WBEZ | drugs http://www.wbez.org/tags/drugs Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Chicago's Puerto Ricans face ID theft http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-07-07/chicagos-puerto-ricans-face-id-theft-112335 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Joel (1)_0.JPG" alt="" /><p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/213656311&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 24px; line-height: 22px;">Chicago&#39;s Puerto Ricans face ID theft</span><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 24px; line-height: 22px;">&nbsp;</span></p><p><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 22px;">A WBEZ investigation has found evidence that at least two men who were sent from Puerto Rico to questionable rehab centers in Chicago may have been victims of ID theft. WBEZ&#39;s Odette Yousef joins us with the details.&nbsp;</span></p><p><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 22px;"><strong>Guest: </strong><em>WBEZ&#39;s <a href="https://twitter.com/oyousef">Odette Yousef</a></em>&nbsp;</span></p></p> Tue, 07 Jul 2015 11:24:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-07-07/chicagos-puerto-ricans-face-id-theft-112335 Senator Dick Durbin talks heroin and train safety http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-07-07/senator-dick-durbin-talks-heroin-and-train-safety-112334 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/durbinphoto2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/213655971&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 24px; line-height: 22px;">Senator Dick Durbin talks heroin and train safety</span></p><p><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 22px;">Here in Illinois, the need for heroin treatment is rising. Senator Dick Durbin&rsquo;s office says there were 1,652 drug overdose deaths in the state last year. Illinois&rsquo; senior senator is introducing legislation that he thinks could curb those deaths by making the overdose drug naloxone more available. We talk to Senator Durbin about those efforts, as well as what Congress should be doing to make rail travel safer.</span></p><p><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 22px;"><strong>Guest:</strong> <a href="https://twitter.com/SenatorDurbin"><em>U.S. Senator Dick Durbin</em></a>&nbsp;</span></p></p> Tue, 07 Jul 2015 11:23:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-07-07/senator-dick-durbin-talks-heroin-and-train-safety-112334 Drug addicts sent from Puerto Rico may be victims of ID theft in Chicago http://www.wbez.org/news/drug-addicts-sent-puerto-rico-may-be-victims-id-theft-chicago-112325 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Joel%20%281%29.JPG" style="height: 414px; width: 620px;" title="Joel says he was never able to retrieve the personal documents that Segunda Vida, a 24-hour group for addicts in the Back of the Yards neighborhood, took from him. Later, he learned that his identity was being used by someone else when his unemployment benefits were frozen.(WBEZ/Odette Yousef)" /></div><div>After we aired a <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/puerto-rico-exports-its-drug-addicts-chicago-111852">story</a> about Puerto Rican drug addicts who were sent to unlicensed 24-hour group treatment programs in Chicago, we heard from lots of listeners. They were disturbed by one particular detail in reporter Adriana Cardona-Maguigad&rsquo;s investigation: that the groups routinely confiscate addicts&rsquo; identifying documents, and sometimes don&rsquo;t return them.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>In fact, in a tension-filled scene in Cardona-Maguigad&rsquo;s story, she accompanied one man to retrieve his documents from one of these treatment programs, a place called Segunda Vida.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><iframe frameborder="no" height="100" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/213554791&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></div><blockquote><div><strong>Listen: <a href="http://www.wbez.org/drug-addicts-sent-puerto-rico-may-be-victims-id-theft-chicago-112325#playlist">More stories and conversations about the pipeline of addicts from Puerto Rico to Chicago</a></strong></div></blockquote><div><p>Our listeners wrote us to ask: What are these groups doing with the addicts&rsquo; papers? If they&rsquo;re really trying to keep those documents safe, as Cardona-Maguigad was <a href="http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/554/transcript">told</a> by a founder of Segunda Vida, then why would they keep the papers even after an addict leaves? Could they be selling these addicts&rsquo; identities on the black market?</p><p>It turns out, where Puerto Ricans are concerned, there&rsquo;s added reason for suspicion. Puerto Ricans&rsquo; identities are especially valuable, because they&rsquo;re U.S. citizens -- with Social Security numbers -- and Spanish names.</p><p>In a federal case against an alleged Puerto Rican identity <a href="http://www.ice.gov/news/releases/50-individuals-charged-puerto-rico-allegedly-trafficking-identities-puerto-rican-us">trafficking ring</a>, law enforcement agents found that a set that included a birth certificate and Social Security card could fetch up to $2,500 on the black market. With that, an undocumented immigrant from South or Central America could obtain work authorization, a line of credit or even a U.S. passport.</p><blockquote><p><strong>Related: <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/puerto-rico-exports-its-drug-addicts-chicago-111852">Puerto Rico exports its drug addicts to Chicago</a></strong></p></blockquote><p>I started hanging out in the same Back-of-the-Yards neighborhood where Cardona-Maguigad found many addicts in her story. I thought, if I could just ask a few of them to share their Social Security numbers with me, we could find out what&rsquo;s happening with their personal information. Most of the men I found refused to share that data. They told me they&rsquo;d gotten their documents back when they left the treatment programs, and they didn&rsquo;t have reason to suspect foul play.