CHICAGO (CBS) — CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov was drawn into a story about Chicago’s drug epidemic when she rushed to help a victim who overdosed right in front of her.
It’s a horror people living in a two-block area of East Garfield Park see every day.
This time someone was overdosing in the middle of the 700 block of North Christiana around 5:30 Tuesday afternoon.
He was barely conscious. People were looking on, but no one was helping. So CBS 2’s crew did.
As they waited for paramedics, people watched and laughed.
Paramedics arrived minutes later, checked to see if the man was conscious, and put him in an ambulance.
A neighbor said he was told the man bought drugs.
“He bought him some drugs, and he fell out,” Leon Burch said.
He didn’t know if it was heroin, but he guessed.
“Of course. That’s what they sell over here. That’s what it’s about,” Burch said.
The man Kozlov helped was one of at least 20 people to overdose on the West Side on Tuesday. Police said three of those people died.
Residents believe the rash of overdoses is due to heroin laced with Fentanyl, which experts say is 50 times more potent than heroin alone.
Suddenly police arrived on scene. Residents told officers the drug dealers stole the man’s car when they noticed he was overdosing.
“I’ve been over here over 50 years, and it has never been like this. Never,” one woman said.
“You can’t have any peace, because they’re all up and down the street with this mess, disturbing the neighbors,” Burch said. “You have older neighbors over here, and nobody’s doing anything. We got our alderman. He’s in office, but what is he doing?”
More than six people say they’ve called and met with Ald. Walter Burnett (27th) numerous times with little response. He didn’t respond to CBS 2’s calls and messages either.
“Nothing is being done about it,” said Michelle, a resident of East Garfield Park. “I think that the alderman should be in his community. You know, not just people coming to his office to meetings. He should be in the community that he represents.”
In total Chicago police said there were 20 overdose victims Tuesday before 10 p.m. Three of those were fatal.
The Chicago Police Department’s narcotics unit is working on the issue in collaboration with federal investigators in part to see if all are related.