WXXI AM News

Human chain on North Clinton Ave in an attempt to disrupt drug sales in neighborhood

Apr 26, 2019

An event on North Clinton Avenue Friday night was aimed at trying to curb the heroin epidemic in that area by creating a human chain.

Kristen Cushman-Smith, an organizer for No Mas, coordinated the demonstration - said that with signs, banners, and people, the group tries to temporarily disrupt drug sales on a prominent section of North Clinton Avenue where some of the highest rates of calls for services, opioid overdoses and arrests occur.

"What we do is we try to take up a section of the avenue that would be used for drug sales and have people line up shoulder to shoulder, relatively close to each other," Cushman-Smith said. "We're sort of fighting an uphill battle because there is a lot of information out there that’s like ‘this is where they come to get their drugs’ and so the neighborhood sort of gets a bad rap even though it’s not necessarily neighborhood people that are doing the drug dealing."

Cushman-Smith said the entire county looks at this area as a drug hub, but “we have to separate the fact that there is a living, breathing neighborhood here and they’re in the thick of it."

She said they are also raising awareness about how living conditions in the area have deteriorated since it because a major selling location, with needles and trash in the streets.

"For the everyday folks it’s not different then a neighborhood in Webster or Penfield or Gates, they want to be able to come home and park in their driveway and not share that space with someone who might be shooting up outside their home," Cushman-Smith said.

No Mas holds an awareness event every month.