</p><p>But then I met Joel.</p><p>He can&rsquo;t recall when he was sent to Chicago for treatment, but he, too, dropped out of rehab at Segunda Vida. Most mornings, I found him loafing around outside, making friendly chit-chat with other street characters. But he&rsquo;s still very much lost in the haze of his heroin addiction.</p><p>&ldquo;When you go back to this, you get totally lost,&rdquo; he told me one day, speaking in Spanish. &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t even know what day it is.&rdquo;</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">&lsquo;It appeared I was working in Alabama&rsquo;</span></p><p>I&rsquo;m not using Joel&rsquo;s last name, to protect his identity. At 34, he said the only identification he carries is a photocopy of an Illinois state ID. Like others who went to Segunda Vida for treatment, he surrendered his documents to the people running the program. Confiscating identifying papers is common practice at these kinds of unofficial treatment facilities. When he left, he said he didn&rsquo;t get his documents back. He tried, returning to the residence several times, but eventually he gave up.</p><p>Later, Joel learned that his identity was being used by someone else. He discovered it when he found that his unemployment benefits had been frozen.</p><p>&ldquo;When I went to the unemployment office I was told that they had to stop payment because it appeared I was working in Alabama and I had additional income there,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Joel shared his Social Security number with me, and with it, I got a rundown of his earnings over the years. What I found were classic signs of identity theft.</p><p>First, Joel said he hasn&rsquo;t held a steady job in years. He recalled working at a corrugated paper factory in Chicago and some brief stints canning jalapenos and olives. But his record shows continuous earnings for nearly a decade -- roughly $30,000 a year since 2006. Plus, the earnings swing erratically. One year it&rsquo;s as high as $52,000, and another, it&rsquo;s less than $16,000. And a lot the work is with temporary staffing agencies and food processing companies -- two industries known for hiring undocumented immigrants.</p><p>Because it looked suspicious, I took what I found to a man named George Rodriguez. Rodriguez described himself as a founder of Segunda Vida and a former addict himself. He denied that the program ever sold addicts&rsquo; identities, and said people always get their papers when they leave.</p><p>Clearly that was not the case with Joel. And soon I found that he&rsquo;s not the only one in this situation. In fact, the next guy I met had an even wackier story.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">&lsquo;My credit was ruined&rsquo;</span></p><p>Juan, 40, was told that the rehab program that he went to &ldquo;lost&rdquo; his papers.</p><p>&ldquo;They kept my papers, my Social Security card, my ID, my birth certificate, everything,&rdquo; he said in Spanish.</p><p>Then last year, he tried to get a car loan. That&rsquo;s when he got his first inkling that something was up with his personal information.</p><p>&ldquo;They said no because my credit was ruined,&rdquo; he said.</p>So I took Juan&rsquo;s Social Security Number, too, and showed what I found to several experts. Here&rsquo;s a snapshot:</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/image%20%281%29.png" title="Juan, a drug addict from Puerto Rico, arrived in Chicago in 2003. That same year, earnings associated with his Social Security Number rose dramatically." /></div></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div><p>&ldquo;Wow. Well. I know they say America&rsquo;s the Land of Opportunity, but, boy, has his income jumped since arriving on the mainland,&rdquo; said William Kresse, a professor at Governors State University and an expert on identity theft, on seeing Juan&rsquo;s incomes.</p><p>The first red flag Kresse identified was the year that Juan&rsquo;s income jumped significantly.</p><p>&ldquo;Suddenly in 2003, the year that he was brought to the Chicago area, it jumps to almost $30,000, and then almost $44,000. And, oh my goodness, $116,000, almost $168,000,&rdquo; said Kresse. &ldquo;Yeah, this is remarkable.&rdquo;</p><p>There were even earnings during times that Juan was in jail for theft and residential burglary. His records paint a frenetic picture, of a guy processing beef in Washington state, removing snow in Illinois, working at a Wendy&rsquo;s fast food restaurant and holding thirteen other jobs&hellip; all in a single year.</p><p>There are some things we can&rsquo;t say for sure. We can&rsquo;t say that Juan and Joel&rsquo;s identities were sold by the drug rehab programs. We can&rsquo;t say that everyone who&rsquo;s gone to one of these programs is a victim of identity theft. We can&rsquo;t even say for sure that Juan and Joel didn&rsquo;t sell their identities themselves. I asked, and they both said they didn&rsquo;t. But federal law enforcement officials have found that some Puerto Rican addicts do that for a bit of cash.</p><blockquote><p><strong>Related: <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/sheriff-dart-investigate-unlicensed-rehab-centers-111938">Sheriff calls on feds to investigate Puerto Rican agencies that send addicts to Chicago</a></strong></p></blockquote><p>That said, Bill Kresse said there is still enough here to warrant further action.</p><p>&ldquo;Definite red flags to show that there&rsquo;s probable cause to go ahead with a further investigation, in fact a criminal investigation into this,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;The numbers alone should justify a criminal investigation.