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Baltimore Crowned Heroin Capital

A Drug Enforcement Administration report calls Baltimore the heroin capital of the United States, reports CBS News Correspondent Stephanie Lambidakis.

In Baltimore, drug sweeps are an everyday event. Despite the crackdowns, the DEA estimates that 60,000 people, about 10 percent of the population, are drug addicts whose habits fuel the city's crime epidemic.

Baltimore City Sheriff John Anderson says, "Handgun violations, murder, theft, you name it..."

According to the new DEA report:

  • Baltimore is a top market for pure South American heroin. About $1.5 million of it is sold every day.
  • Baltimore has "one of the most severe crack (cocaine) problems in the United States."
  • The use of the designer club drug ecstasy has rapidly increased, particularly among suburban users.
  • And Baltimore leads the country in drug-related emergency room admissions.

    Baltimore Health Commissioner Dr. Peter Beilensen says, "We've already doubled drug treatment in the last three years, and need to double it one more time to have treatment available when people need it."

    DEA officials say Baltimore's situation is worse than other cities because of an entrenched drug culture that runs through entire families and spans generations.

    Police Commissioner Edward Norris says requests for aid might include asking for more DEA agents in Baltimore, more money for drug-enforcement police and more money for drug-treatment facilities for addicts.

    Baltimore is estimated to have at least 60,000 drug addicts, or about 10 percent of the population. Police say drugs are a factor in eight of every 10 city homicides.

    With federal help and an aggressive anti-drug strategy, Norris and Mayor Martin O'Malley said, they believe the drug epidemic will be under control in two to three years.

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