A pioneer in French-speaking Switzerland, the Geneva structure, created to reduce the risks associated with the consumption of heroin and cocaine, is celebrating its 20th anniversary. If today its usefulness is no longer questioned, Quai 9 nevertheless had to convince at its beginnings.
Some places reserved for injections, in particular offering drug addicts sterile equipment. A separate and ventilated room for those who smoke their dose. This is what the heart of Quai 9 looks like, the Geneva injection and drug consumption center which opened its doors just 20 years ago.
Pioneer structure in French-speaking Switzerland
Funded by the State, the structure, a pioneer of its kind in French-speaking Switzerland, took up residence behind the Cornavin station in 2001, against the backdrop of a Switzerland traumatized by the open scenes of drugs, overdoses and the transmission of AIDS.
If this room did not fail to cause controversy at its inception, its existence is no longer in question today. Repainted and enlarged, the structure is now an integral part of the Geneva landscape, and more particularly that of the Grottes district in which it was born, as explained in Forum Anne François, co-president of the association Première ligne which s ‘occupies Pier 9.
“We talked a lot with the inhabitants of the neighborhood before the premises opened. But you should also know that if he is where he is, it is because drug trafficking, and especially cocaine at the time, was already there before. The people of the district already lived in a place confronted with this problematic, underlines it, assuring that today everyone is made there. “Most of the inhabitants of the Caves would not want Pier 9 to disappear, especially because of the expansion work on the station.”
>> Listen to the full interview with Anne François in Forum:
For Christophe Mani, director of Quai 9 during his first ten years, the usefulness of the place was quickly demonstrated. “We quickly noticed less hepatitis, fewer overdoses and almost more HIV / AIDS,” he says. “And this, without observing more consumption or concerns with the neighborhood”.
A framework to re-socialize drug addicts
Pier 9 also offers a framework, activities and advice to re-socialize drug addicts. These two aspects, health and social, are also very popular with users, as explained by Patricia (loan name), who has frequented the premises since its creation.
“There are a lot of drug addicts who are breaking up, who are alone. When we come here, we do not feel judged, and it is motivating because the staff on site is there to advise us, so that we can so. “
Consumer for ten years, Adrien (borrowed first name) has also seen his daily life change. “Pier 9 saved me, because thanks to it, I was able to find some stability in my life. I was helped to find a job.”
The next challenge for Quai 9 is to further strengthen its social center, in order to best support users towards a return to a more stable life and a resumption of activity.
TV subject: Alexandre Gross and Mathieu Lombard
Web adaptation: Fabien Grenon