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Heroin addict, who didn

Greek university halts classes to protest over drug use on its doorstep

A heroin addict, who didn’t want to be identified, walks near the University of Athens Law School building in Athens, Greece, October 24, 2018. REUTERS/Costas Baltas

October 24, 2018

By Renee Maltezou

ATHENS – Classes were called off at Athens University of Economics and Business on Wednesday in a protest by staff about the increasing number of addicts injecting drugs at its entrance and in surrounding streets.

The university’s senate said conditions around its building in central Athens posed a safety risk to students and staff, calling on state authorities to ensure “The immediate and permanent removal of drug dealers and drug users from the university’s neighboring areas.”

It is a long-standing problem for universities in the Greek capital, including the Polytechnic and the Law School. “We once found a syringe on the street, a student almost stepped on it.”

Many students and university workers have become accustomed to the situation, which has been going on for years despite repeated attempts by police to move the drug addicts on.

It is not clear why users tend to congregate near university premises, but critics say academic asylum rules that ban police from entering universities unless their authorities permit it have aggravated the problem.

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