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Science, meet life: Why I write on addiction in the Bronx

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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This post was the start of a collaborative narrative series composed of my writing and Chris Arnade’s photos exploring issues of addiction, poverty and prostitution in Hunts Point, Bronx. For more on the series, look here.


For the past month, I’ve spent several late-nights exploring the South Bronx, in an area renowned in local circles for its prostitution and addiction, and in an overall sense, one forgotten and ignored by the surrounding NYC metropolitan area. Hunts Point is a peninsula, literally across the railroad tracks from passerby on the Bruckner Expressway, home to the police precinct with the worst rate of violent crime in the city. However, what I’ve found with photographer Chris Arnade, frequenting many a sidewalk, bodega, liquor store and on a particularly memorable occasion, a strip club, is a vibrant, unique New York community.

I first went to Hunts Point in the Bronx as an interest lark, contacted by Chris who invited me to go along. I saw the photos on his blog, read the stories on addiction but still gave little thought (to my retroactive shame) on what I was actually getting myself into. Now I’m involved in the long-term project and series, parts of which I’ll post here.

Why post stories of addiction and personal travails on Scientific American? It’s cursory to scientifically recognize heroin as a depressant and crack as a stimulant, far deeper to see the sensitivity and empathy in heroin addicts, the edginess in crack addicts. When talking to crack addicts, you can feel the chord of volatility, the twinge of paranoia and distrust on the edges — can you conceive this in a scientific journal? (Yes, the drugs of choice in Hunts Point are crack and heroin.)

Science is obsessed with mechanism, so much so that the human element is often shoved aside, missed along the track of neurochemicals and frontal lobes, even though that’s what they themselves describe– the forest for the trees. In my last post, I received a hefty mix of feedback, some outlandishly negative, including an array of bitter emails: “Science belongs in Scientific American.” It’s the people who matter, which is why we talk about science. Context, in this case social context, gives rise to the need for science — the context is the people who are affected by the devastation of addiction. I care about science for its humanity, and I think those who equally care about the field should glance back and remember the reason for their study.

I’ve restarted this post at least 10 times. Write a paragraph, erase. Write again, erase. When Chris asked what I gleaned from my first few visits to Hunts Point, I gave something I presume to be the dim-witted or easy transmission of my mental fog. I had no idea what I had learned. I had learned too much, perhaps, a writer who can’t write through the swirling storm of emotion and experience.

After reflection, I can say this: positive spirits shine through and exist everywhere, beyond what I ever thought possible; some portions of the population aren’t given the chance to escape turmoiled confines; we give credibility and platforms to some types of addicts (the prescription drug abusers and alcoholics of the world) far more than others.

I’ve been to Hunts Point five times now and have spent a good portion of nights there. I briefly jotted this personal catalog after my first night in the Bronx, when I was reflecting in the moment on what I had just experienced of street prostitution and drug use, which was a marked departure from my usual mellow keel:

I know I smoked more cigarettes than I have in my life, both during and after. I know I lied down in my shower after returning and remained there, curled immobile, for some time. It [Hunts Point] felt akin to having my insides turned upside down — and I know how selfish it is to say how I was affected by a few hours in the neighborhood when this is a daily reality for many.

Shaken, helpless: me, not them.

The point: the lab knows but a modicum of addiction, in the end. People live the rest of it.

Since then, I’ve returned to Hunts Point, seeking the stories of unique, colorful people who have a straightforward, in-your-face addiction. No, they don’t have Oxycontin dispensed from their general practitioner or a taste for expensive wines, but they do self-medicate like the rest of America.

Science in all its empiricism should see the world and what it studies for what it is — beautiful, pained, troubled and triumphant.

We have enough people covering scientific papers and enough covering science factoids. What we need, and I won’t pretend to say I have the perfect answer, is how science is relevant in our daily lives, struggles and triumphs.

Addiction is a case study in struggles. This is a slap of a reminder of WHY we do science and WHAT we are helping. I will still report upon science news, but I’ll also tear through stereotypes and lend a light to communities and stories, which I think in many ways we need far more than mere news.

These are the human faces to your synapse, neurotransmitter and amygdala coordination, or lack thereof.

I’m proud to be on Scientific American, but I stand true to the people first, the people for whom I write in the first place.


