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The first rush was the best

 Hus Forbi (Denmark) 17 May 2019

(Originally published: 03/2010) The routine is always the same. For the third time today and for the fourteenth year in a row, Marco goes to Rue de Paquis 35 in Geneva, Switzerland to get his prescribed fix at PEPS (trial project for prescribed heroin). He was one of the first registered in 1994. The year after, when the centre opened, he started the treatment. (291 words) - By Marisa Matarese

Marco (53) has been a heroin user for 40 years, 26 of them spent on the streets.

 

The routine is always the same. For the third time today and for the fourteenth year in a row, Marco goes to Rue de Paquis 35 in Geneva, Switzerland to get his prescribed fix at PEPS (trial project for prescribed heroin). He was one of the first registered in 1994. The year after, when the centre opened, he started the treatment.

 

Marco gets handed a tray with cotton, a syringe and a dose of liquid heroin before entering the administration room. Here is a table with room for four patients to inject simultaneously.

 

He does lectures about drugs, but would like a job and stop the treatment and the 25-minute bus trips each way, three times a day.

"We moved to Marseille from Africa, where my father had worked. It was difficult moving to France. Here I was just another normal white boy among other whites. In Africa, I was a white among all the black," Marco says. He started experimenting with drugs in a youth prison.

"The first rush was the best, I have ever had. I have spent the rest of my life on rediscovering that sense of joy, without any luck."

"The life, I lived, before I started here at the centre, was not a life. It was shit. Now, I sleep well at night. I am not ill and I do not have to worry about getting drugs. I have the energy to be a father to my three children, aged four, eleven and thirty," he says.

"My family is more important than anything else," he smiles as he says goodbye to head home and celebrate his 14th wedding anniversary.

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