The heroin problem in America’s Midwest beats anything cities like New York and Philadelphia can boast. The Economist reports:
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Even street-savvy former gang members are shocked by the spread of heroin to Chicago’s suburbs. Earlier this year, when Roberto Hernández, a Puerto Rican, was in the final stages of preparation of a big push by Gangs to Grace, a church ministry on the west side, to save Latino gang members from lives of violent crime, he explained that white girls from the suburbs go to neighbourhoods even he wouldn’t set foot in to buy heroin. Many of them are as young as 14 or 15. Some prostitute themselves to fund their addiction.
“We have the worst heroin problem in the nation in the Chicago area,” says David Cohen, a recovering heroin addict who counsels addicts at Insight Behavioural Health, a treatment centre. Greater Chicago has the highest number of emergency-room visits related to heroin in the country with 24,627 visits in 2011 (the latest year for which records exist), compared with 12,015 in New York.