Here are few of the people I’ve been lucky to meet so far, photos courtesy of Chris Arnade (click on a name or photo to get more of a story on Chris’s flickr site):

Takeesha again: Hunts Point, Bronx
Takeesha shared some of her heartbreaking story with me involving abuse as a young child by family members. She’s involved with crack now and “hooks” at times. She has a trusting, free way of speaking and openly adores Chris, running up to hug him on sight.

Craig: Hunts Point Bronx
Craig I met outside a bodega my first trip to the Bronx. We smoked together and talked for nearly an hour. He had an easy way with words and ended many a train of thought with “y’know what I’m sayin’?” I did know — he made good points about the community, and about crack, his drug.

Cynthia: Hunts Point, Bronx
We ran into Cynthia on a quiet, side street, right when we were about to leave Hunts Point around 1 a.m. The mother of 15 was excited to parade this as the best photo she’s ever taken — she has it hung on a wall at home. She began hooking at 13 and began using heroin and crack shortly thereafter.

Shelley: Hunts Point Bronx
When I met Michael, he was dressed as Shelley, shaking, clearly undergoing withdrawal (from heroin and crack) and said he needed help finding a detox facility. He was afraid to check himself into a treatment center because he had open prostitution cases and wanted to avoid methadone because, he said, he had gotten badly addicted to it before. The police came and questioned Chris and I as we spoke to Michael. His sweetness, pain and the harshness of his situation shone through, and my heart hurt after. We haven’t seen him again, though I look and hope on every trip.

A special thanks to Chris for his quiet observation, and for putting up with my presence again and again. See a recent NY Times writeup and follow him on Twitter.

Cassie Rodenberg About the Author: I write on culture, poverty, addiction, and mental illness: I explore things we like to ignore. I also teach public school in New York City's South Bronx. Follow on Twitter @cassierodenberg.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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  1. 1. djmchop 2:05 pm 04/11/2012

    Wow. I wouldn’t have the strength to do what you or they do. Kudos for putting some emotion behind this taboo subject.

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  2. 2. katellington 5:29 pm 04/11/2012

    I struggled to read past your title because stories told about the Bronx often lack a sense of character for a community where people work hard to live decent lives with fortitude, but these stories and such context goes untold. In the search to understand the most vulnerable, it’s the stories of the addicted that resonate most often in a borough of over 1.3 million where the Hunts Point neighborhood is about 50,000 people. On the corners and in the alley ways those who turn to prostitution and/or drugs to self-medicate where the disease of poverty is rampant. In addition, addiction becomes co-morbidity that infects their families and neighbors. Some do overcome and their healing is worthy of telling too. Your story sheds light by connecting science and medicine to places and people. Looking forward to reading more…

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  3. 3. Bonnie Nordby 8:34 pm 04/11/2012

    Your post is simply beautiful.

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  4. 4. BronxBoy 9:49 pm 04/11/2012

    So, you’ve been to Hunts Point 5 times and this is what you came away with? A place RENOWNED in local circles for its prostitution and addiction?

    renowned (rɪˈnaʊnd)

    — adj
    having a widespread, esp good, reputation; famous

    Ok, a few points.

    I’m from that area, and I can tell you without a doubt that no one in “local circles” in the South Bronx holds prostitution and addiction in renown.

    Second, I’ve heard this tune sung 1,000 times by patronizing folks of the allegedly cultured classes — the ones who are going to save us from ourselves. The ones who are now trying to colonize the area like a bunch of Dutchmen descending on Indonesia. The ones who believe they’re shining a light on an area that gets plenty of sunshine. You wouldn’t know it from this article, but Hunts Point is not populated solely by crackheads and vampires. There is life there before the streetlights come on.

    Does the South Bronx have problems? Yes. Any place with intractable poverty does. Do those problems need attention? Yes. Do those problems define the neighborhood in the way that Dockers and double strollers define the Upper West Side? No.

    I’m sure to you and your readers this seems groundbreaking. But it’s really another well-intentioned but failed effort to look at the South Bronx as if you’re covering a downtrodden foreign land, considering how alien it must seem. It’s the same old journalistic meme, particularly about neighborhoods or nations populated mostly by people of color. No one “lives” in places like those. They always “survive.” Reality check: people are “surviving” in Syria. People in the South Bronx are living.

    You want to do the South Bronx a favor? Write about whatever scientific advances might help end the scourge of drugs that hold too many people — including people in places like Kokomo, Boise and yes, the Upper West Side — in its grip and leave the shallow liberal guilt portraits to NPR.

