Members of the Philadelphia’s Narcotics Strike Force and Intensive Drug Investigation Squad accompanied 17 new assistant district attorneys on a tour last week of the city’s drug hot spots. The tour, organized by the District Attorney’s Office, is an annual event to help sensitize the new prosecutors to the city’s ills and to allow them to understand the lives of people they may later see in court. “This is crazy, this is insane. This is worse than a Third World country,” said prosecutor Emeka Igwe, 25.
The prosecutors saw two men get arrested for drug dealing on a street corner. Earlier, District Attorney Lynne Abraham and Mel Wells, president of One Day at a Time Inc., which offers drug-treatment services, spoke to the prosecutors and about 65 members of the drug-rehabilitation program. “I go to the morgue a lot,” Abraham said. “I see dead people. Who are the dead people? Young black men,” many who have died of gunshot wounds. A parolee encouraged the prosecutors to understand life on the street. Prosecutor Kirsten Heine, 33, said the talk was one of the most powerful moments of the tour. “It’s always interesting to hear someone go through a struggle and talk about their experience and to show people a way to get out,” she said.