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HIGH ABOVE the grey Genesee River, in a suite atop the Holiday Inn, with the lights of Rochester, NY, in the windows, five men sit reminiscing. The group includes blacks and whites, some Hispanic. For 20 years, they say, they have been closer to one another than most men are to their wives. Twenty years ago, they were all heroin addicts, "street junkies." This night, they are all wearing suits and are fatigued from a long day's work. They have responsible positions and families.
Twenty years ago, these men (and one other, now retired to Florida) met in a detoxification center. About the time their stay was up, they began to worry. In those days, to leave meant to return to the street. And that meant returning to drugs. There simply was no help for destitute addicts in the late 1960s. There was one option, give in to the hunger
Kirn TF. Drug Abuse: More Help Available for Addicted Persons, but Main Problem Continues Unabated. JAMA. 1988;260(15):2170-2172. doi:10.1001/jama.1988.03410150018003