Chicago is increasingly dealing with a variety of problems related to cocaine dealing and consumption, despite the heroin epidemic being the city’s top priority.
Cook County, Ill., reported 214 deaths related to cocaine in 2015, the Chicago Tribune reports. A recovering cocaine addict at an addicts convention in Chicago told the publication the city’s young people increasingly turn to cocaine, viewing it as a safer alternative to heroin use.
Jim R. says that, “cocaine will show up at their [young people’s] parties. They view it as less dangerous. They don’t know anyone who has overdosed from cocaine.” The Cocaine Anonymous member went on to say, “They view heroin as a death sentence. They view cocaine as a party drug.”
Unlike heroin, it is much harder for physicians to determine how to help a cocaine addict handle their addiction or save them in the event of an overdose, in contrast to treatment for heroin users. If someone overdoses on heroin, they can rely on naloxone to potentially save their life, but there is no equivalent for stopping a cocaine overdose.
Cocaine came into Chicago from Colombia and subsequently through Mexican cartel-affiliated drug dealers. Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman’s Sinaloa Cartel had a heavy footprint in Chicago and the Drug Enforcement Administration successfully penetrated the organization’s operations in the city back in 2008.
The two top lieutenants for the Sinaloa Cartel’s Chicago operations are now living under the witness protection program. When they betrayed their boss, twin brothers Pedro and Margarito Flores gave up 54 top cartel operators.
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