The first article I wrote for Kirbyontheloose was “Crack is Back” in March of 2008.read it here. It was a two-part story of a young woman who was beat up at a local rooming house and thrown out of the window by her boyfriend, a drug user. I interviewed her, and she put me on to the story about how available crack pipes were in local convenience stores and liquor stores. In the process of writing the story, I learned who supplied the crack cocaine to her boyfriend. “Jim” lived a short distance away from the rooming house in subsidized housing on Michaelman Avenue. He ran crack parties, the landlord knew he was there and knew that dealing was going on; they called the police, but never managed to get witnesses to testify in support of an eviction order, and the police never raided the place or made an arrest. The tenants suffered. Evidently he was a small fish. On June 8, 2008, he died of an overdose.
There was no notice in either the Gazette or the Union of his death. It’s a pattern around here. Drug deaths go unreported. I ordered up what I could get, a medical examiners report, and a police report. At first I thought I would just print the reports as is, but professionals are hamstrung by the requirements of the form: they rarely are compelling reading, but they did start me thinking and talking to people. And visiting the spartan medical examiners office in Holyoke was a sobering experience. You don’t want to end up in one of their drawers or be another file folder in their files. Read the full article