Rocky Road – 

April 13, 2020 – One long-established source of mine, who uses heroin and crack cocaine,described watching a man he knows get pummeled by members of a drug dealing “set”—allegedly for just passing by their corner without making a purchase.

“If you got garbage on the street, no one is gonna buy your stamp; we have to make our money stretch as much as possible,” this source told me. “I guess they didn’t like that he was passing them and buying from somewhere else. Maybe he was a regular customer.”

There was a time in Kensington when the culprits of such senseless violence would probably have been disciplined, perhaps by being banned from working the block altogether. But aggressive drug policy, by targeting and removing gang leadership, erodes the structures that support such codes of conduct. It’s one of the ways that prohibition increases violence.


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