Teenage Wasteland

It doesn’t matter what time it is. Do you know where your children are? If you live in Plano, one of Texas’ toniest suburbs, they may be strung out on heroin somewhere. Or on trial for distributing it. Or dead.

WHAT STRUCK HIM, HE WOULD later say, was that the boy didn’t look anything like a junkie. Plano Police sergeant Aubrey Paul had driven north along Texas Highway 289, where Plano’s gated communities and mirrored office parks abruptly give way to unruly stretches of buffalo grass, to check out a call he had received the day before from a detective in the neighboring town of Frisco. This was before he knew the full scope of the problem, before his heart would sink when calls like this came in, back when he knew more about heroin from watching The French Connection, he recalled with a half-hearted grin, than he did from his twelve years as a cop. What awaited him in the brick police station in Frisco that day was a jarring revelation: crime scene photographs of a seventeen-year-old who had died of a heroin overdose only a few months after moving there from Plano. Paul studied the photos—an otherwise healthy-looking kid, nude and sprawled across a bathroom floor—and felt a kind of

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