‘Crack Hill’ hard to crack: Locals furious over Paris neighbourhood drug epidemic

Universally acknowledged as the city of romance, Paris risks to gain some unwanted popularity, due to escalating epidemic of crack addicts, who put city’s safety in jeopardy.

To the north of Paris, in Porte de la Chapelle, the RT team discovered a place that locals prefer to avoid. Infested with rats and rotting waste, the area has become a hotspot for drug addicts.

Branded “Crack Hill” after the widely-used drug in the area, it was invaded by junkies who live in squalid conditions amid human waste and rat feces.

These addicts smoke the so-called “crack”, a highly addictive mix of cocaine and baking soda. Known as the more affordable variation of cocaine or “drug of the poor”, crack comes in solid blocks or crystals, which make cracking sounds when heated and smoked.

Due to its affordability, over the last few years crack has become widely spread in all precarious areas of Paris, including Porte de la Chapelle. In the video residents of the “Hill” can be seen shamelessly smoking crack in broad daylight.

According to Pierre Leyrit, general director of “Association Coordination Toxicomanies”, there are about 100 drug addicts who are permanently seen hanging around in the area. The issue has got so out of hand, that the presence of these addicts has seriously impaired businesses in the area and virtually paralyzed it.

Locals living in the surrounding territories are fully aware as to why “Crack Hill” is the sort of place that should be avoided. Portraying the disgusting reality of this place, Leyrit said that crack addicts get so high they don’t notice getting bitten by rats running on the duvets where they sit or sleep. While the majority of crack addicts are men, women who smoke it usually prostitute themselves to pay for their supply.

The problems of “Crack Hill” are however not contained within the area, as violence and crime are spread well outside it. According to Leyrit, crack addicts in search of the next fix, can be dangerously aggressive, and in many cases will even resort to violence.

While “Crack Hill” has already been evacuated back in May 2017, the problem has re-presented itself, when drug addicts invaded a place near their old habitat. It is estimated that about thirty people actually reside there in shaky self-made barracks.

According to Leyrit, the “comeback” to the Hill was mostly due to the fact that nothing had been done to address the problem of addiction itself.

Aouchiche Nagium, a local business manager interviewed by RT, stressed that although Port de la Chapelle has always had the drug issues, the current crisis shows that the problem “has spiraled out of control”. After six months of uninterrupted consumption, he said, it is almost impossible to either recognize the addicts or even call them people as they bear more and more resemblance with “The Walking Dead” zombies.

The problem of the crack epidemic is not unknown in Paris. In January this year, Paris metro drivers went on strike against rampant drug abuse by refusing to make stops at certain stations over growing security fears.

With lines 12 and 4 of the Paris underground network particularly affected by the problem, metro drivers avoided the stations “invaded for years by groups of dealers who attract often aggressive and dangerous drug addicts”.

The problem has been escalating so fast over the past years that it virtually turned Paris metro into what metro drivers branded as a “junkie land”.

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