Sunday, May 15, 2011

Preble Street's Drug Market

The West End News has a stunning article about the illegal drug market at the Preble Street Resource Center. While an important resource for many homeless and others in need, the center is reported to an open air drug market.  The apparent ease at which drugs can be bought at the center (which is also in very close proximity to Preble Street's Teen Center) is disturbing.  While much of this is not new news (the Press Herald just reported on crime problems in the area), the details in the WEN article suggest the center may be causing more harm than good.  
One of them is Joe T., a man in his late thirties, who says that to those involved in the illegal drug market, the Preble Street Resource Center is known as the “Preble Street Pharmacy” and the Soup Kitchen is called “Preble Street Garden,” comparing it to the Olive Garden restaurant. Joe is very familiar with both of these Portland scenes, since he has used them for several years. He says Preble Street is a “hot spot for drugs,” that when people are calling one another on their cell phones to set up drug transactions, they’ll make arrangements to meet at either the “Pharmacy” or the “Garden.” “Preble Street is the drug market of Portland,” he concluded. His feelings regarding workers are “They are enabling. Staff don’t care.”