    It’s fine to bring a human element to Scientific American. Just be sure you’re treating your subjects like humans, not lab rats.

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  5. 5. calliope123 12:29 am 04/12/2012

    i agree with BronxBoy. your post sounds like self-indulgent tripe by a person with a day job who thinks she validates her work by exploiting people she would not be caught dead with in her normal social circles. south bronx is a romantic notch on your belt as a “researcher”. give me a break. you’re exploiting another angle for your own career enhancement. puke.

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  6. 6. 2:39 am 04/12/2012

    very interesting, Cassie. Thanks for sharing. Have you read Gang Leader for a Day by Sudhir Venkatesh? I thought it did a similar job of reminding us that humanity exists everywhere, in all socioeconomic circles. People are just people.

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  7. 7. barso001 5:02 am 04/12/2012

    Wow and thank you.

    I have read thousands of articles online. This is my first comment.


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  8. 8. ShannonLGilstad 10:32 am 04/12/2012

    Ms. Rodenberg, you could travel to Hunt’s Point a thousand times and you would still never understand the people and the community there. I find your essay (if you’d even call it that), passé, condescending, and yes, unscientific. You are about twenty years+ too late as actual photojournalists and social scientists studied neighborhoods like Hunt’s Point, East Harlem, etc. at the height of the crack epidemic. Twenty years ago you and your transplant, “hipster”, pseudo-scientific brethren would never have set foot in the community which you proclaim to know so well, no less lived in New York.

    There is nothing new, unique, or earth shattering about what you are doing; This is ghetto tourism at its best. I commented to a fellow Bronxite (yes, I actually live and work in the Bronx) that you must seriously be hunting for addicts and prostitutes on your nocturnal trips to the Point by the way you depict it. Hunt’s Point is dead compared to what it used to be even ten years ago. In order for one to have gotten the quantity of pictures and accounts that you and Mr. Arnarde have, he would have to be specifically looking for only that.

    As an outsider you should consider the effect that your “work” has on the community and its people. You portray the South Bronx in much of the same way one goes on safari in Africa or thrill seeking in the favelas of Brazil. The South Bronx of Fort Apache no longer exists and has not for some time. What you do have is plenty of working-class people who lead normal lives, raise families, go to school, and have careers, though this is not sexy and wouldn’t get you the media attention you seem to crave. I cannot use any word other than disgusting to describe it.

    As for the rest of those who commented, I invite you to go to the South Bronx yourself and you will see that there is a discrepancy between how Ms. Rodenberg portrays it and what really is. For people reading Scientific American, I am disappointed at how naive and uneducated about what is going on in your own backyards.

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  9. 9. Welansa 11:39 am 04/12/2012

    Comments #4 and #8 were appreciated. There’s a valuable lesson in this for Ms. Rodenberg.

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  10. 10. kingsnyc 12:07 pm 04/12/2012

    Comments #4 and #8 say it all. Why not write an article about the amount of cocaine consumed by the folks working down on Wall Street and their associated sociopathic behavior?

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  11. 11. Changedmylife 12:08 pm 04/12/2012

    This is an interesting article. Whats even more interesting to me is how reading it brought back so many memories of how I transitioned from a teen to an adult and how huntspoint was an integral part of it. I was a youth caught up, addicted to sex, and now it is my past. The longer I live the more I realize how good God is. He did not let me die in or to those streets, and I should have.

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  12. 12. Changedmylife 12:13 pm 04/12/2012

    I believe that writing about issues on wall st. is obsolete. We dont live on wall st., but we live right here in the South Bronx. The issue is here. To solve and correct the issue, the first step has already been taken in identifying the issue. Now we need a cure. There is money in those streets and as long as there is money there, then you will continue to see prostitution and drugs.

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  13. 13. Changedmylife 12:23 pm 04/12/2012

    At Shannon, I understand you comments. I too lived in the Bronx and in the time when Hunts Point was flooded with prostitution. It was like walking the Vegas strip. While I do believe things have changed and gotten better to a degree, I see a new generation, a younger generation falling into the same traps and influences to which the article addresses. There is an underlined subject, hidden, so to speak, that is failed to be realized.

    Young girls go missing everyday and some of those girls could possibly be forced to work the streets in Hunts point because of whatever reason. That is only one topic. There are many more, but I think the awareness and acceptance that there is still issues that need attention in the Bronx is justifiable to this article.

