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Reviews |  Drugs are linked to the homelessness crisis

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Reviews | Drugs are linked to the homelessness crisis

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If journalists tried to predict the future impact of their stories, then tiptoed away at the first sign of anything that might one day prove controversial or offensive, we would never write anything and we would be rightfully condemned. The point is this: if you have the story nailed down with solid reporting, then run it.

That’s what I did.

Maybe the question then should really be why everyone I’ve talked to is wrong. I’ve talked to addiction counselors, Skid Row cops, homeless shelter managers and workers, ER doctors, addicts and addicts in recovery, so on – people across the country, all saying the same thing, telling the same story. Why are they wrong?

They see the impact of this methamphetamine in eastern Tennessee, rural and urban Oregon and New Mexico and many places in Kentucky; in Houston, rural Northern California, southern Virginia, Columbus, Boston, Phoenix, Louisville and Nashville. They see it in high-priced housing areas like Los Angeles and Portland and areas with low housing prices – Bernalillo, NM, Clarksburg, W.Va., southern Indiana.

“We don’t see a guy who lost his job, lost his house and ended up on the streets,” a director of a homeless shelter in Clarksburg wrote to me. “We see people afflicted with methamphetamine. And housing costs are lower here than in the rest of the country.

Why should their analyses, opinions and comments not be taken seriously? These are people with deep personal and/or professional experience with drug issues, mental illness and homelessness. I’m happy to catalog in later answers, if you like, what they had to say.

I would add that one of the reasons I was able to see this story, break this story, is because of long years of reporting on drugs and drug trafficking in the United States, combined with knowledge of the Mexico who comes from 10 years and two books, living in this country as a freelance journalist.

Thus, my reporting in “The Least of Us” adds the story of trafficking in Mexico, which is central to the discussion of local homelessness, but which few people across America involved in this discussion – advocates, decision makers or even many journalists – really understand. But the past few years should make it clear to anyone who might have had doubts that changes in the world of Mexican trafficking have had monumental impacts here in the United States. An example is fentanyl. Methamphetamine is another.

Reviews | Drugs are linked to the homelessness crisis

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