Leaders in Prague 5 are seeking to collaborate with neighboring municipalities and the town hall to address the drug problem in Smíchov.
The town hall is advocating for equal distribution of drug addiction services across the metropolitan area, while simultaneously increasing patrols in problem areas and strengthening cooperation with police and officers.
A new field worker has been hired, and officials are now searching for suitable locations for ambulances providing services to drug addicts. Mayor Jaroslav Pašmik and Deputy Mayor Monika Shaw Salajová held a press conference to discuss the issue.
“Drugs are one of the major problems that we must address. Unfortunately, when individuals seek to buy drugs in Prague, they often go to Anděl. While we can solve the situation in the short term, we cannot do so in the long term. We must work together with the municipality and the mayors of neighboring districts to find a solution,” stated Pašmik.
In addition to the Anděl intersection, the mayor identified Plzeňská, Husovy sady, and Skalka neighborhoods as problematic areas. The issue of drug addicts injecting drugs and leaving syringes on the ground is also a concern.
One potential solution, according to the town hall, is the creation of centers for drug addicts in other parts of Prague. A network of addiction services is proposed in the municipality’s drug policy concept.
“We are in touch with non-profit organizations that deal with drug-related issues, but there is no city-wide system. Currently, the burden is primarily on Prague 5,” said Shaw Salajová.
Another issue is that the Progressive Center in Prague 5 closed at the end of last year. However, Mayor Pašmik stated that the addicts have merely relocated. “They moved from Mahenova Street to Brožíkova Street, nothing has changed, the problem has not disappeared,” he explained.
Prague 5 has increased patrols in problematic areas in recent months, hiring its own security guards and negotiating with city and state police.
The town hall funds a mobile center for drug addicts in an ambulance that operates on Wednesdays and Fridays. “That didn’t work out, so now we are identifying new locations for it,” said Pašmik. The town hall is not currently pursuing the creation of a new permanent center but will focus on promoting outreach work.
Both Prague 1 and Prague 5 have long voiced concerns about the high concentration of drug addicts and homeless people in their areas.