Jimmy and His Needle


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April 13, 1961, Vol. VI, No. 25

‘It Had to Happen’

By Mary Perot Nichols

Last Thursday morning a 21-year-old boy lay dead in his own hallway on Carmine Street. He died of an overdose of narcotics. This is the fifth death from an overdose in this immediate neighborhood in the past three years. All the victims were young men in their early 20’s.

The Voice has learned that narcotics is readily available in the neighborhood and that many persons who frequent the street – not addicts – know where it comes from.

No one knew how long Jimmy (not his real name) had been lying in the hallway. His friends suspect that he was “dumped” there by a companion in the middle of the night. It is against the ethics of the addicted to leave a friend who has had an overdose without first calling an ambulance. One of the local boys said: “When we find out who left Jimmy we’re going to bust his head.”

A 7-year-old girl told this reporter: “Jimmy took some medicine in his arms and legs with a needle – he did it all the time.” Jimmy had been very kind to children – in the park at Carmine Street and Sixth Avenue. He would do things like bring home a tearful youngster who had bumped his head on a swing…

Jimmy’s father was fatalistic. As he walked sadly down the steps the day after his son’s death, this reporter told him she was sorry. He replied: “It had to happen.”

[Each weekday morning, we post an excerpt from another issue of the Voice, going in order from our oldest archives. Visit our Clip Job archive page to see excerpts back to 1956.]