Dope and Trouble

Elliot Currie, Author Pantheon Books $22 (290p) ISBN 978-0-394-56151-6
Nine males and 11 females, ages 14 to 17, frankly and animatedly discuss the patterns of drug and alcohol abuse, family strife and homelessness that have landed them in ``the Hall,'' a public juvenile detention facility. They represent various races, social classes and degrees of education, and hail from three communities: a low-rent area rife with violence and drugs, a blue-collar town and a middle-class suburb. We meet Blaster, who admits that he and his friends beat people up out of boredom; DeWayne, whose mother sold his belongings to buy drugs; Latasha, lured by drug dealing's easy money; Saffron, on the run from a vicious boyfriend. Their streetwise, disillusioned statements reveal a tendency to shrug off danger and pain with humor, a tough demeanor or detachment. Currie ( Confronting Crime ) encourages them to speak about themselves to a world accustomed to media versions of teenagers and, in subsequent essays, proposes aid in the form of substance-abuse programs, quality education and job training . Unfortunately, the practice of inventing generic names for the interviewees and towns subtly flaws their authenticity . (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1992
Release date: 01/01/1992
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