Czech Association Urges Prague to Re-Open Safe Drug-Injection Site

Following the termination of the lease for the contact center for drug addicts in Mahenová Street in Prague 5, the Czech Streetwork Association called in an open letter to the City Hall to extend the notice period for the contact center and, in cooperation with the municipality, to find new premise where it could operate.

This follows from a letter addressed to the mayor of the fifth district of Prague, Renáta Zajíčková (ODS), which was provided by the director of ČAS, Martina Zikmundová.

The contact center (KC) in Mahenova street near the “U Zvonu” tram stop has been operated by the non-profit organization Progressive for almost 20 years.

The management of Prague 5 decided to terminate the lease this July, stating that the organization must vacate the premises within six months. The municipality has been concerned about the presence of addicts in the area for a long time.

“This step [terminating the activity of the contact center in Prague 5 without any compensation] is not an effective solution to the situation, on the contrary, it will significantly worsen the current situation not only within the Prague 5 district but also in other parts of Prague,” said Martina Zikmundová.

The director of Progressive is recommending that Prague 5 extend the notice period for the existing center in Mahenová street from six to twelve months. During that time, new premises for the KC could be found, which would be owned by Prague 5 or the Prague municipality.

In the event of closure, supportive social services will be much more difficult to find for those struggling with addiction.

This presents a serious public health threat, due to the higher risk of the spread of infectious diseases.

Zajíčková has long criticized the fact that two of the three contact centers in the Czech capital are in Prague 5. According to her, the municipality should solve the situation with drug addicts in the metropolis by building a network of places where addiction services will be offered all across the city.

According to Zajíčková, in a situation where the metropolis has a ready-made concept for the development of addiction services in its territory, “terminating the operation of an overloaded center that does not cope with its basic mission and burdens its surroundings is the next logical step.”

According to the strategy that was recently adopted by the municipality’s leadership, the number of CCs in Prague should increase
to at least nine over the next few years.

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