&rdquo;</p><p>Kresse wasn&rsquo;t the only one to say this. We found lots of officials who said there&rsquo;s enough here to warrant concern. A federal prosecutor. A former Chicago police officer. Two former FBI agents. Someone with the Social Security Administration. The Illinois Department of Human Services. They agree that if these treatment places are organized schemes to set up vulnerable drug addicts for identity theft, somebody should go after them.</p><p>But nobody agrees on who should look into it.</p><p>Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan&rsquo;s office said it&rsquo;s a matter for Chicago Police or the FBI. Chicago Police and the FBI said there&rsquo;s nothing to investigate if victims don&rsquo;t report a crime. Immigration and Customs Enforcement doesn&rsquo;t talk about whether it&rsquo;s investigating something. And the Social Security Administration said it lacks jurisdiction to investigate identity theft.</p><p>So we know we have something. We just don&rsquo;t have anyone willing to investigate it.</p><p><em>Odette Yousef is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/oyousef">@oyousef</a> and <a href="https://pbs.twimg.com/profile_images/3512712648/36dee91a3ceeb66e8253372b9e042d0c_400x400.jpeg">@WBEZoutloud</a>.</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p></div><p><span style="font-size:24px;">More stories and conversations about the pipeline of addicts from Puerto Rico to Chicago<a name="playlist"></a></span></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="350" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/121617509&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p></p> Mon, 06 Jul 2015 22:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/drug-addicts-sent-puerto-rico-may-be-victims-id-theft-chicago-112325 Regrets? I've had a few http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/regrets-ive-had-few-111940 <p><p>Malcolm Smith grew up in Michigan City, Indiana, with two parents who worked hard. Smith&rsquo;s father worked in a foundry. And each day he&rsquo;d go to work, come home, watch TV, go to bed, get up and do the same thing all over again.</p><p>At 18, Malcolm joined his dad at the foundry. And after two years, he swore he&rsquo;d never work there again; this was not the life he wanted. Smith recently sat down with a colleague at Thresholds to talk about some of his experiences &hellip; and things he wishes had gone differently.</p><hr /><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS7285_StoryCorps%20booth%20%282%29-scr_13.JPG" style="height: 120px; width: 180px; float: left;" title="" /><em style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 22px;"><a href="http://storycorps.org/" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; text-decoration: none; color: rgb(0, 104, 150); outline: 0px;">StoryCorps</a>&rsquo; mission is to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to share, record and preserve their stories. This excerpt was edited by WBEZ.</em></p></p> Fri, 24 Apr 2015 13:13:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/regrets-ive-had-few-111940 "I thought it was my job to protect you and to fix you" http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/i-thought-it-was-my-job-protect-you-and-fix-you-111820 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/StoryCorps 150403 John and Jonah Holm bh.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Jonah Holm, who prefers to use the gender-neutral pronoun they and their, was isolated and addicted to drugs as a teenager. Jonah&rsquo;s father, John, was a pastor who thought he&rsquo;d done everything possible to fix his child.</p><p>In this week&rsquo;s StoryCorps we hear from Jonah and John Holm as they talk about getting to know and love each other.</p><p>&ldquo;It was clear that you had checked out,&rdquo; John tells Jonah. Jonah spent a lot of time isolated from their family.</p><p>&ldquo;I thought it was my job to protect you and to fix you,&rdquo; John says. He gave Jonah lots of advice. And when it didn&rsquo;t stick, John gave more, and louder, advice.</p><p>&ldquo;It was the only thing I knew to do,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;And that just pushed you away more.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;You were my dad, and you were a good dad, but I didn&rsquo;t think you liked me,&rdquo; Jonah says. Jonah believed the more John tried, the bigger the wedge between them.</p><p>It wasn&rsquo;t until father and child went to family counseling that John realized he couldn&rsquo;t fix Jonah.</p><p>&ldquo;I can only change myself,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;Indeed, I needed to change, regardless of what you were going to do.&rdquo;</p><p>That understanding broke open their relationship.</p><p>&ldquo;For you to step out and stop trying to fix me,&rdquo; Jonah says, &ldquo;and then address your stuff, then I could just be a member of the family, instead of be the thing that was wrong with us.&rdquo;</p><p>Jonah told their family they were addicted to heroin and needed to drop out of college to go to rehab.</p><p>Their family was immediately supportive, and Jonah says, &ldquo;At that moment it stopped being important that you liked me, because loving me meant something else.&rdquo;</p></p> Fri, 03 Apr 2015 10:19:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/i-thought-it-was-my-job-protect-you-and-fix-you-111820 On Chicago's West Side, mothers and children fight addiction side by side http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/chicagos-west-side-mothers-and-children-fight-addiction-side-side-110281 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Womens%20Treatment%20Center%20by%20Bill%20Healy%201.JPG" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Clinical Director Florence Wright holds a child at The Women’s Treatment Center. Wright oversees day-to-day operations of the center’s daycare, crisis nursery and preschool classroom among other things. (WBEZ/Bill Healy)" />Even after her drug and alcohol addictions had forced her onto the streets with an infant son in tow, Jennifer still managed to get high and drunk. She sometimes smuggled alcohol into homeless shelters by hiding it in her son&rsquo;s sippy cup.