Tositsa Street a drug users’ haunt

Located between an historic educational institute, the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA), and the capital’s most popular museum, the National Archaeological Museum, and in the heart of one of the city’s best-guarded districts (there is always a riot squad van outside the NTUA), the pedestrian zone on Tositsa Street – where Io Zervoudaki lost her life a few days ago – has not only become an open parking lot, but has also developed into one of the busiest drug-dealing centers in Athens. (It is rumored that the motorcyclist who knocked over Zervoudaki was under the influence of methadone.) After the tragic news of her death, locals wonder, not unreasonably, whether «anyone will care about motorcycles, when they don’t care in the least about the drug dealing that goes on here.» «You walk past and 10 of them come at you at once; it’s no joke,» said T.G., who lives in the neighborhood. «It’s upsetting. They are all young, all walking skeletons.» Maria Lagoyianni, director of the Epigraphical Museum at 1 Tositsa Street, believes a unique opportunity for Athens has been lost. «By putting up columns, we and the NTUA have managed to restrict illegal parking, but the problem remains. The city must see to those young people, the drug users here, so that the pedestrian zone can function as the civilized oasis that it is.»