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State Street, 1969

Young people hang out in the 600 block of State Street in Madison in July 1969. 

This State Journal editorial ran on Aug. 6, 1969:

Now it’s heroin, cocaine and methadone in Madison, the “hard” drugs whose use leaves no doubt they can destroy mind and body.

The city has reached a new and frightening plateau, as revealed by the fact that 19 of 31 charges — two out of three — against people arrested in a police crackdown in Madison over the weekend involved the heroin-cocaine-methadone trio.

The drug situation in Madison is following a natural course.

First came marijuana, which the naive and the gullible termed no worse than alcohol. They pooh-poohed the old-fashioned worriers who said it opened the door to a wider drug use.

The pseudo-respectability given marijuana helped to popularize the material in Madison high schools. Sons of prominent families became “pushers.” ... Youngsters experimented. If marijuana was not available, here was something new, with a bigger “kick.”

The result is a few “hopheads” in Madison, youngsters who have “blown their minds.” ... There was concern youngsters would tire of marijuana, or be given the hard drug trio unsuspectingly until they were hooked.

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The arrests show this is happening.

Now the city is faced with the drugs that cause the real addiction, the drugs for which users must often commit crime. And the stage is set for organized crime.

The police have done a good job in arresting pushers in these days when it is not easy to be a policeman, but the job is larger than they can handle.

Parents have a new responsibility to protect their children. The job, fortunately, is easier, now that the progression has been made from the “harmless” marijuana to the dangerous hard drugs.

The fight is out in the open.

And Madison had better win.

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