</p><p>There were many similar stories during the 18 years she abused drugs and alcohol. Until, in the pre-dawn light one morning in late July 2011, she checked herself into The Women&rsquo;s Treatment Center, a West Side drug rehabilitation facility that specializes in assisting pregnant and postpartum women dealing with addiction.</p><p>Jennifer can&rsquo;t pinpoint why she chose that day to try to change her life. She had known about the center because, as she says, she used to &ldquo;rip and run this whole block drinking and getting high.&rdquo;</p><p>Looking back, she doesn&#39;t even think that, as she wandered up to the front door, she knew she wanted to get sober.</p><p>&ldquo;I didn&rsquo;t know alcohol was the problem,&rdquo; Jennifer said. (WBEZ is using only her first name to protect her privacy.) &ldquo;When I walked&nbsp;into the Women&rsquo;s Treatment Center, I didn&rsquo;t know I stepped into hope.&rdquo;</p><p>That morning, Jennifer joined about 2.5 million people who seek help each year for drug- and alcohol-related addictions.</p><p>The Women&rsquo;s Treatment Center, 140 North Ashland Ave., is one of nine places in Illinois that allow mothers undergoing treatment to live with their children.</p><p>The hope is that, with their children present, mothers will not only have a better chance of breaking their addictions but can also develop parenting and lifestyle skills, strengthening their families.&nbsp;</p><p>Experts say there are many benefits to treating women with their children. Allowing the children to live on-site usually prolongs the mother&rsquo;s time in treatment, said Nicola Conners-Burrow, an associate professor of family and preventive medicine at the University of Arkansas.</p><p>&ldquo;Longer lengths of stay in treatment are quite predictive of better post-treatment outcomes, including reduced substance use, increases in employment, and decreases in symptoms of mental health problems,&rdquo; Conners-Burrow said.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Womens%20Treatment%20Center%20by%20Bill%20Healy%207.JPG" style="height: 266px; width: 400px; float: right;" title="The Women’s Treatment Center, as seen from the El platform at Lake Street, looking south on Ashland Ave. (WBEZ/Bill Healy)" />When the center opened in 1990, most of the women came in addicted to crack and powder cocaine.&nbsp; Now, they are more likely to abuse heroin.&nbsp;</p><p>When a mother comes to the center, the severity of her addiction determines her treatment path.</p><p>Women are placed in different units based upon their needs for parenting sessions, budgeting classes and job placement programs.</p><p>Children up to five years old are allowed to stay with their mother. Here, these children, many of whom would otherwise be bouncing from shelter to shelter or in other temporary situations, can attend daycare or preschool every day.</p><p>&ldquo;If moms can make a difference in those first three years and really be able to really bond and have that relationship, those kids tend to do really well,&rdquo; said Dr. Lisa Parks-Johnson, director of the center&rsquo;s parenting services.</p><p>Even with their children around, mothers sometimes find it difficult to focus. Relapse rates for drug addictions range from 40 percent to 60 percent of patients, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Womens%20Treatment%20Center%20by%20Bill%20Healy%202.JPG" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="A woman pushes a stroller across the street from The Women’s Treatment Center. (WBEZ/Bill Healy)" />In April, another client, Brandi, was at the center for her second attempt to get clean. A mother of three, she came back to the treatment center because of her abuse of heroin and cocaine, she said. Her two oldest children were born addicted to methadone, morphine, and cocaine.</p><p>Brandi lasted only a month at the center in 2012 before returning to her former life. She was in jail on another drug charge and pregnant when the court sent her back, and she&rsquo;s been at the center for about a year.</p><p>&ldquo;A lot of people judge me because I have children,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s just not that easy. Now that I&rsquo;ve gotten clean, this child doesn&rsquo;t have to know the old me. I want this more than anything.&rdquo;</p><p>In Conners-Burrow&rsquo;s studies, she has found not disrupting the parent-child relationship helps reduce regression.</p><p>&ldquo;Living apart from one&rsquo;s children has been associated with higher rates of relapse,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;We then see, of course, the benefits to the child of participating in programs like this, with a number of evaluations showing developmental gains for the child and improvements in parenting for the mother.&rdquo;</p><p>With their children around them, women don&rsquo;t have to worry about when the children will be fed next and who is taking care of them&mdash;that remains their job, Parks-Johnson said.</p><p>&ldquo;I know that not everyone is going to make it on my time,&rdquo; said Florence Wright, the center&rsquo;s clinical director.&nbsp; &ldquo;It&rsquo;s about their time. It&rsquo;s about planting a seed and maybe this seed is not the one that is going to make a difference, but if we keep planting and digging deep, then ultimately a flower will bloom.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Bill Healy is an independent producer in Chicago. Follow him <a href="http://twitter.com/chicagoan" target="_blank">@chicagoan</a>.&nbsp;Richard Steele is a WBEZ reporter and host.</em></p><p><em>This story was supported through Northwestern University&rsquo;s Social Justice News Nexus Fellowship. Will Houp and Caroline Cataldo contributed to this report.