where they dig up and pull garbage far and far away, “the mayor quoted the citizen’s fears and anxieties. More have been added to the discussion. They mentioned, for example, the surroundings of the U Zvonu tram stop or the Mrázovka park.
But Martina Richterová Těmínová, director of Sananim, in an e-mail interview for Pražský deník tries to make people perceive these cases a little more broadly: “If we try to look at the lives of our clients individually, the moralizing approach is that everyone can alone, will be untrue in most cases. “
At the same time, he acknowledges that the use of drugs and other addictive substances is a risky way of life – whether it is the procurement of drugs on the black market, the consequent loss of work and funds that force them to beg, or the fact that up to 70 percent of low-threshold clients do not live. .
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“This way of life is often in conflict with the norms and needs of ordinary people, which makes them dependent on their sense of security for their fellow citizens because of their behavior and sometimes their appearance. But it is primarily a disturbed feeling of security – on the contrary, it shows that there is minimal criminal activity in the vicinity of similar facilities, “explains Richterová Těmínová, who is an expert in addictology.
According to the director of the Sananim association, contact centers try to provide clients with treatment, but they also need to be motivated for lifestyle through lectures or educational programs. Field workers, in turn, make sure that clients behave decently, do not crowd, and do not apply addictive substances to the public. “We welcome the fact that the police carry out regular patrols around the center,” adds Richterová Těmínová.
Reducing the risk of infectious diseases
The situation with covid-19 has also been shown to be important for this type of social service, which reduces the risk of the spread of infectious diseases such as AIDS and women.
“The centers equipped clients with protective equipment, tested them regularly, and in the event of positivity, provided quarantine measures in facilities designed for that purpose. Thanks to this, the group of addicts did not become the focus of the spread of the disease, “a special pedagogue and psychotherapist told the Prague daily.
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The mayor of Prague 5 is in the fight for a “cleaner start and safer” district to increase the activity of police officers in selected localities and to improve the frequency of cleaning in parks, which, however, is not enough: “Significantly networking, which is common in western cities. Finally, the contact centers will not be overloaded and it will be possible to really help clients – not only with basic hygiene and syringe replacement (so that dangerous diseases are not transmitted), but mainly with their troubled fate. “
The City Hall is aware of the problem, which is in finding a suitable space and possibly also compliance with the affected city districts. In addition, expert Richterová Těmínová warns against “political populism”, which, in an effort to win the votes of the electorate, wine from various minorities. This includes not only Roma, immigrants, but also drug addicts and the homeless.
The head of Sanani also claims that the creation of a “ghetto” on the outskirts of the city looks understandable from the point of view of politicians and officials and residents, but according to her it is a very dangerous social phenomenon. “Pointing your finger – you can’t come here with us, you’re bad, it’s counterproductive and it leads to discrimination,” Richter Timin wrote, noting that psychiatric hospitals used to be built outside populated areas. “Living together in a more democratic society.”
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Many people have been trying for a systemic solution at the level of local governments, regions and the state with the help of non-profit organizations for several years. But does it exist at all? “Prejudices in us are also one of the barriers to fulfilling the approved strategies. The issue of addiction is often seen as a moral problem, not as a mental illness that has a great chance of recovery, “says the director of one of the three help centers in Prague.