The Bluff: Channel 2 goes into Georgia’s biggest heroin market

The Bluff: Channel 2 goes into Georgia’s biggest heroin market 
Link: http://www.wsbtv.com/news/the-bluff-heroin-market/

It’s an old story. But in this case, that is the story. The story focuses on one neighborhood, but affects virtually every community in metro Atlanta.

For weeks, Channel 2 Action News has patrolled the streets of the area called The Bluff, about a half mile from the Georgia World Congress Center, roughly a mile from the new Atlanta stadium construction site. And interviews with police, users and others establish not only that it may be the worst heroin trap—an open air drug market—in the Southeast, but that it has been that way for years.

http://media.cmgdigital.com/shared/img/photos/2014/07/14/b5/af/Bluff_Neighborhood.jpg

Channel 2 investigative reporter Mark Winne and a team of Channel 2 Action News journalists spent countless hours in the Bluff, driving and walking the streets, talking to residents and riding with police in undercover operations.

English Avenue and Vine City neighborhoods in the shadow of the Georgia Dome have failed to see significant economic improvement despite receiving millions in assistance over the years.

Winne also talked to people involved in the illicit trade, including two young users locked up in the Fulton County Jail.

“Who are most of the heroin buyers in the Bluff?” Winne asked one of them. “Suburban Atlanta users,” was the reply.

“And you’re one of them?”

“I am.”

RAW VIDEO: Inmates talk about heroin in the Bluff:

Winne went one-on-one with Atlanta Police Chief George Turner about the area, where the chief revealed he’d made his first undercover buy as a young officer close to three decades ago. For web-exclusive raw video of the

RAW VIDEO: Chief George Turner:

We met Priscilla Joseph, a chef who recently moved into the area, and, as a resident, spoke movingly of both her concerns and hopes for the Bluff.

RAW VIDEO: Resident talks about the Bluff

July 30, 2013 Atlanta: Vine City homes July 30, 20131.  English Avenue and Vine City neighborhoods, in the shadow of the Georgia Dome, have failed to see significant economic improvement despite receiving millions in assistance over the years.   BRANT SANDERLIN / BSANDERLIN@AJC.COM

One of the most stunning images our crew encountered during their weeks of investigation came during an encounter with the Atlanta Harm Reduction Coalition. A bucket filled with used syringes collected in just one day.

And one of the most comprehensive outside perspectives came from recently retired DEA Special Agent Ted Golden, who says when he arrived at DEA’s Atlanta office in 1990, the Bluff was already the biggest heroin trap in the Southeast. And today?

“Still the Bluff,” he said.

Raw video of Ted Golden’s interview: