This article originally appeared on VICE Spain
In October of 2018, the Spanish authorities carried out a raid on a number of drug squats in the Raval neighbourhood of Barcelona. These squats – where drugs, especially heroin, are sold and used – are commonly known as narcopisos. It is estimated that, at the time, there were 60 narcopisos in this neighbourhood alone, with dozens more across central Barcelona.
The 2018 raids not only led to a rise in the number of people admitted to drug rehab centres in the city, but also to more drugs being sold on the streets of Barcelona at all hours.
In the months before the operation, photographer Sasha Asensio spent time with regulars of one of these drug squats. They eventually agreed to let him document their day-to-day lives, and the realities of life inside the narcopiso. This was at a time when more and more neighbourhoods in Barcelona were complaining that these squats were causing a rise in violence in what were previously peaceful areas. It was these complaints that eventually forced the police to intervene and close the majority of them down.
There are still a number of narcopisos in Barcelona, but they are nowhere near as prevalent in the city as they were two years ago.
Scroll down to see more of Sasha Asensio's photos.
Watch: Barcelona's Drug Squats