Officer Tom Merenda talks to John Fager, one of the dozens of residents living in an assisted-living facility in Cannon Point.
Credit Kenny Malone for NPR
There are eight active assisted-living facilities on the U-shaped block of Cannon Point. <a href="http://www.batchgeo.com/map/1b2fdfe8910615f3901d46b4a2a0817b">Click to explore an interactive map</a> of all ALFs in Florida.
The Cannon Point neighborhood of Lauderhill, Fla., was originally conceived as a haven for the middle class elderly back in 1996. City officials did not anticipate that assisted-living facilities for the mentally ill would move in instead.
Credit Danny Rivero for NPR
In the last eight years, the Lauderhill Police Department has had almost 1,300 missing person calls from the Cannon Point neighborhood. Detective Robert Clifford says residents come back 99 percent of the time, but the calls take him away from the other cases he needs to handle.
As states have closed down mental hospitals, they've struggled to find housing for the mentally ill. In Florida, assisted-living facilities have become the de facto solution.
It takes just a high school diploma and 26 hours of training to run one of Florida's mental health assisted-living facilities — that's lower than the state requirements for becoming a beautician, a barber or even an auctioneer.
<p>Medicines, such as Ritalin, commonly prescribed for children with ADHD don't appear to significantly increase cardiovascular risks, according to a new, federally funded analysis.</p>
Children taking stimulant drugs like Ritalin for ADHD aren't at greater risk of having a heart attack or other serious cardiovascular problems, according to new research published online today in the New England Journal of Medicine.
But critics of the widespread use of prescription amphetamines to treat the symptoms of attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder — 2.7 million children are taking the drugs — say this latest study still doesn't give ADHD drugs a clean bill of health.
In 1985, David M. Kennedy visited Nickerson Gardens, a public housing complex in south-central Los Angeles. It was the beginning of the crack epidemic, and Nickerson Gardens was located in what was then one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in America.
"It was like watching time-lapse photography of the end of the world," he says. "There were drug crews on the corner, there were crack monsters and heroin addicts wandering around. ... It was fantastically, almost-impossibly-to-take-in awful."