As an adjunct to the documentary Stuck In The Bluff: AIDS, Heroin, and One Group’s Illegal Quest To Save Lives, we have put together an interactive timeline of some of the various historical forces that form the backdrop for the story.
The Bluff – the place and the people — didn’t just happen randomly. Like everything else, history played a complex role. In the Bluff, four particular historical trends converged:
The War on Drugs: the decades-long fight to rein in drug use and to catch and prosecute dealers and users. This war has waxed and waned over the years, shifting back and forth between leaning toward drug rehabilitation and leaning toward law enforcement and police crackdowns.
The HIV/AIDS Crisis: Beginning in the early 1980s, the emergence a new and deadly virus spurred a worldwide medical research effort. It also led to the marginalization of certain people out of fear, misunderstanding, and questions of lifestyle and morality. The fact that the virus was transmitted through blood made certain populations, such as homosexual men and intravenous drug users, particularly vulnerable.
Harm Reduction and Public Health: Starting with the adoption of methadone treatments in the 1960s, attempts were made to reduce the harm caused by addiction — not to condone or to enable, but to help the people whose lives were being wrecked and to protect the broader public from other consequences of their actions. To many people, however, this smacked of helping people who have made bad choices in their lives avoid the consequences of their actions.
The History and Politics of Atlanta: On top of everything else, things like economics, real estate development, police behavior, and political attitudes on the part of Atlantans and their officials helped to shape places like the Bluff.
So take our tour of the various roads that ultimately intersected at the Bluff by clicking on the link.
The Tangled Timeline Of The Bluff