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Visiting France

Government forced to drop controversial Paris drug injection centre

media A drug injection centre in Geneva Reuters/Denis

A controversial government plan to set up a Paris centre where addicts can inject drugs using clean syringes, has been judged illegal.

The Conseil d’Etat, which rules on such matters, declared that it would be in contravention of a 1970 law banning consumption of hard drugs.

French health and social services minister Marisol Touraine said the government would work towards introducing new legislation.

The project is highly controversial and a key campaign issue in Paris ahead of municipal elections scheduled for March 2014.

Socialist Anne Hidalgo, currently Deputy Mayor of Paris and hoping to clinch the top job in the March elections, confirmed that there would now be no such drug centre before the vote.

A member of rival conservative candidate Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet’s team declared that “law and good sense have prevailed,” but said that Parisians should not be “fooled” and that the drug centre project would be revived by the Left once the election was over.

The centres appear unpopular among Paris voters but Health Minister Marisol Touraine points to the fact that they already exist in some other countries and have led to less high-risk behaviour among drug users and fewer cases of lethal overdose.



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