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Heroin Purchased Near Webster Groves Starbucks, Says Drug Counselor

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​Everyone knows you can get a shot of espresso at the Starbucks on Webster Groves' bucolic square -- but it took a parent forum last month at Hixson Middle School to start the rumor that it might be a good place to score some heroin too.

During the forum, which addressed adolescent drug trends, local drug counselor Jean Sokora proclaimed that teenagers could purchase heroin in front of the Starbucks on South Old Orchard, across the street from the Gazebo, near the intersection of Big Bend Boulevard and Lockwood Avenue. The announcement caused a few helicopter moms in the crowd to spin their propellers.

Hang on, you say: there's a heroin problem in a town that boasts one of the highest income rates in the county -- and it's purchased in front of a family-friendly coffee shop, near a handful of schools, next to a gazebo where school children run free?

Whoa back, we say! This doesn't mean you should pack up and move to Clayton. After calling Sokora, we feel obliged to put things in perspective.

First, the fact that heroin is rising in the St. Louis region, including the more affluent neighborhoods of West County, is not breaking news. Last year the Post-Dispatch did a nice job highlighting the trend in a front-page story, which included the relevant stats in a county-by-county chart.

Sokora, who works for Preferred Family Healthcare, a county-wide organization that offers interventions and drug-based treatment to kids in several school districts, tells Daily RFT there were five individual occasions within the past five months in which her organization heard that an adolescent had bought heroin in the vicinity of the Starbucks -- and that she has no direct evidence of such drug deals occurring. What's more, she says, there is no reason to presume drug hand-offs are made directly in front of the coffee shop, for all the little kids to see. (There are several shops in the area; Starbucks is probably the most prominent.)

"I don't want to call Starbucks out," says Sokora. "My point was really that every community has a place where kids gather unsupervised. And in those situations they are more vulnerable to people who may be selling drugs."

Sokora made the comment simply because she wants parents to know heroin is a big deal in Webster, just as it is in nearby towns. But the fact that five people, at some point in time, have bought heroin near the gazebo does not mean the area is a hot spot for drugs, she says.

Still, the Webster Groves Police Department isn't discounting Sokora's claim. "We were made aware of the accusation, and we're looking into it," Captain Stephan Spear tells Daily RFT. "We want to weigh it out and see what relevance there is to it. If there is something there, we will take action."

Starbucks' district manager did not return phone messages seeking comment.


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22 comments
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AlvinPiterson
AlvinPiterson

This section requires an apology to Starbucks in Webster Groves for the loss of activity and as a regular customer, apologized for the regulars who like to see Starbuck in Webster as a social space and comfort.

Online Counseling

Jon Gergeceff
Jon Gergeceff

Excellent article on the rising epidemic in the St. Louis area. This trend has St. Louis county teens going into the city, and the city kids going in the counties ,including al surrounding areas of St. Charles and the Jefferson, Franklin,Washington to buy Heroin. The latest lingo is generally referred to as "beans", sounding more innocent than older terms like "junk, horse, or boy". Dope is dope. What does a heroin addict lok like?? Answer.."The kid next door". best answer. " He or she doesnt look like a heroin addict".I recommend to parents to become familiar with the symptoms of opiate abuse and compare their children or loves one to them. Look for ..dry mouth,constricted pupils,heavy eyelids,avoidance,burned foil,needles,needle wrappersbelts or elastic to tie off with, needle marks on arms, legs, feet and under the tongue. chills and other flu like sxs,sniffles,stealing, increased concern for cash, runniing with a different crowd, loss of interest in school, sports and other activities that they used to enjoy, for more info..please visit and blog on http://www.stlcounselor.com/

Ballsinmydick
Ballsinmydick

BUBUBUYEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!!

PhilipJarosz
PhilipJarosz

Drugs are in every neighborhood rich or poor. Some kids have a lot of disposable income allowances and some kids have part time jobs. There is money to be made from shoveling snow even when the weatherman says it isn't snowing.

Felt
Felt

Is it the snortable kind of heroin? I'd never shoot that shit but I'd like to sniff a little. Anyone know if the snortable kind is sold in the St Louis area? I'm not afraid to venture out in the ghetto every now and then to holler at my boy, feel me?

Mikeytaylor1982
Mikeytaylor1982

You can get the kind you snort $10 each and its the fire too..

