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Narcotics a Plague on Harlem

Dec. 8, 1961 - Marijuana smoking among Harlem teenagers is almost as common as the use of regular cigarettes, a Negro Democratic leader declared today. He also charged that “the hypodermic needle is a common weapon” of youths in the area and that “drugstores are selling these needles illegally.” The statements were made by Mark T. Southall of the 12th Assembly District North, which covers upper Harlem and Washington Heights. Mr. Southall said it was his “sad duty” to report on “the dreadful narcotics racket and disease in our community.” Harlem, he said, “is becoming a cesspool for the narcotics racket” and children in the area “are being recruited into the traffic by the racketeers.”“Churches are constantly being robbed by addicts and property is being destroyed,” he said. “Ministers and other citizens are being mugged and beaten by addicts, who also are guilty of rapes, pickpocketing and many other crimes, daily and nightly.”


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