Roots of the Crack Epidemic
In response to the Sept. 7 Platform, “But In The Long Run, Contra Drugs Barely Matter”, I disagree with Professor Mark Kleiman’s assessment of the negligible effect that drugs via the alleged Contra pipeline had on the narcotics problem in the United States, particularly South-Central Los Angeles.
You have to live in South-Central to see the devastating impact of crack cocaine on individuals, their families and neighborhoods. You must understand that because of high unemployment, the consistent supply of crack cocaine literally created high=paying jobs for our young people; jobs that worked to destroy the very fabric of our communities. When people become addicted to crack, they steal from their parents, neglect their existing and unborn children and have unprotected sex that spreads disease. So not only is the addicted person headed toward destruction, but the family and neighborhood of the addict spiral toward oblivion.
The fact that drugs and gangs existed before this alleged crack cocaine pipeline from Nicaragua existed is true. But crack cocaine use became an epidemic that has cost thousands of lives and millions of dollars in health care costs. It also ushered in a new era of intense violence and crime that has kept legitimate businesses and jobs away from South-Central communities.
During the 1980’s, the heavy supply of crack cocaine helped local gangs grow exponentially in financial strength and manpower. They, in turn, exported their newly supplied crack cocaine throughout the country, even to the sedate communities of Iowa. Subsequently, drive-by shootings and other senseless acts of violence over drug turf erupted in our communities. To some people, the Contras and their alleged drug pipeline barely matter, but American lives and communities do. Let the investigation begin!
CLIFTON D. BLEVINS II