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Tue Dec 18, 2018, 12:07 PM

A generation of African American heroin users is dying in the opioid epidemic nobody talks about.


Spoon, whose product could be trusted, wasn’t answering his phone. So just after 9 a.m. on a fetid August morning, Sam Rogers had trekked to a corner two miles east of the U.S. Capitol on Pennsylvania Avenue, hoping to find heroin that wouldn’t kill him.

Now Rogers, 53, was back in his bedroom at the hot, dark house on R Street SE. Sitting in a worn swivel chair, he cued a Rob Thomas song on his cellphone and bent over his cooker and syringe. The heroin — a tan powder sold for $10 a bag — simmered into a cloudy liquid with the amber hue of ginger ale.

Palliative or poison: He would know soon enough.

“Come on,” Rogers murmured, sliding a needle into his outer forearm between knots of scar tissue. A pink plume of blood rose in the barrel of the syringe. “There you go.”

In the halls of Congress, a short bus ride away, medical professionals and bereaved families have warned for years of the damage caused by opioids to America’s predominantly white small towns and suburbs.

Almost entirely omitted from their message has been one of the drug epidemic’s deadliest subplots: The experience of older African Americans like Rogers, for whom habits honed over decades of addiction are no longer safe.

A lot of them OD in the city parks at night, often right in front of yuppie condos. Sometimes their dealers live in the yuppie condos.

Visual Story at the link

For those who don't have a WaPo subscription, there has been a drastic increase in ODs among black DC residents over the last few years. It's quite the opposite for whites. And black heroin/opioid addicts are mostly still treated like criminals. Whites are of course victims of the pharma companies and unscrupulous doctors, and deserve treatment and policy solutions from lawmakers.

Elderly addicts are disproportionately impacted by fentanyl, which wasn't a factor back in the day. There are also educated middle class addicts who don't look at all like what we may imagine as heroin addicts.

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Reply A generation of African American heroin users is dying in the opioid epidemic nobody talks about. (Original post)
IronLionZion Dec 2018 OP
JustAnotherGen Dec 2018 #1
IronLionZion Dec 2018 #2

Response to IronLionZion (Original post)

Tue Dec 18, 2018, 12:11 PM

1. Interesting how the regions/areas differ

I'm in Hunterdon County, NJ - and an American who is black.

No one od'ing out here - looks like me. Even the county seat police force will tell you - if it's a black woman walking in the borough - that's the last dang person they assume is in possession of illicit drugs.

No OD's, no OD's leading to death here.

We have a somewhat racist medical system out here - and that could be why. IE - they don't prescribe it to us, so we don't use it, then get addicted, then OD.

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Response to JustAnotherGen (Reply #1)

Tue Dec 18, 2018, 12:18 PM

2. It's a legal vs illegal issue

the ones who got addicted through prescriptions get more sympathy than the ones who buy heroin from dealers. Some neighborhoods have people pushing it on you in the street every day. Other neighborhoods they'll push it on you in the doctor's office. There is some overlap where people start with prescriptions and then move on to cheaper heroin/fentanyl from the street.

Rural NJ is probably a very different situation than Newark or Camden.

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