‘Chicago Drug War Stories’


“Chicago Drug War Stories”

A closer look at drug policy in Chicago.

“Chicago Drug War Stories” is a video project documenting the ways individual Chicagoans perceive and experience the War on Drugs.

Originally published at Extract  | May 5, 2016 | Featured photo credit: Jennifer Coffey/Flickr

More about the War on Drugs:

The War on Drugs refers to the United States policy initiative to stomp out the illegal drug trade and reduce illicit psychoactive drug use through a diverse set of domestic criminal justice policies and international military aid and intervention.

The term is largely attributed to former president Richard Nixon, who dubbed drug abuse “public enemy number one” in 1971 and declared America’s “war on drugs.”

Since that time, the US has spent more than a trillion dollars fighting this so-called War on Drugs, incarcerating millions of people along the way.

Despite these efforts, illicit drug use in the United States has not declined. In fact, addiction and overdose rates tied to street drugs like heroin have dramatically increased in recent years, as has prescription drug abuse.

Tom Hastings: It’s like lawmakers have blinders on

Originally published at Extract | May 4, 2016

Tom Hastings, 35, was born and raised in Chicago. He currently lives in the city’s Portage Park neighborhood and works as a sales representative in the River North area. In this video, hastings speaks to political issues underpinning U.S. drug policy.

Anthony Johnson: People forget drugs are bad

Originally published at Extract | May 4, 2016

Anthony Johnson, 52, lives in Greater Grand Crossing neighborhood and works as a flyer distributor in the Chicago Loop. In this video, he talks about the toll drug addiction has taken on people he knows.

Antonio Tines: Innocent people are dying over this

Originally published at Extract | May 5, 2016

Antonio Tines, 24, lives in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood and works as a lead bicycle technician for Divvy, the city’s bike-share company. In this video, Tines describes various impacts the drug war has on people in his community.

Frank Belizaire: A felony drug charge changes everything

Originally published at Extract | May 12, 2016

Frank Belizaire, 24, is a Northeastern University student studying social work. He also works as a cashier in a retail drugstore in Chicago. In this video, Belizaire describes how drug policies like marijuana prohibition have negatively impacted people in his life.

Israel Rivera: Positive change is community driven

Originally published at Extract | June 7, 2016

Israel Rivera, 48, who lives and works in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood, describes how his community has addressed drug problems in recent years.

Kathie Kane-Willis: The drug war runs deeper than public policy

Originally published at Extract | July 15, 2016

Kathie Kane-Willis is co-founder and director of the Illinois Consortium on Drug Policy, a research and policy institute housed at Roosevelt University in Chicago. In this video, she discusses some of the deeper motivations underpinning the U.S. drug war and attitudes toward drug use in America.