</em></p></p> Wed, 04 Jun 2014 16:49:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/chicagos-west-side-mothers-and-children-fight-addiction-side-side-110281 Chicago is hub for heroin in the Midwest http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-hub-heroin-midwest-109373 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/rw1.jpg" title="Federal prosecutors say Chicagoans were dealing heroin on streets like this in Waterloo, Iowa. (WBEZ/Rob Wildeboer)" /></div></div></div><p>There have been times in her life when Connie Johnson was homeless along with her six children. &ldquo;Going to relatives&rsquo; house, day in day out, they get tired of you,&rdquo; Johnson says in a recent interview. &nbsp;We&rsquo;re in the kitchen of her second floor apartment on Chicago&rsquo;s West Side. &ldquo;Everyone extend their hand but when you come in, it&rsquo;s, the story changes, welcome ran out kind of fast, you know?&rdquo;&nbsp;</p><p>Then about eight years ago, she heard from a niece living in Waterloo, Iowa, a 5-hour drive from Chicago. &ldquo;She was saying that you can get work there, so, we all moved down there and everybody that went got work: my daughter, my sons, my husband.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p><p>It was a hopeful start and things were good there, for a while anyway.&nbsp;</p><p>Johnson walks from the kitchen past the bathroom to the dining room (her apartment is a typical layout for a Chicago 2-flat.) Her bedroom is just off the dining room and on the windowsill she keeps a plaque. It was awarded to her husband Lusta and is a reminder of those good times in Iowa.</p><p>&ldquo;This is the plaque from Tyson that Lusta had got and it says &lsquo;for five years service,&rsquo; but he actually worked there about seven years,&rdquo; she says.</p><p>Tyson is Tyson Foods, which makes things like Asian chicken thighs and honey chicken tenders. That&rsquo;s where her husband Lusta found work in Iowa. Johnson keeps the plaque in plastic. The Tyson logo and the brass plate with her husband&rsquo;s name are pristine. Johnson tells me it &ldquo;shows that he was doing something, that he was headed to doing the right thing, you know?&rdquo;&nbsp;</p><p>But things went sideways. Her husband is addicted to heroin, has been since the late 70s. She has also struggled with addiction, as have other members of the family. In Iowa, in addition to working new jobs at Tyson, they bought and sold heroin. Now Johnson&rsquo;s son is doing 15 years federal time. Her sister-in-law, 15 years federal time. Her nephew is doing life and her husband Lusta is facing trial and likely a similar fate.</p><p><strong>The size of a pencil eraser</strong></p><p>&ldquo;Lusta Johnson distributed heroin,&rdquo; says federal prosecutor Lisa Williams in an interview at the new glass-and-stone federal courthouse in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Williams has indicted much of the Johnson family and knows their stories well.</p><p>&ldquo;They all long before they came to Waterloo had heroin habits. &nbsp;And so when they got to Waterloo the heroin habit didn&rsquo;t go away just by crossing the state line and so they found themselves back into distributing heroin, obtaining it in Chicago and using it as well,&rdquo; Williams says.&nbsp;</p><p>In the Johnson case Williams says they would bring back heroin in amounts of 10, 15, sometimes 20 or 30 grams. To get an idea of what that looks like, Williams says one gram of heroin is about the size of a pencil eraser. &ldquo;And so you would take 30 of those eraser tops and that would be 30 grams. It would fit in your palm about so it&rsquo;s not a huge quantity but it&rsquo;s still a significant quantity,&rdquo; said Williams.</p><p>It&rsquo;s also profitable. Williams says a gram goes for about $100 in Chicago; a four- or five-hour drive to Iowa doubles its value. So 30 grams would be $3,000 in Chicago and $6,000 in Iowa. But there&rsquo;s more.</p><p>Williams says you can cut the heroin and mix it with another substance like sleeping pills. &ldquo;So not only do you double your money, but you&rsquo;re tripling your quantity and so that&rsquo;s how you can really start to make a profit on it.&rdquo;</p><p>Williams says that $3,000 of heroin in Chicago can be worth $12,000 or $18,000 in Iowa.</p><p>In addition to the Johnson case, Williams is prosecuting other Chicagoans who moved out to Iowa and sold heroin, 36 cases in all right now. And there are others.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/450-iowa-3.jpg" style="float: left; height: 201px; width: 300px;" title="The apartment complex where prosecutors say Chicagoans had moved to and were dealing heroin out of. (WBEZ/Rob Wildeboer)" /><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/450-iowa-2.jpg" style="float: left; height: 201px; width: 300px;" title="The Sherwood Court apartment complex in Waterloo, Iowa dead ends into a cemetery, making surveillance difficult, according to a DEA investigator’s Court testimony. (WBEZ/Rob Wildeboer)" /></div></div></div><p><strong>Heroin sales not so blatant in Iowa</strong></p><p>Sergeant Dave Dostal of the Cedar Rapids police department stands on the curb in an older neighborhood in Cedar Rapids close to the central part of the city. The houses look like the houses in many other Midwestern towns, foursquare homes that could be beautiful but many of them are run down. Dostal points to a house with an appliance sitting in the front yard and says two guys from Chicago moved there and started selling heroin, and cars would be driving up all day. &ldquo;Classic drug trafficking signs, you know, short term traffic,&rdquo; says Dostal.</p><p>Cedar Rapids is not like Chicago where guys are standing on the corners. Here, you need to know someone. Dostal says police made some buys by calling the dealers on cell phones and then meeting them, sometimes at a Laundromat just across the street.