Has illegal drug use rode the homeless wave into our subway?


Illegal drug use wasn’t a big concern in the Roosevelt Island subway. Overcrowding – now relieved by the pandemic – filth and homelessness made more noise. But now, the homeless wave that never quit, despite the Mayor’s and the MTA’s promises, appears to have brought along a friend. Apparent open illegal drug use is a regular feature in the local subway station.

by David Stone

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

From Homeless to Homeless and Addicted

Homelessness, over the last twenty years, has been New York City’s worst preventable tragedy. In spite of endless promises and relatively easy solutions, mayor after mayor failed at making a serious dent. Tens of thousands are homeless, and many still take shelter in subway cars and stations.

Yesterday afternoon in the Roosevelt Island subway station.

Drug abuse is a major factor in homelessness. In fact, drug abuse is one of the leading causes of homelessness. Many people become homeless after losing their jobs and/or homes because of their addiction to drugs. Drug abuse can also lead to criminal activity, which can further contribute to homelessness.

But Has The Homeless Tide Brought Illegal Drug Use To Roosevelt Island?

One local resident says it has and provided The Daily with photos that appear to prove it. Our reader, who prefers remaining anonymous shared this photo.

Apparent illegal drug use, Roosevelt Island subway station.
One man walks away from the group in the direction of the tunnel on the Queens-bound side of the station.

Along the right side of the photo, a man seated on a folding chair appears to prepare a syringe.

A closer look shows the individual with what looks like a syringe in his hand.

According to some sources, 38% of homeless individuals are alcoholics, and 26% abuse narcotics.

Banyan Treatment Centers

The open illegal drug use did not catch the attention of the local police. It was still going strong a month later.

This week, a hooded individual, an apparent syringe in hand, may be injecting himself in the lower leg while a friend stretches out behind.

The Broader View

Just as important as recognizing drug addiction as a disease is seeing official neglect as a catastrophic failure of will and leadership. The problem grows because no one in authority does enough about it, although lip service is plentiful.

Some potential hazards of being in an area with illegal drug use in public include exposure to dangerous chemicals and pollutants, violence and infectious diseases. Illegally manufactured drugs may be contaminated with toxic chemicals, and users may leave behind used needles or other drug paraphernalia that spread disease.

Drug dealing and use can also lead to violence, as rival dealers or users fight over territory or drugs. Additionally, children may be lured into trying drugs by dealers who offer free samples.

How can you protect yourself?

If you live in or visit an area where illegal drugs are used, there are some steps you can take to protect yourself and your loved ones. Avoid contact with used needles or other drug paraphernalia. Keep an eye out for signs of violence and avoid areas where drug dealing or use is taking place, although that’s hardly possible where people rely on the subway while that’s where the drugs are.

Talk to your children about the dangers of drug use and keep them away from areas where drugs are used, if you can.

Finally, if you suspect someone is selling or using drugs in your area, contact the police.

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