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Will overdose deaths force an end to the US ‘war on drugs’?

By Jamie Smyth in Philadelphia, Caitlin Gilbert in New York and Christine Murray in Mexico

04 Jan 2022 · 9 min read

Rosalind Pichardo didn’t just get her nickname “Mama Sunshine” because of her cheery disposition. For several hundred drug users in Kensington, a rundown neighbourhood in Philadelphia, she has been their lifeline: bringing each of them back from the edge of death after they overdosed.

“I revived a guy who OD’ed on the street this morning on my way to work,” says Pichardo, speaking matter of factly outside her workplace — Prevention Point — one of the largest needle exchange sites in the US. “Unfortunately, overdoses happen everyday in this neighbourhood.”

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