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;d set up surveillance and photograph as the individuals would come out of this house, walk over, transaction would be completed and then that individual would walk back to this place,&rdquo; Dostal says as he points between the house and the Laundromat.</p><p>But Dostal didn&rsquo;t arrest them for making small individual sales. He was putting together a larger case. &ldquo;What happens is, if they&rsquo;re selling out of one specific house and your surveillance is done long enough and you get probable cause for a search warrant, you&rsquo;re going to get them and all their product and maybe money,&rdquo; he says. That means more serious charges and heavier time.</p><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><p>Dostal says the surveillance of this house was part of a case that led to federal charges for 11 more people bringing heroin from Chicago.</p><p><strong>Cedar Rapids the end of the line</strong></p><p>Dostal says Cedar Rapids isn&rsquo;t a drug hub like Chicago. No one&rsquo;s moving heroin through Cedar Rapids, it&rsquo;s the end of the line.&nbsp;According to the DEA in Cedar Rapids, there have been 200 heroin overdoses in Northeastern Iowa since 2007, and 50 of those overdoses resulted in death.&nbsp;One of those people was Jon Jelinek&rsquo;s 22-year-old son Sam.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/450-iowa-1.jpg" style="float: right; height: 201px; width: 300px;" title="Jon Jelinek standing in front of the bedroom where he found his son dead of a heroin overdose. (WBEZ/Rob Wildeboer)" /></div></div><p>Jelinek learned about his son&rsquo;s heroin addiction when Sam was arrested once. Jelinek helped him get clean and stuck with him through a relapse and an overdose. And they talked. Sam told him his heroin was being brought into Cedar Rapids by two cousins from Chicago.</p><p>On March 22 of this year Sam didn&rsquo;t show up for work. He worked at the restaurant Jelinek owns and Jelinek called him. &ldquo;Didn&rsquo;t get any call back. &nbsp;Had lunch and then about 1:30 felt something in my stomach saying something ain&rsquo;t right so I jumped in my truck, and I knew all the way out here, I knew he had overdosed,&rdquo; Jelinek says.</p><p>Sam&rsquo;s room was locked so Jelinek kicked in the door. &ldquo;I found him kneeling on his knees, with his head in his pillow, like he was trying to get up out of bed, the needle was still in between his fingers,&rdquo; said Jelinek.&nbsp;</p><p>Jelinek walks through the foyer of the house where his son died, down a couple steps to the family room. The door to Sam&rsquo;s bedroom is in the corner. He goes to the door and pushes it open. &ldquo;This is the first time I&rsquo;ve been back in here since.&rdquo;</p><p>Jelinek looks down and sees a belt on the floor and picks it up. &ldquo;This is his tourniquet. They put it just like you see on T.V. &nbsp;Put it around, bite it and pull it, so they get that vein sticking out.&rdquo; He pauses, silent. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s just sad that it come to that,&rdquo;&nbsp;he finally says.</p><p>Jelinek blames the dealers. He says his son was trying to get clean, but because dealing in Cedar Rapids is all done by cell phone the dealers had Sam&rsquo;s number and they texted him that they had a new shipment in. It must have been too much to resist.</p><p><strong>Dealers often users and victims too</strong></p><p>Back on the West Side of Chicago, in her second floor apartment, Connie Johnson weeps in her kitchen. She weeps because much of her family is going to be in federal prison for many years for dealing heroin. But she also weeps because of all the harm heroin has done to her and her husband; there have been decades of addiction, poverty and homelessness. She says heroin is an ugly thing. And I ask her, if the authorities don&rsquo;t lock up the people dealing, people like her son and husband, what should they do to stop this ugly drug that kills people and ruins lives?</p><p>Through tears she says she wishes she knew the answer.</p><p><em>The Chicago Reader&rsquo;s Mick Dumke contributed reporting for this story.</em></p></p> Mon, 16 Dec 2013 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-hub-heroin-midwest-109373 The movie that brought Naperville face to face with its teens' drug use http://www.wbez.org/news/movie-brought-naperville-face-face-its-teens-drug-use-109332 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Jeff%20Cagle.1_0.jpg" title="Kelly McCutcheon and Jack Kapson (Jeff Cagle)" /></div></div><p>During the 2011-2012 school year, three students from one public high school in west suburban Naperville died from drugs. Kelly McCutcheon was a senior at Neuqua Valley High School at the time, and she started asking her classmates questions about their drug use. The project turned into a documentary that stunned the well-to-do, family-focused community.</p><p>Kelly had enlisted a high school junior, Jack Kapson, &nbsp;to help with sound recording, and together they videotaped more than 20 students talking about their experiences using heroin and other drugs.</p><p>Their project was filmed starkly and informally in backyards and bedrooms and cars. The filmmakers kept the footage away from parents, teachers and police. Kelly and Jack declined to be part of this story, but they gave me permission to use any part of their movie and quote from students they interviewed.</p><p><strong>Library agrees to host Naperville&rsquo;s first look&nbsp;</strong></p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/95L 400.jpg" style="float: right;" title="Naperville's 95th Street Library hosted the screening (Bill Healy)" /></div><p>Kelly and Jack asked Naperville&rsquo;s 95th Street Public Library to host the first screening of the film, which they called, &ldquo;Neuqua on Drugs.