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Making Money in the Brickyard

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Making Money in the Brickyard

Residents of the Brickyard (Photo by Greg Scott)

An estimated 50,000 Chicagoans inject heroin. Many of them go through life as a so-called “functional addicts.” They work regular jobs and raise families while hiding their addiction. But most heroin addicts experience an unmanageable life: they've lost their jobs, their homes, their cars, and many of their relationships. Addiction is their ultimate relationship—an expensive one at that. The drug economy boasts thousands of revenue-generating devices. Mixed in with the debris on the grounds of a brick salvage company on Cicero Avenue in Chicago, you'll find some variation of nearly every money-making venture known to the drug world. Today, contributor Greg Scott takes us on our second trip to The Brickyard, where we'll meet people whose lives unfold in stitches that bind the legitimate economy to the drug underworld.

Learn how laundry is done in the Brickyard.

Music Button: Tom Waits, “Get Behind the Mule”, from the CD Mule Variations (Anti Records)

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