Cheap drugs and court decisions created today’s Skid Row

A long line of homeless encampments line a street along downtown LA’s Skid Row, June 15, 2021. Photo by Teun Voeten/Sipa USA via Reuters Connect.

Skid Row has long been the epicenter of LA’s struggle to help unhoused people and is now emblematic of the crisis in many West Coast cities. There, rows of tents and tarps line the streets, trash spill into traffic, and residents openly use drugs. Overdoses and tent fires can also happen.

Journalist Sam Quinones looks at what created today’s Skid Row: a series of court decisions, the evaporation of mental health services, and a growing scourge of cheap and highly-addictive drugs.



  • Sam Quinones - journalist and author of “The Least of Us: True Tales of America and Hope in the Time of Fentanyl and Meth” - @samquinones7