&quot;</p><p>John Spears directed all of Naperville&rsquo;s public libraries at the time. &ldquo;The filmmakers were working on it up till the very end,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;And that was one thing we were nervous about, because we hadn&rsquo;t seen it either. Given all the potential legal ramifications of showing this, we were really putting a lot of trust in two high school students.&rdquo;</p><p>Library officials agreed to two showings on Wednesday evening, May 30, 2012. Advertising went out, and soon after, irate parents started calling..</p><p>Spears, the library director, remembers one phone call in particular. He received it at his desk the day before the scheduled screening. It was a parent on the other end, telling Spears, &ldquo;You cannot show this movie. It&rsquo;s going to be the destruction of my&hellip;. it&rsquo;s just&hellip;. We will sue.&rdquo;</p><p>The library decided to go forward anyway.</p><p><strong>The screening</strong></p><p>The evening of the first screening, adults and teenagers filed into the library auditorium and people waited outside for the second showing.</p><p>&ldquo;There were many, many glitches that night,&rdquo; said Denise Crosby, a longtime columnist with the Sun-Times suburban papers, including the Naperville Sun. &ldquo;There were people gathered outside waiting for the next session and there were people inside for this session and there was a long delay. But [the audience was] there for the long haul&hellip;. They wanted to see it.&rdquo;</p><p>Among the hundreds of people who came to the library that night were the principal from Neuqua Valley High School, a counselor from a nearby middle school, and a reporter from the local television station. Managers from Naperville&rsquo;s other libraries came in to deal with the overflow crowd.</p><p>The young filmmakers had altered the &nbsp;voices of some speakers they videotaped, &nbsp;and a few kids in the film tried to mask their faces. But most participants were fully visible. And, according to accounts from people who were there, &nbsp;many of the participants were seated in the audience.</p><p>&ldquo;When it finally did get started,&rdquo; Denise Crosby said, &ldquo;there wasn&rsquo;t one person that was not glued to that documentary. There wasn&rsquo;t sound being made at all.&rdquo;</p><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Jeff Cagle.5_0.jpg" style="float: left;" title="Jack Kapson waits for video to render during an hour-long delay before the first screening (Jeff Cagle)" /></div></div></div><p><strong>The kind of thing parents heard</strong></p><p>&ldquo;The first time I tried heroin... I&rsquo;d probably say sometime during my sophomore year.&rdquo;</p><div>&ldquo;They were like snorting it and I snorted like some Adderall and they were like if you can snort Adderall you can snort this. It&rsquo;s basically like the same thing&hellip;. You&rsquo;re trying to be like happy and just like not worry about anything but you are like stressing about all these little things, and when you get high that just goes away so you can just like chill.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s gives you a really strange comfortable feeling. A feeling that everything around you is okay. It&rsquo;s kind of like a false sense of security.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Denise Crosby, the newspaper columnist, &nbsp;says that for the two kids who made the film, &nbsp;&ldquo;This really was them screaming at the community: Look. Stop. Putting your head in the sand.&rdquo;</div><div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Jeff Cagle.4_0.jpg" style="float: right;" title="(Jeff Cagle)" /></div></div></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>One mother&rsquo;s experience</strong></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>For another woman in the audience that night, the film was particularly painful.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Amy Miller&rsquo;s daughter Megan had died four months earlier from heroin. Megan was eighteen and a student at Neuqua when she died. The filmmakers had contacted Amy Miller beforehand to let her know that some of their interviews included stories about Megan.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>And still, Miller says she wasn&rsquo;t prepared for what happened when a girl in the film talked about going to see &ldquo;Alice in Wonderland:&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" jeff="" neuqua="" on="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/2_2_0.jpg" style="float: left;" title="Amy Miller watches the first showing of 'Neuqua on Drugs'." /></div></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;Megan was grounded at the time &ndash; but she convinced her mom to let us go if her mom came too. And so her mom sat on the other side of the movie theater and we were just tripping balls. Like we were sweating so bad and Megan had drawn a giant heart over her eye with eyeliner &lsquo;cause she was the Queen of Hearts and she drew stripes on my face because she was the Cheshire Cat.&rdquo;</div><div>&ldquo;I had no idea,&rdquo; Amy Miller told me when I talked with her recently. &nbsp;&ldquo;And here they were rows behind me in the theater and they took acid to watch the movie. And this is the first I&rsquo;m hearing about this, sitting in the library among hundreds of people, and the girl was in the row behind me and she leaned forward and apologized to me&hellip;. And that was pretty tough, you know? That was really hard. I was angry. I was embarrassed. I was shocked. It was like my daughter, I didn&rsquo;t know her.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Library head John Spears said that feeling of disconnect was common among adults the evening of the screening, and for a long time. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s the one thing &nbsp;I heard over and over and over from everyone is: How could this have been happening and we didn&rsquo;t even know it?