I never thought I would see the day that the New York Times would have a feature on little ole Kalamazoo but here we are. As I was scrolling through Reddit the other day, I noticed a post that said "The New York Times wrote about Kalamazoo" or "Kalamazoo was mentioned in the New York Times" or something along those lines. Which I obviously clicked on with no hesitation, and what I saw was mind-blowing.

I thought that the feature would be something cool like calling our city Beer City, USA or pointing out the bajillion breweries, wineries, distilleries that exist within the area. I was thinking that would be a phenomenal way to get the city of Kalamazoo on the map so that people stop asking me "Where is that? Is it by Detroit? How close is that to Detroit?" or simply saying "that's not a real place". Instead, our great city is known for one of the worst things going on around town.

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Kalamazoo residents have been fighting tooth and nail to help solve what many are calling the homeless epidemic. For years now, more and more of the population has been voluntarily or involuntarily becoming homeless and clogging up the streets and parks in Downtown Kalamazoo as they try to recover. The other side of that though is that many people within this demographic have turned to drugs to help cope with the situation.

Those that find themselves in this circumstance are looking for anyway to make their life better or at least enjoy the life they have to deal with for the time being. Drug dealers in the Kalamazoo area have taken advantage of this group and their desire to escape their problems, leading to somewhat of a drug epidemic, especially with Heroin, Meth, and other opioids.

The New York Times went on a deep dive explaining how the drugs that this community has started to use have created problems for doctors trying to save their lives and the people in the community that are trying to help them escape those conditions. The article explains how they have started to see some users use uppers, downers, and other combinations of drugs to reach the feeling their looking for while some are just falling prey to dealers making the product stronger to hook their clientele.

Either way this has been a huge problem within the Kalamazoo community for quite some time now. It sucks that the New York Times got a whiff of what was going on and decided to blast it to the entire world. Although, I'm hoping that this encourages the leaders in the city to do something about it and make things better. I hope Kalamazoo can find something new to be known for.

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Gallery Credit: TSM/ Chelsea Rose via Brandon Haag

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