In March 1986, in the Burgundy neighborhood of Tourcoing, a dynamic was set in motion following the cry of suffering of a youth named Joao during a meeting of young unemployed people at JOC (Jeunesse Ouvrière Croyant [Religious Young Workers]: Muslims and Christians): “Something has to be done about the drugs or else they’re all going to die in this neighborhood!”
An association was born in November 1989 with the intention of uniting adults and adolescents involved in various ways with drug users: parents, teachers, residents, sponsors, volunteers, and professionals. Listening to the adolescents in the field helped create REAGIR (REACT), an acronym for Relay, Listen, Welcome, Guidance, Information, Rehabilitation. It also helped create a portrait of youths in need: a young adult suffering, often isolated, plagued by great emotional instability, with an absence of guidance, a sense of worthlessness, and identity issues. From its beginning, REAGIR developed a community approach. This time allowed for meetings, dialogue, listening, and collective management of the issues linked to drug use.
After prison, Sébastien van Malleghem decided to explore this area. He just spent an entire year with users and the association’s team with the goal being to produce a body of work, exhibit it, and educate the public about the problems faced by an entire population afflicted by addiction.