Did Omar Little die of lead poisoning? Would a decriminalization strategy like the one in Hamsterdam end the War on Drugs? What will it take to save neglected kids like Wallace and Dukie? Tapping into 'The Wire' uses the acclaimed television series as a road map for exploring connections between inner-city poverty and drug-related violence. Past Baltimore City health commissioner Peter Beilenson teams up with former Baltimore Sun reporter Patrick A. McGuire to deliver a compelling, highly readable examination of urban policy and public health issues affecting cities across the nation. Each chapter recounts scenes from episodes of the HBO series, placing the characters' challenges into the broader context of public policy.
A candid interview with the show's co-creator David Simon reveals that one of the intentions of the series is to expose gross failures of public institutions, including criminal justice, education, labor, the news media, and city government. Even if readers haven't seen the series, the book's detailed summaries of scenes and characters brings them up to speed and engages them in both the story and the issues. With a firm grasp on the hard truths of real-world problems, Tapping into 'The Wire' helps undo misconceptions and encourage a dialogue of understanding.
Peter L. Beilenson, M.D., M.P.H., is the CEO of Evergreen Health Cooperative. He served as health officer of Howard County, Maryland, from 2007 to 2012 and as Baltimore City Health Commissioner from 1992 to 2005. Patrick A. McGuire is a journalist with more than twenty years of experience, fourteen of which were at the Baltimore Sun.
Foreword: A Conversation with David Simon, Creator of The Wire, by Patrick A. McGuire1. The New Public Health Crisis: Wallace's World2. Heroin Central: The Street Life of Bubbles, Marlo, and Johnny3. Losing the War on Drugs: The Pit versus the Police4. Medicalize or Legalize: Hamsterdam5. Needle Exchange and the AIDS Dilemma: Sticking It to "the Bug"6. Treatment on Demand as a Strategy: Walon's Success Story7. School Performance and the MIA Parent: The Tragedy of Dukie's Education8. Teenage Pregnancy and STDs: Shardene's Escape9. Firepower: Snoop's Beretta, Avon's Heckler, and Omar's Mossberg10. Place Matters: Why Didn't Bodie Just Leave?11. Of Paint and Guns: Did Omar Die of Lead Poisoning?12. Obese Yet Malnourished: The Weighty Contradiction of Prop Joe13. Public Health and Politics: The Promise and Peril of Tommy CarcettiEpilogue: Learning from The Wire: Practicing Politics to Practice MedicineCast of CharactersNotesIndex