The epidemic of inner city murders in Chicago is well known. Less well known is the spread of heroin and other drugs to the rural counties of the Midwest. The link between these two pathologies is virtually unknown, but is crucial to an understanding of the Midwestern battlefield in the drug wars.
Oddly, the battlefield is getting more bloody partly because of social and police policies that can be seen as successes in themselves. These include the demolition of Chicago’s huge public housing projects, the flow of Mexican immigrants to Chicago, the city’s role as the nation’s transport hub, police successes in breaking up huge urban gangs, the spread of affordable housing in small towns, and state laws that have helped squelch local labs making methamphetamine, or meth.