If you have never experienced addiction, it can be hard to understand what people really go through. It is easy to blame addicts, but no one wakes up one day wanting to be addicted. They face battles everyday. And so to those around them.
A study from 2010 shows that over 23.5 million Americans are addicted to drugs and alcohol. But only 1 in 10 Americans receives the treatment they need. And as of 2014, there were only around 14,000 treatment centers nationwide, not enough compared to the size of the problem.
Longtime residents in the City of Merced are quick to comment on the rapid decay seen in some neighborhoods around town. The blight -- often a result of drug use and related activities -- is concentrated in South Merced, near Highway 99 where many of the city’s low-income and minority communities have historically lived.
“If you don’t know about 16th Street, that’s where all the prostitutes are, that’s where everything that you don’t ever want your children to see, happens,” Anna said.