Cycles of Addiction in ‘City of Dope’

October 8, 2010

“Addiction? Truthfully, I’ve become numb to it,” says Safiya, 23-year-old West Oakland resident who was also born here. “It’s everywhere; it’s part of life. It’s not that I don’t care, it’s just that I feel like there’s nothing I can really do about it. So, I’m really just numb to it.”

The disease of addiction is at the intersection of virtually every major crisis in West Oakland. Violence, poverty and marginalization are often issues that crisscross and overlap with the epidemic of addiction to substances including alcohol, heroin and, most of all, crack cocaine. In 1988, Too $hort (Oakland’s unofficial rap historian) called his hometown the “City of Dope,” and the nickname has stuck ever since.

Xan West gives her thoughts in this post at Our State of Health.

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