Addiction Hits Close to Home for Baltimore Police Boss


Nicole Sesker sleeps in vacant Baltimore buildings and sells her body to buy heroin, living from trick to trick and fix to fix while dodging police officers who chase her from the street corners.”I’m a survivor,” said Ms. Sesker, a petite 36-year-old, tells the New York Times. “I’m out here surviving.”

In Baltimore, where the drug trade has brought one of the highest murder rates in the country, her story might not seem remarkable except for one detail: the stepfather who raised her from age 3 is the city’s police commissioner, Leonard D. Hamm. For nearly two decades Mr. Hamm has struggled with his stepdaughter’s addiction. He helped her find work, housing and rehabilitation only to see her lapse. He has concluded that she will find the strength to change only after she sinks lower. “When she gets sick and tired of being sick and tired, I’ll be there for her,” Mr. Hamm said. “She’s not there yet.” In his first interview about his stepdaughter, Hamm said he decided to speak to dramatize the depth of the drug problem in Baltimore and to underscore the need for new strategies.


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