Rockford Drug culture – 1970’s – Pat Cunningham, 1999

Article on Nov. 14, 1999 in conjunction with Pat Cunningham’s book release “Big Town Little City.”

“Highs and Lows; The drug scourge took a toll on Rockford”

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“A Rockford City Worker stands by as a former drug house on School Street is toppled by a bulldozer. The arrival of crack cocaine to the local scene was especially destructive to the city’s poorer neighborhoods.  It also strained the criminal justice system almost to the breaking point.”

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“Rockford Police Capt. John Weeks holds of cash in one hand and a brick of marijuana in the other after a local drug bust. But it was cocaine that took the greater social toll.”

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“The rise of the drug culture in the 1970s spawned violence among Rockford street gangs who vied for control of the local drug market. At one point, the two biggest gangs had a combined membership of more than 600 people. A youngster is shown here sledding past a building marked by gang graffiti.” The building was the remaining lower level of the Sunset Park shelter house.