Man living on Fresno streets to help people with addiction

EMBED </>More Videos

Jack "Cigarette Jack" Carter lives on one of the most dangerous streets in Fresno-- by choice. To help the mentally ill and those addicted to drugs. (KFSN)

His methods are unorthodox-- and it starts with a cigarette.

"It's a way of engaging them. It's a way of introduction of getting them over," said Jack "Cigarette Jack" Carter, Downtown Fresno.

Carter lives on one of the most dangerous streets in Fresno-- by choice. To help the mentally ill and those addicted to drugs.

"Almost everybody in this community in one form or another uses," said Carter.

When it comes to street drugs he knows them all-- from black tar heroin to the synthetic opioid fentanyl.

"Fentanyl, China White, is much more purified, refined extract. And so thus it's stronger and it's catching them by surprise. Especially your long term heroin addicts that were doing black tar for so long-- they're not used to that," said Carter.

On Tuesday, federal, state, and local agents seized more than four pounds of heroin laced with ketamine and fentanyl. Sheriff Margaret Mims said it is the first time they have seen fentanyl being trafficked to Fresno County.

A drug so dangerous, to handle it, investigators wore hazmat suits.

"They don't touch it, they don't breathe it in. Because if they do it could be fatal," said Mims.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse said fentanyl is a man made opiod 100 times more powerful than morphine.

Flindt Anderson, of Parents and Addicts In Need, said it's tasteless and odorless. And when cut with drugs like heroin it goes undetected.

"The people that have died from this don't even realize they've ingested as much. And they're probably dead before they hit the ground."

Carter is not blind to the horrific effects of the drug.

"After watching it for about a couple of years I just couldn't watch it anymore. You know, I had to do something."

Carter won't tell us how he got here but tells us why he's staying-- to give people a safe place to use.

"Same concept behind needle exchange. You're not going to stop it. So make it safer. Make it easier. Make it better. Enabling? Nah. Reducing harm."

The ultimate goal? Get people into recovery. Carter said so far he has helped almost a dozen. But with more lethal drugs coming to the area he said it is only going to get harder to help.

Related Topics:
societydrug addictionfresnodrug bustFresno - Downtown
(Copyright ©2017 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

Load Comments