International Journal of Drug Policy - 2014

Volume 25 Issue 3 May 2014

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546 D. Rosenblum et al. / International Journal of Drug Policy 25 (2014) 543–555 cross-MSA analysis, we use it to identify cities that our ethno- graphic evidence suggests should be entry points for Colombian heroin. Methodology 2.2: quantitative analysis statistical methods The statistical analysis has two parts. First we estimate the correlation between the prevalence of Colombian-sourced heroin and the level of Hispanic and Puerto Rican segregation. Second, we investigate the correlation between segregation and the retail- level heroin price per expected pure gram. Because Colombian heroin only became widely available in the US in the mid-1990s, we restrict our segregation measures to those from the 1990 census. Hence we investigate how segregation affected the later wide-scale distribution of Colombian-sourced heroin. This timing clarifies the direction of causality: that segregation in 1990 affected the intro- duction of a new type of heroin rather than the introduction of Colombian-sourced heroin causing an intensification of segrega- tion. The linear regression estimation equation we use is as follows: Y i = ˛ + ˇS i + H i + ıL i + ε i (1) where Y i is the outcome of interest (CHSI or price per pure gram) in MSA i, S i is the Hispanic dissimilarity index, H i is an indicator variable that equals 1 if it is identified as having a high level of Puerto Rican segregation (and 0 otherwise), and L i is an indicator variable equal to 1 if the MSA is identified as having a low-level of Puerto Rican segregation (and 0 otherwise). From Vargas-Ramos' (2006) estimates of Puerto Rican segregation we identify five cities as having a high level of segregation, where H i = 1. These cities have a dissimilarity index ≥ 0.5 in 1990: Boston, Chicago, Newark, New York, and Philadelphia. 6 We also identified three cities with a low level of segregation, where L i = 1. These cities have a dissimilarity index < 0.5 in 1990: Los Angeles, Miami, and San Diego. The other fourteen MSAs do not have large enough Puerto Rican populations to warrant measuring the segregation level of this group and for these cities H i = 0 and L i = 0. Given the ethnographic evidence we expect to find that H i is a particularly important determinant of the heroin market. Because the geography of the US also matters for the distribution of heroin we also estimate the relationship between geographic regions and our outcomes of interest. All analyses are conducted using STATA 11.2. Ethnographic evidence 1.1: the role of poverty and segregation in the Philadelphia heroin market [Fieldnote PB] Before I have walked halfway down the subway platform stairs I am hailed with, "Works [syringes]! Works! Sub [Suboxone pills], sub, sub!" As I step onto the sidewalk an emaciated white injector offers to take me to a corner "that's poppin' today." He assures me that he was given a sample less than an hour ago ". . . it's a 10 [highest quality rating]." I have learned to shake my head, mumbling, "I'm good," and con- tinue rapidly down the sidewalk. I find myself in the midst of a stream of mostly white injectors in various states of emaciation and ill-health. They are fanning out from the subway entrance 6 Vargos-Ramos (2006) calculates the dissimilarity index at the county-level. We assume that the index for Suffolk County Massachusetts is that for the Boston MSA, Cook County Illinois represents Chicago, Essex County New Jersey repre- sents Newark, and the average of the index for Bronx, Kings, New York, and Queens counties in New York represent the index for the New York MSA. We also assume Miami-Dade County Florida represents the Miami MSA, Los Angeles County California represents the Los Angeles MSA, and San Diego County California repre- sents the San Diego MSA. hurrying through the labyrinth of surrounding narrow one-way side streets. A twenty-something-year-old young white man in a Penn State sweatshirt with his baseball cap tilted backwards is walking just a little too fast and too eagerly next to me. He could look like he just walked off a college campus but is 20 or 30 pounds under- weight. He raises his two right hand fingers in what I mistake to be a victory sign and peels off across the street towards a Puerto Rican teenager who is crouching by the tire of an SUV and pulls out two packets of heroin for him from underneath the chassis. They make a quick one-handed exchange. Spinning around, he thrusts his hand down the back of his pants, stashing the heroin in his rear before heading straight back to the subway. Ahead of me there are two couples, both consisting of a young, skinny, scantily dressed woman walking more confidently than their older boyfriends. But most of the injectors around me who are on their way to buy heroin are single men walking alone or are in duos, sometimes trios, in temporary nervous alliances for protection and information on "what's best today." Others are scanning about looking for an acquaintance to guide them to "the best dope" in return for a tip or a taste. A burly, white middle-aged man in paint-splattered pants pre- sumably taking a user's break from a contractor's job, or else still buff from weightlifting during a recent bout of incarceration, asks me, "Is Godfather open today? Have you tried it?" I shrug my shoulders and look away, but another younger more emaci- ated white 30 something-year-old man with a big friendly smile, overhears the question and shuffles over, his foot wrapped in a filthy bandage, "I had some. Godfather's poppin' today." In the same breath, the painter anxiously snaps back, "How long ago?" The flow of addicts, many of whom look like the walking wounded, has now reached the next corner and we are greeted by two physically-fit, clear-eyed Puerto Rican teenagers dressed in the latest hip-hop style, shouting "DOA [brand name] DOA!" and "powder [cocaine], powder, powder, powder. . . What you need?" followed by a fainter chorus of "works, works, works" coming from a set of older, broken-down-looking whites who are standing almost deferentially further away against an aban- doned rowhome. They are clearly subordinated to the younger Puerto Rican heroin and cocaine street sellers. These cho- ruses repeat themselves half a dozen more times on just about every block, sometimes again halfway through the block through which I walk until I reach our apartment. On our block, the brand name has been "Dead End" for the past three months. This fieldnote describes what the members of the ethnographic team (PB, GK, FM) would experience virtually every time they walked to their apartment from the nearest subway stop during the five years they conducted participant-observation fieldwork in one of the poorest micro-neighborhoods of Puerto Rican Philadel- phia. Up through the 1950s, this area was Philadelphia's largest and most concentrated industrial neighborhood. Today it has mor- phed into an approximately 800+ square block territory of decaying rowhomes clustered tightly around huge abandoned red-brick factories. Philadelphia has one of the highest rates of housing abandonment of all large cities in the United States and this neigh- borhood's exceptionally large abandoned factories, derelict railroad tracks, vacant lots and decaying rowhomes offer a devastated but still heavily-inhabited infrastructure that has fomented a high-risk environment facilitating public narcotics sales and use. A spatially

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