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  14. 14. Welansa 12:38 pm 04/12/2012

    The truth is that drug use is rampant in Manhattan, not just in the Bronx. Furthermore, heroin use is increasingly more common in Westchester and Long Island than it is in the city, where people are now using prescription meds – even in the inner city. This article was misleading on many levels.

    Drug use and prostitution is prevalent all over the world, it is not exclusive to the Bronx or urban areas. Methamphetamine is destroying much of America today, that’s the current epidemic that needs to be written about.

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  15. 15. 3M TA3 1:49 pm 04/12/2012

    The berating comments are missing the forest for the trees here in an attempt to derail and be deliberately antagonistic. I find this kind of behavior appalling.

    In fact, most of the griping has nothing to do with the significance or message of the blog post.

    “You wouldn’t know it from this article, but Hunts Point is not populated solely by crackheads and vampires.”

    I read the article and never assumed or got the impression that it was. I read the post as an author going to a place where such activity could be found in order to humanize drug addiction.

    To focus on the location where she went to find people to talk to is to completely miss the point and the message.

    Don’t you think it’s also quite odd that while being preachy and up your own ass with messages about leaving South Bronx alone, these people who Ms. Rodenberg sought took the exact opposite attitude as you and were willing to discuss their lives with her? How do they profit directly from what was called “ghetto tourism”, given the implications of using a word like tourism?

    “They always “survive.” Reality check: people are “surviving” in Syria. People in the South Bronx are living.”

    Here’s a reality check for you, have you ever been to Syria? Or any third world country, for that matter? And, considering the specific people she explicitly TOLD the reader she was referring to, yeah, I would say surviving is a pretty apt term.

    “Just be sure you’re treating your subjects like humans, not lab rats.”

    Completely unjustified ad hominem. In fact, as a practicing scientist, I saw exactly the opposite in this post. Are you calling the residents you are standing up for too stupid to know if they were being treated as such?
    “pseudo-scientific brethren would never have set foot in the community which you proclaim to know so well”

    More argumentum ad hominem. In fact, if you actually read the article instead of proceeding directly to personal attacks, which are quite easy to rampantly formulate as a keyboard warrior, you would have noticed that it would be the last place she claimed to know well.

    “This is ghetto tourism at its best.”

    Where is the “tourism” incentive for the people who tell their stories and know they will be placed on a page like this?

    “In order for one to have gotten the quantity of pictures and accounts that you and Mr. Arnarde have, he would have to be specifically looking for only that.”

    Again, did you read the post? That IS in fact what they were looking for. Read the stories of the people they talked to. I don’t think there is any veil or hiding it: this is a blog about addiction, she went to find addicts in Hunt’s Point.

    A direct quote from the article:

    “I’ve returned to Hunts Point, seeking the stories of unique, colorful people who have a straightforward, in-your-face addiction.”


    “What you do have is plenty of working-class people who lead normal lives, raise families, go to school, and have careers, though this is not sexy and wouldn’t get you the media attention you seem to crave.”
    This isn’t a blog about the working class in a low-income neighborhood, it’s a blog about addiction.

    “As for the rest of those who commented, I invite you to go to the South Bronx yourself and you will see that there is a discrepancy between how Ms. Rodenberg portrays it and what really is.”

    Interesting, here is how she portrayed it to me:

    “a vibrant, unique New York community.”

    …yet another direct post from the blog.

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  16. 16. starlet587 2:00 pm 04/12/2012

    +I too am from the bronx and I am not offended at all by this article. The author did not claim the streets of hunts point are plagued day AND night by drugs and hookers, but that he spent “several late-nights exploring” and found something that anyone would find in the south bronx at night. NOT just in the Hunts point area either if i do say so. Are there other places that are worse off? syria? Hell yeah! However, all because one problem isn’t as big as another does not dismiss it as being a problem. Are we as bronxites happy about our “renowned” reputation? Of course not, but it is reality. It is a reality most people either ignore or have become desensitized to. I will say this, Hunts point has come a long way from what it used to be. There is still a long way to go for our neighborhood. I implore the author to continue because i feel many of us “insiders” are overwhelmed and shut down in terms of a solution. It is bigger than us.

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  17. 17. Ag NO3 3:16 pm 04/12/2012

    Is Ms. Rodenberg claiming to do anything new? I don’t see that here. What she is doing is not new. Does it matter? It is not something she has done before, so it is new for her. Ancient Chinese painters copied each other and their tutors because they believed a work is new if they had never created it before. It did not matter an identical painting existed – it wasn’t something the imitator had painted and was therefore entirely unique.

