I remember the 1940s, there were a limited number of persons smoking marijuana, but I also remember the introduction of hard drugs. We all knew who the dealers were by the cars they drove, their action in the bars and clubs, etc. They were generally surrounded by females and hanger-ons, often boisterous, big spenders.
The drugs were overwhelmingly in Black neighborhoods, cocaine was referred to as “girl” and heroin, “boy.” There was a period of time that the drug traffic was flourishing, virtually unchecked, because the thought process was that it was only being consumed by the “monkeys.” Open-air drug markets were prevalent in Black neighborhoods and still exist in 2018 as you witness White persons still coming to the hood to cop (buy drugs).
There were everyday citizens who smoked reefer and snorted cocaine and they were classified as recreational drug users. These persons were law enforcement officers, members of the court system, ministers, etc. I had been to parties where parents smoked reefer with their entire family participating. I have known police—White and Black—who used their authority to ensure their outside women would have access to the drug dealers. I will always remember the day we, in the narcotics squad, were informed that any warrant we obtained to go into affluent neighborhoods must be approved by our top supervisors.
If we obtained a warrant for the predominantly-Black neighborhoods anywhere in Allegheny County, we could execute it on our own. I witnessed firsthand the devastating effects of drugs on family, friends, neighbors, and vast numbers of persons that I just knew, but it was never front page with the media.
Now that drugs have become a killer of White youth, it is covered 24 hours a day.
My biggest concern is that none of the media ever covers that extremely important statistic that the overwhelming majority of us ALWAYS SAID, “NO.”
(Louis “Hop” Kendrick is a contributor to the New Pittsburgh Courier.)
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