Palermo, Anti-mafia Tackles Drug Problem: “We Must Help Youth Turned into Zombies”

The regional anti-mafia commission has visited the Sperone neighborhood in Palermo, which has recently seen over a dozen drug-related arrests, including in front of schools where child dealers were involved. The Sicilian Region has launched a €5 million tender to build social response measures in communities, creating a safety net for those caught in the drug vortex. The commission’s president, Antonello Cracolici, referred to these individuals as “real zombies”. Cracolici emphasized the need to provide shelter for these young people, as well as highlighting the unpreparedness of the system to combat these issues. He stated that drug dealers are part of a parallel system to the state, paid and even receiving some form of income during their time in prison. Cracolici also stressed the importance of grounding interventions and maintaining credibility through rigorous monitoring, without getting lost in pleasing certain associations. He emphasized that the state must offer a serious response to the problem, focusing not only on repression but also on other aspects. The neighborhoods have cultivated a long and deep network, making it increasingly difficult to identify the relationship between drug dealers and the controlling mafia organization. However, many young people would prefer to change their path, but lack the tools to do so. The state needs to offer support and opportunities to parents who may have a low level of education and struggle to find employment. Drug dealing becomes a sad and harmful job outlet for them. Don Ugo Di Marzo highlighted that many young people are waiting for someone to offer them a helping hand and guide them in a different direction. Outside the school, where new ways of combating the issue are being discussed, one is confronted with the harsh reality of a neglected neighborhood. The population is mixed, with some wanting to stay in the ghetto and others wanting to escape. Some individuals are forced to remain silent and endure the situation, suggesting that the state is indifferent or even benefiting. They claim that small-time criminals are caught and released after only a few days.

Palermo, l’Antimafia allo Sperone: «La droga trasforma i ragazzi in veri e propri zombie, dobbiamo aiutarli»

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