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Familiarity With Drugs Helps a Group [Drug User's Union] Speak for Users
New York Times ^ | March 11, 2012 | JESSE McKINLEY

Posted on 03/12/2012 1:34:28 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife

SAN FRANCISCO — With a couple of old desks, a beat-up couch and an off-white white board, the office space at 149 Turk Street, in this city’s seedy Tenderloin district, is hardly remarkable. A collection of worn detective novels sits on the bookshelf, a couple of American flags hang limply from the wall and a coffee machine constantly percolates in the back kitchen.

It is the tenants who set 149 Turk apart: a ragtag group of current and former drug users who make no apologies about their fondness for illegal narcotics, intravenous experiences and the undeniable rush of getting high.

“If you pass a drug test,” joked Gary West, a member, “you’re outta here.”

But the group, the San Francisco Drug Users’ Union, has more on its mind than simply turning on, tuning in and dropping out. The union is one of several groups in the United States and Canada that advocate for the rights of drug users, following the lead of older European drug user organizations. Their goals are often varied, but carry a common refrain: to represent the political interests — and practical needs — of chronic drug abusers, a sometimes grim agenda that includes everything from providing clean needles to finding safe places to nod out.

It is a job, members say, that requires firsthand experience to connect with a population that is often wary of law enforcement and social service agencies.

“People don’t trust them,” said Isaac Jackson, who helped found the group and is, with Mr. West, one of two so-called peer organizers. “So someone being a drug user here is somewhat desirable, because who knows best about drugs than those that use them?” ......

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Extended News
KEYWORDS: addiction; addicts; drugs; users

1 posted on 03/12/2012 1:34:38 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

If their demands aren’t met, will they go on strike?


2 posted on 03/12/2012 1:54:31 AM PDT by Slings and Arrows (You can't have Ingsoc without an Emmanuel Goldstein.)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

Why is this garbage even getting any *ink*? Oh, it’s the NYSlimes; I just noticed. Sorry.


3 posted on 03/12/2012 3:15:21 AM PDT by carriage_hill (I'll "vote for an orange juice can", over Barry Obummer and another 4yrs of Hell, anyday!)
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To: Slings and Arrows; carriage_hill

This is Nancy Pelosi country — where families must flee because it costs too much to live in a place where the Left subsidizes and therefore attracts an unproductive subculture.


4 posted on 03/12/2012 4:13:14 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

Shouldn’t that be “Speak for Losers”?


5 posted on 03/12/2012 5:16:46 AM PDT by txrefugee
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To: txrefugee

You are right!!


6 posted on 03/12/2012 5:29:10 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

So...that’s a yes.


7 posted on 03/12/2012 5:47:57 AM PDT by Slings and Arrows (You can't have Ingsoc without an Emmanuel Goldstein.)
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