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  • in reply to: Drinking in Rhosddu Cemetary #120537

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    I lived in social housing. 3 years ago drug addicts and their friends were living in flats near mine. I lived in a small block, but in a cul-de-sac which housed mainly families with young children. One drug addict lived just outside my block; another lived in a flat above mine.

    These people and their visitors were routinely loud and intimidating at any time of day or night. They would shout and fight and punch walls and threaten people. They would knock on ground floor windows to try to gain entry to the block. They would climb into the communal bins to search for items (presumably to sell), and leave rubbish all over the place. On one occasion the bins were not emptied because the rubbish strewn over the ground prevented them from being wheeled to the bin lorry. I ended up tidying up the rubbish so that the bin men would return to collect it – I came across a needle while doing this, which shocked me because it hadn’t even occurred to me that I might find such a thing.

    The police were regular visitors to these people too.

    An elderly man living opposite me on the ground floor moved into residential care – giving up his independence because he no longer felt safe in his home. A woman upstairs moved in with her parents because she was afraid of the addict living opposite her. I did not have anywhere to move to. My GP signed me off sick from work with the stress of it all.

    When I complained to the housing association, they said I was the 13th person to report it. But still the behaviour continued. The man from outside the block was due to be evicted but got a last minute reprieve from the court. The addict upstairs was sent to prison for threatening someone. After several months, the housing association found a tenant prepared to move into our ‘druggy’ block, taking over the elderly man’s flat. The new tenant turned out to be a heavy cannabis smoker and the smell got into everyone’s flats. The addict upstairs returned from prison and resumed his previous behaviour.

    The addict in the flat outside the block was eventually evicted. 9 months after I first complained I was finally moved by the housing association. The woman from upstairs also eventually got a move. It was another 18 months before the addict upstairs was evicted. The weed smoker still lives there.

    I am so weary of hearing these excuses. Just because they are addicts does not necessarily mean that they all have mental health issues; and there are a great many people with serious mental health issues who do not become addicts or behave in this manner. It is one thing to volunteer to help addicts and decide how much time you spend with them and what sort of help you can give – it is quite another when the worst of their behaviour is imposed upon you constantly, when you have to move home to escape it.

    The people I describe already had decent housing (paid for by housing benefit – even while in prison) and were given chance after chance to change their behaviour. They could have continued being addicts and kept their homes if they had shown some consideration towards their neighbours. It infuriates me that drug addicts like this are described as vulnerable and in need of help and sympathy – in fact it is the rest of us who are made vulnerable by their behaviour and we are the ones who need help when we are on the receiving end. I don’t know what the ‘homeless’ charities claim to be doing to help these people, but I would question whether they really are helping them or ‘enabling’ their addictions. These addicts may not have homes, toilets, showers – or dignity – but if they are capable of putting in enough effort to obtain free and clean needles to use, then surely they could put similar effort into disposing of these needles responsibly.

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