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DRUGS

MP appeals for ‘shoot-up rooms’ across France

A socialist politician has made an appeal for supervised “shoot-up rooms” to be made available to drug users in towns across France.

MP appeals for 'shoot-up rooms' across France
Photo: Vangelis Thomaidis

In an interview with daily paper Le Parisien, socialist party MP and health minister for Paris, Jean-Marie Le Guen, called for the government to create legal injection rooms in light of figures revealing an increase in heroin use in Paris.

Le Guen, who is also a doctor, said: “90,000 kits containing among other things two syringes were distributed between January and June, which is a 7 percent increase on the same period in 2011.”

Catherine Duplessy, director of syringe-exchange charity Safe, told Le Parisien: “The number of people injecting in public roads, public toilets and car parks is increasing. That was the case in 2011, 2010 and 2009. It is now a matter of urgency.”

A report released two years ago in France by the National Institute of Health, Inserm, recommended the opening of special injection rooms to improve sanitary conditions for drug users.

Following debate among politicians at the time, the initiative was never put in place.

Such supervised drug centres already exist in Switzerland, Canada and Germany.

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DRUGS

French minister calls for Eurovision winner to be disqualified if singer fails drug test

France's Europe minister on Monday called for "total transparency" over speculation that one of Italy's victorious Eurovision contestants used cocaine during the song contest, saying it should be grounds for disqualification if confirmed.

French minister calls for Eurovision winner to be disqualified if singer fails drug test
France's entry, Barbara Pravi, said she didn't care whether Måneskin had used drugs or not. Photo: Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP

Damiano David, the outlandish vocalist for Italian rockers Måneskin, has agreed to take a drug test after video footage appeared to show him snorting something from a table backstage during Saturday’s contest.

“I think there needs to be no doubt here, and total transparency,” Europe Minister Clement Beaune, who attended the show in Rotterdam, told RMC radio. “If there is a problem, there are penalties… Provisions are made for sanctioning measures, including potential disqualification in case of problems.” 

French hopes had been riding high on singer Barbara Pravi, who was a bookmakers’ favourite to end France’s 44-year Eurovision drought with her
moody ballad “Voila.”

But she was edged out at the last minute by a surge in public votes for Måneskin, with a final tally of 524 to Pravi’s 499.

“I don’t want to be a sore loser,” Beaune said, but “in terms of image, we can’t let people think that such competitions can result in such behaviour.”

The president of France’s public broadcasting group, however, said Monday that France would not contest its second-place finish, no matter the speculation over David’s backstage antics.

“France has absolutely no intention to lodge an appeal,” France Televisions chief Delphine Ernotte told the Parisien newspaper. “The vote was quite clearly in Italy’s favour — it didn’t steal its
victory and that’s what matters,” she said.

Pravi herself said she was not interested in the speculation.

“What’s true is that they were chosen by both the public and the jury. Afterwards, if they use drugs or they put their underwear on backwards or whatever… it’s not my problem,” she told France 2 television on Sunday.

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