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January 25, 2023



And Why Is It So Cheap?

Quartz has a great article looking at fentanyl and its impact on the contemporary opioid drug scene:

"Fentanyl is a synthetic drug, which means that unlike heroin or cocaine, it can be made in a lab without the need of raw ingredients derived from plants such as poppy or coca. Instead it’s made with a compound called NPP (N-phenethyl-4-piperidone) and a combination of other chemicals, and is sold as a powder or in pills."

"It’s cheap to make—with returns in the order of 1,000 times the investment—although that is arguably not its most treasured feature. What makes it so appealing are its potency and compactness and ease of manufacturing, all of which make it easier for suppliers to bypass law enforcement crackdowns on illegal substances."

Fentanyl production can be distributed, and typically occurs in three steps. First is the manufacturing of the active pharmaceutical ingredients, which are overwhelmingly made in China.

Then there is the synthesis. That, too, used to happen in China, though recent crackdowns on fentanyl production, as well as covid-related supply chain disruptions, have shifted it to other countries, notably Mexico.

Finally, the drug is cut for consumption. This tends to happen as close as possible to the point of final sale.

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The entire process proved more resilient to pandemic disruptions than the heroin supply chain was—and fentanyl was able to fulfill the increased demand for opioids generated by the isolation and stresses brought on by covid.

So fentanyl is cheaper, easier to make, more deadly, and harder to interdict than heroin.

Read the full article HERE


Urban Drug Scenes Attract Drug Users

A peer reviewed research article in PLOS ONE, a scientific journal covering "multidisciplinary and, often, interdisciplinary" scientific study, examines the mobility of people hanging out or living Vancouver, Canada's Downtown Eastside (DTES) neighborhood (where there is an oversaturation of addiction treatment, harm reduction programs, and related social service programs).

The Greater Harlem Coalition has been arguing for years that the oversaturation of addiction programming in Harlem and East Harlem (either licensed/supported by New York State's addiction program licensing agency OASAS, or by NYC's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene) attracts people from other parts of New York City and even New York State.

Vancouver's Downtown Eastside [DTES] is noteworthy as the neighborhood where North America's first safe injection site was located.

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The authors note that what they call "urban drug scenes" are characterized by high prevalence of illicit drug dealing and use, violence and poverty, much of which is driven by the people who use illicit drugs [PWUD].  The authors wanted to identify trajectories of residential mobility among drug users into the Downtown Eastside in Vancouver, Canada.

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The article's results and conclusions are as follows:

In total, out of 906 eligible participants:

Nearly half of the participants moved into the DTES over the course of the study.

  • 53% consistently lived outside the study area
  • 12% moved into the study area early on
  • 20% gradually moved into the study area
  • 16% moved in then out of the study area 
Read the journal article HERE
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How Is Mayor Adams Doing?

Six months ago Mayor Adams met with activists and community groups in Harlem to discuss his plans for New York City. The Greater Harlem Coalition was there to contribute to the conversation about improving our community and working towards a Harlem that thrives.

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In the introduction to the meeting (12:07), the Mayor pledged to work with us, and with all New Yorkers who are working towards a better Harlem for all who live here, visit here, study here, shop here, and seek treatment here:


The Mayor was also asked about oversaturation and the drug dealers who prey upon people attending drug treatment programs (1:03:00). In his response, the mayor acknowledged oversaturation and the presence of two safe injection sites in Northern Manhattan. He also floated the idea of adding injection sites to hospitals:


The Mayor was also asked about Fair Share, and what he will do to address the oversaturation of Opioid Treatment Programs in Harlem and East Harlem(1:11:00). Here is his response:

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