&rdquo; Underneath their confusion, he says, was shock. There was a sentiment among some people in Naperville that &ldquo;these kinds of things don&rsquo;t happen here.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>I spoke to dozens of people in Naperville and I asked everyone, &ldquo;Did this harsh film make a difference?&rdquo;</div><div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Dvdsss.jpg" style="float: right;" title="The shelf life of the documentary remains to be seen (Bill Healy)" /></div></div></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The high school principal pointed to a student-led discussion program, which he says was being created at the same time students were making the documentary. Neuqua&rsquo;s also part of an innovative pilot program specific to heroin--it&rsquo;s a project of &nbsp;the Robert Crown Center for Health Education. That program is in two middle schools that feed into Neuqua, too.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>A parent group recently got money from the city to create parent conversation circles.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Naperville police track where users live and sometimes do surveillance on kids buying drugs on Chicago&rsquo;s West Side.</div><div>Early on in my reporting, Jack Kapson - the young filmmaker who helped create &ldquo;Neuqua on Drugs&rdquo; - said heroin was still a problem in Naperville, though he thought it had gone back underground since the film was released.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>In 2013 so far, &nbsp;Naperville has had three confirmed heroin deaths&mdash;down from six in 2011. Police stress, however, that the number of overdoses means kids are still using as much as they did in recent years.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Columnist Denise Crosby says it&rsquo;s a mistake to think &ldquo;Neuqua on Drugs&rdquo; was one high school&rsquo;s story, or even Naperville&rsquo;s story. &ldquo;People started looking at this as &ldquo;Oh, this is Neuqua Valley on drugs. So that&rsquo;s Neuqua&rsquo;s problem.&rdquo; And that&rsquo;s just simply &ndash; again I cannot reiterate that enough &ndash; that is simply not the case. Yeah, Neuqua was the epicenter for this. But this issue is in all of our high schools. It&rsquo;s everywhere. In all of our communities.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The film, she says, should have been titled, &ldquo;Your High School on Drugs.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><em>Bill Healy is an independent producer. Follow him <a href="http://twitter.com/chicagoan">@chicagoan</a> and on <a href="http://billhealymedia.com">his website</a>.</em></div></p> Tue, 10 Dec 2013 02:33:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/movie-brought-naperville-face-face-its-teens-drug-use-109332 Chicago whistleblower brings attention to pharmaceutical kickbacks http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-whistleblower-brings-attention-pharmaceutical-kickbacks-109080 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/johnsonjohnson.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Pharmaceutical manufacturer Johnson &amp; Johnson has agreed to settle Medicaid fraud claims filed by a Chicago whistleblower.</p><p>Bernard Lisitza worked as a pharmacist for Omnicare. It&rsquo;s one of the largest pharmacy supplying drugs to nursing homes. Lisitza noticed Johnson &amp; Johnson was paying kickbacks to Omnicare for switching nursing home patients from their anti-psychotic drugs to Johnson &amp; Johnson&rsquo;s product Risperdal.</p><p>Lisitza reported this to management more than 10 years ago, and was allegedly fired for it.</p><p>&ldquo;When he told Omnicare that he didn&rsquo;t think this was right what Johnson &amp; Johnson was doing, he never heard of the False Claims Act. Who knows about the False Claims Act? He did it because it was the right thing to do,&rdquo; said attorney Linda Wyetzner, who represents Lisitza.</p><p>Under the False Claims Act, a person with knowledge of an allegation can help the government recover illegally obtained government funds.</p><p>According to the feds, the kickbacks drove Omnicare&rsquo;s sale of Risperdal from $100 million in 1999 to $280 million in 2004.</p><p>In 2009, Omnicare settled the allegations by paying $98 million. Johnson &amp; Johnson has agreed to pay $149 million to settle the claims.</p><p>Lisitza also filed similar complaints involving Walgreens and CVS.</p><p><em>Susie An covers business for WBEZ. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/soosieon" target="_blank">@soosieon</a></em></p></p> Tue, 05 Nov 2013 10:53:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-whistleblower-brings-attention-pharmaceutical-kickbacks-109080 Growing unrest in Libya, Mexico's drug strategy and the practicality of solar power http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2013-07-30/growing-unrest-libya-mexicos-drug-strategy-and-practicality-solar <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/AP120428155549.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>We learn about a prison escape and new attacks in Benghazi, Libya. Journalist and author Alfredo Corchado joins us to assess Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto&#39;s strategy to combat drugs. Kate Sackman and Dick Co highlight the practicality of solar power.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F103290052&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-mexico-s-drug-strategy-and-the-practical.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-mexico-s-drug-strategy-and-the-practical" target="_blank">View the story "Worldview: Growing unrest in Libya, Mexico's drug strategy and the practicality of solar power" on Storify</a>]</noscript></p></p> Tue, 30 Jul 2013 10:59:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2013-07-30/growing-unrest-libya-mexicos-drug-strategy-and-practicality-solar