Baltimore-a Community in Crisis

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Submitted By tcromwell
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Baltimore: A Community in Crisis Since the 19th century, the illicit drug, heroin, has been a part of American society. When heroin was first discovered it was thought to be a wonder drug because of the euphoric feeling a person is said to feel after using it. However, once the debilitating effects of this highly addictive drug was realized the anti-drug law, the Harrison Narcotics Act, was enacted that restricted its use to medicinal purposes only. In 1920, heroin was banned altogether through the Dangerous Drug Act (Habal, 2011). Heroin for the most part was thought to have gone underground until the Vietnam War. In 1971, two congressmen returned from visiting U. S. servicemen serving in Vietnam with an alarming revelation that “15 percent of U.S. servicemen in Vietnam… were actively addicted to heroin” (Spiegel, 2012, para. 3). The idea that American servicemen were addicted to such a horrible drug disgusted much of the American public. “It was thought to be the most addictive substance ever produced, a narcotic so powerful that once addiction claimed you, it was nearly impossible to escape” (Spiegel, 2012, para. 4). President Richard Nixon took swift action by creating, The Special Action Office of Drug Abuse Prevention which concentrated primarily on prevention and rehabilitation. In the late 70s and early 80s the use of heroin reached its peak when it seemed to take a backseat to the reappearance of cocaine and the subsequent crack epidemic that overwhelmed much of the United States throughout the 1990s. Although the use of heroin seemed to disappear throughout much of the U.S., it was still able to become entrenched in the everyday lives of addicts in American cities such as Baltimore. Baltimore City, in particular, has been adversely affected by the public health problem of heroin addiction so much so that it is has become best known as the…...

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