    In that sense, this project is personal. She is using it as a means to put herself more in touch with the real face behind addiction. It is a reminder as to why it is important to talk about in scientific terms. Through her visits, don’t we get this as her readers as well?

    That’s the point of this post.

    Sure, any one traveling to a community he or she not a part of will never fully understand it. One can only understand it as an outsider, which is an entirely different experience and vantage point. Because the fact that it is different from yourself is the reason you go, otherwise you would never visit foreign nations and NYC itself would probably not be filled with 8 million people. That is the best part about the city – you get to be a part of and be exposed to so many communities.

    We rely on braver, more insightful, more curious people than ourselves to venture into communities we are not familiar with, too.

    I am not from Jersey and I am not Italian, but I can’t help but hate, love, want to join, want to ignore the cast members of MTV’s The Jersey Shore or the rich, catty housewives in Georgia, California, New York, and New Jersey. Gated suburban communities are not new. And if you are not from there, you will never understand why those people are like they are so you will forever think they are not justified to be so outrageous. That is why we watch. And this is why there is no need to care as passionately as we are about this post that a TV network is profiling them. The network makes money off of them, which is a hell of a lot less beneficial to any one than what Cassie and Chris are doing.

    Of course they are only looking for addicts and prostitutes. Just like Tommy Ton and The Sartorialist only look for fashionistas and magazine editors. NYC is much more than that, but that is all they are looking for because that is what they are interested in and want to show people.

    I don’t believe YOU are considering the effect Chris and Cassie’s “work” has on the Hunts Point community. Might it not make them feel important in an area of town that a lot of NYC might like not to think about? Get over the idea that every examination and exploration is based on stereotype. Yes, some of Wall Street has corruption. Yes, some models are not smart. Yes, some Bronx residents are addicted. Those are the ones being discussed here. This is not about a neighborhood. It is about the behavior, habits, and circumstances of some individuals.

    Yes, maybe more people should visit. You can’t know what is going on in your own backyard unless you GO OUTSIDE. Cassie and Chris have every right to go and take what they want from their visits just as those same residents can walk down 5th avenue and stop in the Louis Vuitton store.

    So maybe renowned isn’t the right word. Notorious might be better? But why give a negative spin to an already dark place? That would be redundant and hollow like a tourist guide. Perhaps in the subtlety of that word choice something more important might be said? That these people are worth knowing?

    This post and project are not a profile of the South Bronx. They are a profile of addiction. Look at the purpose of the blog you are reading. If you need to do research in a topic, where do you look for information? The library. Because there is a lot of it all in one place. If I wanted to write about prostitutes, I would go where I was most likely to easily find one. That is no reason whatsoever to suggest this effort is not worthwhile.

    People everywhere are surviving. That is an incredibly subjective line if you can even call it that. Here is your reality check: If you are breathing you are living. Syrians are living. New Yorkers are living. Both are surviving. Some take drugs to make it more bearable and become addicted. Others buy expensive shoes to make themselves feel important and beautiful and accepted by the community they live and work in. If they didn’t would they survive? What if that is the only environment you know and thus the only survival tactics? There is more than getting food and shelter required to survive in the modern world.

    I’ll admit I feel guilty hearing and seeing people facing hardships I will never know yet I feel discontented with my life and complain. I get defensive and angry that I feel guilty about this and yet don’t want to or feel too uncomfortable to help those less fortunate. And I blame the person showing it to me but really it is my problem. The person facing tough issues and situations head on and figuring out where he or she fits in in the helping is worthy of support not degradation.

    That distinction is in a way fundamental to Cassie’s approach to addiction. Is it a disorder? Can you control it? Are you liable for it or are you as unresponsible as for your body developing cancer? Do you deserve to be treated as an outcast, weakened member of your community because of it? I don’t know. So many people feel they do, though. It’s confusing because you have to CHOOSE to put drugs in your system. That fact provides for little forgiveness for the unaddicted toward the addicted. Part of puzzling this out is understanding why people become addicted in the first place and I think there is no better place to start than being introduced to people who face it.

    I suspect the reasons of some of the individuals in the Hunts Point community might be more gruesome than the Wall Street financier addicted to sex or drugs or gambling but whose to say the members of these groups who are addicted are any different? In that sense, does it matter which community is profiled? It may as well be the one that gets your attention just like good TV. At least unlike TV programming, Cassie and Chris’ project has a real purpose and good intention.

