Drugs Week

Friday, May 4, 2012

Drug arrests on top of drug arrests

Posted By on 05.04.12 at 12:25 PM

Chicago-drug-arrests.jpg

Chicago police officials held another press conference Wednesday afternoon to showcase how they’re getting tough with dealers and gangs since declaring a “ground war” in March—in this case, ten more guys, ranging in age from 18 to 69, were caught possessing or selling small amounts of heroin on the west side.

The police said it was the result of an investigation involving city, county, state, and federal authorities. “The joint efforts of law enforcement partners in this mission have afforded an opportunity for increased safety to thrive in our communities,” Al Wysinger, Chicago’s first deputy police superintendent, said in a written statement.

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Clean and sober 20 years

Posted By on 05.04.12 at 07:46 AM

Anthony Dillard started drinking Wild Irish Rose at 11
  • Kairuuinzuro
  • Anthony Dillard started drinking Wild Irish Rose at 11
One spring day in 1992—20 years ago today, in fact—Anthony Dillard set out on foot from Clark and Division, his panhandling haunt, for Mount Sinai Hospital on the west side. He wasn't sick on this particular day, just sick and tired of his drinking and drugging. He'd detoxed at Mount Sinai not long before this, and stayed sober briefly after his 28 days. But people, places, or things, or some combination, led him back to drinking and drugging.

Dillard, who was 42 then, made it to Mount Sinai and begged the detox people to take him back. He had no insurance, though, and so they were going to turn him away. "But one of the counselors told me if you go downstairs to the emergency room and get sick, they'll have to bring you up here," Dillard recalled this week. "So I went downstairs and folded over like I was about to die. Set there all night, and the next day they sent me upstairs to the detox unit. And I've been clean ever since."

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Thursday, May 3, 2012

Unglamorous gangsta rap

Posted By on 05.03.12 at 06:40 AM

Doesn't look very fun, does it?
  • Doesn't look very fun, does it?
People like to criticize rap music for glamorizing illegal and immoral behavior, and honestly it has a long history stretching back to its earliest days of doing exactly that, especially since the concurrent rise of gangsta rap and the crack trade. But despite the rags-to-riches fantasies that Rick Ross and Young Jeezy enjoy weaving, most people who live off selling drugs or other illegal activities will tell you that for most part street-level hustling is a shitty job, where you're on call around the clock and paid far less than any sane person would consider fair for the amount of risk—either from the cops or other criminals—that you're put in. And every once in a while a rapper will step away from his fantastical portrayal of criminal life and give it a verite portrait that makes it look the exact opposite of glamorous.

Six examples after the jump.

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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Then and now: one west-side addict's account

Posted By on 05.02.12 at 07:05 AM

My shoulders was so swollen the stuff would come right back out.
  • "My shoulders was so swollen the stuff would come right back out."

About ten or so years ago, Tasha, now a fortysomething grandmother and recovering heroin addict, was shot in the calf while looking to pick up on the west side. The bullet hit a major artery, she told me, raising her pant leg to show a fearsome scar, and by the time the ambulance got her to the ER, she'd almost bled to death. She was in a coma for six and a half months, in the hospital for two and a half years. During that time, she became even more addicted to opiates—morphine, Demerol, Tylenol 4.

"I felt like a guinea pig," she says. "My shoulders was so swollen the stuff would come right back out. My booty cheeks was so swollen up I had to lie on my stomach."

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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The politics of drug busts

Posted By on 05.01.12 at 06:30 AM

Blocks of marijuana seized by police--and displayed for reporters
  • Blocks of marijuana seized by police—and displayed for reporters

At just before 9 PM last Friday night, the Chicago Police Department sent out an e-mail announcing the “takedown” of a drug market at Ohio and Hamlin in west Humboldt Park.

It was an unusual time to announce the successful conclusion of a two-month undercover investigation, though, by an odd coincidence, it was right in the middle of an area I’d profiled in a Reader story published the day before.

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Monday, April 30, 2012

Everyone wants to legalize reefer—except for people with the power to do it!

Posted By on 04.30.12 at 09:31 AM

Outgoing congressman Barney Frank
In honor of Drugs Week at the Reader, Congressman Barney Frank blasted President Obama for being such a wimp on the whole issue of marijuana.

Well, I think the timing's a bit of a coincidence. Not even sure Congressman Frank knows it’s Drugs Week at the Reader. Though I bet he's a big fan of the Reader.

As opposed to Mayor Rahm. And Mayor Daley. And a few aldermen, who aren't worth mentioning at the moment.

But let's not go on a tangent.

Specifically, Frank criticized Obama for making a "'grave mistake' by cracking down on medical marijuana dispensaries that are legal in some states," according to an article in the Hill.

"I think it's bad politics and bad policy," Frank said. "I'm very disappointed."

Bravo, Congressman Frank. I wish you would stay around for a few more terms.

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This week on the Bleader: A hard look at drugs

Posted By on 04.30.12 at 06:49 AM

Narcotics.jpg
In the past, the Reader staff has taken a look at drugs in lighthearted fashion, serious overview, or sometimes a mixture of both. But in our most recent issue, Mick Dumke's cover story on the effect that drugs and its concordant violence have had on the residents of west Humboldt Park provides a great deal of space for rumination and additional commentary. For this week's edition of "Variations on a Theme," we're approaching the world of drugs—all this week on the Bleader, look out every morning, and possibly at other points through the week, for writing on this subject.

And in case you missed it, you can take a trip to the suburbs, which is where we went for last week's "Variations on a Theme."

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