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The War on Drugs | by Chris Arnade
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The War on Drugs

The police, narcotics, and vice all swarmed Hunts Point two weeks ago in a crackdown that netted low-level possession, dealing, and prostitution charges. It also ensnared Takeesha who is now serving a two-month sentence in Rikers.


This is common. Presently ten of my Bronx subjects sit in Rikers or upstate New York prisons on non-violent drug charges.


When I left Hunts Point after Takeesha’s arrest I stopped by a bar close to my home in Brooklyn to write and drink a few beers.


I often do this to collect my thoughts. I try to choose bars without a large drug scene, without lines to use the bathrooms, without annoying coked-out customers. That is hard to do since cocaine, pills, and other drugs are a reality of the Brooklyn and Manhattan bar scene.


The drugs are done by white affluent customers.


I have never seen any arrests. I have never seen anyone worried about being arrested.


The stark difference I see between how drugs are treated in the Bronx and brownstone Brooklyn is jarring but not surprising. The statistics show exactly the same thing.


The war on drugs is a war on the poor.


It is as simple as that.



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Taken on May 21, 2013