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Unwelcome guests take drugs, leave needles

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Forget about drug dens — vestibules are the new place to shoot up in Sheepshead Bay.

Residents living in mostly four-family homes on E. 22nd Street complain that young addicts are shooting up and huffing codeine in the unlocked lobbies of their buildings, and say their illicit activities have increased larcenies and robberies on the block. Locals fear it will only get worse unless their landlords take action.

“I walked in on them in the hallway one time,” said Brian Brady, who lives on the block between Avenues W and X. “The concern is that whenever they’re high on drugs, you don’t know what they’re capable of.”

Many of the four-family homes on that E. 22nd Street block have vestibules, where the outer doors are unlocked to allow postmen to deliver mail at the resident’s boxes within.

But drug users in the area have taken advantage of these vestibules, turning them into seedy drug dens, before littering the streets outside with their used needles, according to Brady.

“There have been many occasions where people come in and there are kids in the vestibules doing drugs and leaving behind needles,” he said.

Aside from shooting up, the kids’ nasty habits have turned towards an unsavory pastime called “smoking blues” a method of huffing the prescription pain-killer Oxycodone, done by placing crushed pills on tinfoil, heating it from below with a lighter, and then inhaling the vapors that rise off the drug.

“They light the pill under the tinfoil and then smoke it up,” said Brady.

The landlord who owns Brady’s building has recently moved the mail boxes from the vestibule to the outside of the building, allowing the outer doors to be locked, essentially eliminating the problem at that building. But other buildings with similar vestibules have not made the switch, and the problem will likely continue there until that changes, according to another resident of the block, who asked that his name be withheld.

“They’re not protecting their tenants. I’ve been having arguments, with them, asking ‘why don’t you put your mailbox outside and lock the door?’ ” he said. “Then you’ll have peace of mind and know you’re safe.”

Meanwhile, Council candidate and Flatbush Shomrim founder Chaim Deutsch presided over an emergency block meeting held on E. 22nd Street on Sunday evening, where he tapped into his Shomrim experience to provide some tips for the locals.

“He got involved and gave us some tips, told us to post no-trespassing signs, get some more lighting, move the locks to the outside, and get the post office involved to get a lock box,” said Brady.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4514.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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