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  18. 18. boogiedowndiva 3:35 pm 04/12/2012

    I wish reporters would stop creeping around the seething underbelly of the Bronx and perhaps write a little about everyday working families who have to navigate those mean streets. You want a good news story? Ask a few of us who grew up in the purported deep, dark recesses of the Bronx, and yet manage to maintain a semblance of working class dignity.

    As a matter of fact – do you want to take some pictures and tell some stories? How about visiting a Bronx school? No Child Left Behind is a joke. The education system in the Bronx might drive you back to Hunts Point to cop some drugs for yourself. This reporter has written about adults who can and should be held accountable for their own decisions. Why not focus on the children who desperately need a reporter to shine a light on THEIR situation?

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  19. 19. Harding Park Bronx NYC 6:32 pm 04/12/2012

    #2 katellington, #4 Bronx Boy, #5 calliope123, #8 ShannonLGilstad, #15 #M TA# 3 – Your replies are on point.
    Ms. Rodenberg wants to LEARN about addiction, REALLY?

    This blog is nothing more than a voyeur’s exploitation of THOSE WITH ADDICTION THAT ARE EASILY ACCESSIBLE. If Ms. Rodenberg really wants to learn about addiction, then she should focus on the CURRENT TRENDS IN ADDICTION. The drama she adds about smoking more and after her “field trips” and showering longer is typical sensationalism. She did not get addicts in her neighboorHOOD to talk about their addictions– because they probably have the money, support and resources to hide it.
    Ms. Rodenberg LEARN THIS about addiction:
    PRESCRIPTION DRUG ADDICTION is the second-leading cause of accidental deaths.
    ONLY marijuana is abuse more than pills in the US.
    1/5 of all teenagers abuse prescription medications.
    9% of the entire US population admits misusing prescription meds
    Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana and Oklahoma are the top five states with meth.labs
    Methamphetamine prevalence is greatest in the West, Southwest, and Midwest – NOT HUNTS POINT.
    Low self-esteem is known to be a major trigger/factor leading to drug use and addiction. The tags for Ms. Rosenberg’s blog keep the stereotype going—“addicts, bronx, heroin.”

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  20. 20. ts1231999 12:37 am 04/17/2012

    The intent of the article, and the impact it had on me as the reader, is the emphasis on context. Rather than attempt to fully describe Hunts Point on a 24/7 basis, or claim implicitly or explicitly herself as an authority on Hunts Point, the author describes her interactions with addicts and the impact of context on perspective. “Context, in this case social context, gives rise to the need for science.” Without an understanding of context, the study of addiction, or any health problem for that matter, is incomplete.

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  21. 21. steve castleman 2:21 pm 04/20/2012

    As a sober drug addict who follows the science of addiction closely, I have often found research results published in the various addiction-related journals to be completely divorced from the addict experience. (For example, scientists report that most detox symptoms are “relatively manageable” objectively. While this may be true for addicts in general, addicts don’t agree — they suffer through detox individually and their subjective view of its difficulty is so daunting they will do almost anything to avoid it.)

    It’s necessary to integrate the addict experience with the scientific findings. The best portrait of addition involves synthesizing the objective model of addiction being developed by researchers with the subjective description of addicts. So I agree with Ms. Ronnenberg that we need to focus on “how science is relevant in our daily lives, struggles and triumphs.”

    For a not-for-profit web site that does this, synthesizing both the neuroscience of addiction and the addict experience, please click on

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  22. 22. meltee 6:00 pm 04/20/2012

    I suppose I should not be surprised by the hostile attacks on the author and her work. After all this is the blogosphere. One commenter said it seemed she was looking for addicts–yes, that was the point of her going there. One blogger jumped on her for ignoring prescription drug addiction. She explicitly said others are writing about that, she was writing about the addictions she found on the streets of Hunt’s Point. What she wrote about was what she found: heroin and crack. Why should she write about what she did not see? While meth is destructive, meth users barely register on the most recent NSDUH survey, representing 0.1% of the total population 12 and older. Compare this to cocaine at 0.6% or hallucinogens at 0.5%, or 2.7% for script drugs. Even if national use rates are low, if meth was a drug of choice in Hunt’s Point, I am sure she would have written about meth.

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