HERE'S DARRYL Logan. Here's a 45-year-old lifelong Baltimorean, a graduateof one of its venerable independent schools - and a longtime drug addict. Heseems like a bright guy. He's certainly a congenial conversationalist. Andhe's one of our estimated 40,000 heroin users.
For a couple of decades, while holding a variety of jobs (one for 12years), Logan used heroin and sold heroin. He's been through a couple oftreatment and recovery programs but relapsed both times. As of today, he'sstill in the life, using heroin and hustling the stuff when he needs money.
He says he'd rather be doing something else - and no longer contributing toone of Baltimore's pernicious problems.
Selling drugs has become too difficult, too risky, Logan says. In recentmonths, the Baltimore police have increased pressure on dealers and shut downsome of the corners where users go on a regular basis to purchase heroin. Moreyoung guys than ever are hustling, he says, and the relative youth of thestreet sellers is one factor contributing to the insane violence that goeswith the drug trade. (There were 278 homicides in Baltimore last year, thevast majority of them drug-related, according to police. The 2005 count, as ofyesterday, was 143, just below the 2004 pace.)
Darryl Logan is typical of Baltimore's aging population of heroin users -men and women reaching midlife with a fear of violence and more jail time.Logan is one of about two dozen users and/or dealers who, since a columnaddressed to them June 9, contacted The Sun to say they've had enough of thelife and want some help.
Logan says he wants a decent job that doesn't involve selling illegalnarcotics at $10 a bag. (Considering the risks, netting $50 on every 25 bagssold isn't exactly lucrative.) Unlike most of the dealers or users interviewedrecently, Logan says he doesn't have a felony conviction on his record, whichshould make his hunt for a job a little easier.
With the help of a friend of mine, he put together the first resume he'sever had, one that shows jobs as a warehouseman, an equipment operator and alaborer on a construction site. For 12 years, from 1984 until 1996, Logan hada good job making picture frames for Clark Molding in Timonium.
"I've demonstrated all my life a willingness and an ability to learn thingsquickly," the resume says. "I can do many things. I work hard and I am a greatand loyal team player. I can be an asset to whoever employs me."
The resume shows a high school diploma from the Friends School ofBaltimore.
Once upon a time, Logan says, he was a student there, recruited as aneighth-grader out of Lanvale Street in East Baltimore by his middle schoolprincipal, who happened to be a parent of a Friends student. Logan wanted togo to a public junior high, and not the Charles Street independent school,with a majority white and affluent student body.
"I wanted to go to school where my friends were going," he says. "My motherwanted me to go to Friends because she knew it was my best shot. See, when Iwas a kid, it wasn't cool to be smart. That was probably part of my problem.When I went to Friends, and came back to my neighborhood, there was a pressureto show that I didn't change, that I was still a neighborhood kid. I did OK atFriends, but just enough to get by. I could have done a lot better."
Later, Logan says, he learned that some of his friends from Lanvale Street- the same guys who, he thought, considered being smart to be uncool - were"secretly rooting" for him to succeed at Friends. "Those guys thought I wasthe one who was gonna get out," Logan says.
And he did - for a while. He lasted two years at the University ofMaryland, College Park. His freshman roommate introduced Logan to the art ofselling reefer. By his sophomore year, he had been so busy selling marijuana -and skipping classes - he was ready to drop out. "Life is about choices," hesays. "And I made a lot of bad choices."
He left UM, moved back to Baltimore and celebrated his 21st birthday byshooting heroin.
He became hooked and maintained that habit all these years, even whileworking all the jobs listed on his resume.
Some guys are good at that - doing dope while holding a regular job. Loganis confident that, in the 12 years he worked for the framing company, no onesuspected he was a user.
But he's 45 now, and, with this column, he's going public.
So there's no fooling anyone anymore. No more denial. Any prospectiveemployer who gives Darryl Logan a chance is going to know his background.
"I will go into a treatment program tomorrow to get clean," Logan says."But I need a job when I come out."
So here he is - willing to get off the street and get off the long list ofBaltimore heroin users. He's willing to get treatment as the first step towardfinding a job.
If you can help this man, give me a call.
People interested in providing treatment for, or hiring, any of the men andwomen profiled in recent columns can contact Dan Rodricks at 410-332-6166, orby e-mail at email@example.com.