Sage
Sage

Check into the overdose deaths in Webster Groves over past 5 years. It's a suburban hell hole. There's a reason 60 Minutes pissed on this hell-hamlet years ago.

spring break 09
spring break 09

People are just now finding out about the heroin activities in Webster Groves? Where have you been the last year and a half? Where are all the stories about the cocaine and marijuana problems?

Mom
Mom

Also the comment about moving to clayton is ridiculous. They're in the same condition as Webster.

guest
guest

Calm down. They weren't saying that Starbucks is an evil place where drug dealers lurk, waiting to corrupt your kids, so they should shut down and everyone should go to Kaldi's instead. The point was that drugs are a problem in Webster, and that Starbucks is just one of many places where drug exchanges have gone down.

This article isn't reporting anything surprising, anyway. No one can deny that a lot of drug activity happens in Old Orchard.

Joe Schmoe
Joe Schmoe

The heroin helps take the edge off the Ritalin or Adderall.

Jessica
Jessica

Wow. First off, I'd like to point out your incorrect grammar. "...the Webster Groves polices isn't discounting Sokora's claim...". Isn't is not correct, it should be aren't. This whole article should not have mentioned the Starbucks at all, instead they should have pointed out that it is the gazebo. The people who work at that Starbucks are the sweetest and most professional people. By mentioning that Starbucks, you are putting them at risk. It's not like drugs are a knew thing to Webster anyway. I know for a fact you can get marijuana by the gazebo, but Heroin? really? Honestly, I think all of this was started by a student at Hixion who saw some sort of "sketchy" transaction go down near the Starbucks and assumed it was a Heroin deal. Then I'm sure he or she told their mother who of course freaked out. This is probably closer to the truth than Heroin actually being sold at that location. Trust me, I know all kinds of people from all different walks of life and I happen to go to Nerinx Hall, which is RIGHT by that Starbucks.

Janet
Janet

Actually the grammar is completely correct.  The Webster Groves Police Department is a single entity so it is okay to use isn't.  It's like saying "it" isn't...the "it" being the police department.

guest
guest

It's not like drugs are a knew thing to Webster anyway.

haha- not "knew", "NEW"

guest
guest

this article makes everyone from webster look like shit. THANKS ALOT RFT! outing an entire city whom happens to be a part of your readership = stellar marketing strategy. take it from someone who actually LIVES in Webster and is familiar with the people this article is referring to, its a group of about 10 out of the 30,000 inhabitants. and don't kid yourself Mr. John Tucker, you can score drugs on any street corner in the United States. just ask your kids. this story isn't anything anybody didn't already know, probly should get some new ideas. #nocredit #treated

WebsterustudentandResident
WebsterustudentandResident

To the first guest- Fights have always happened there and there is not one specific cause for them, it could be drugs, sex, social status, or gossip.Overall, drugs in general have been an issue in Saint Louis County for a long time and has effected youth in Webster since as early as the 1960s. Starbucks just happens to be a place that people of all ages can grab a cup of coffee and socialize. It's an easy target, but regardless of if there is a Starbucks or not, kids will still find ways of getting drugs in public. This article demands an apology to the Starbucks in Webster Groves for any loss of business and as a regular customer, an apology to the regulars who like to see the Starbuck in Webster as a social and comforting place to enjoy a cup of coffee and relax. This is not an issue of a specific business, but that of a section of Webster Groves. Many kids will say "I'm going to Starbucks, McDonalds, Imos, the Gazebo", but in the end, it's a very small area and can be a general assumption. If these deals are occurring, to quote, "in the vicinity of the Starbucks", that does not mean in the business, by the staff, or that it is tolerated by the people in the business. It could be right outside, in the park, anywhere. All we know is that it is happening and that people want to blame someone. when they don't have specific people, they blame the area. Don't blame my area, and don't blame me as a regular for supplying your kids with with drugs because I do no such things. Open your eyes and start looking at the kids before you blame a business.

Richard Gozinya
Richard Gozinya

But seriously, when can we meet up so I can score some horse. I get out of day care at noon tomorrow.

WebsterustudentandResident
WebsterustudentandResident

Starbucks is an easy scapegoat. The staff there knows the kids that hang around there and kicks them off the premisses generally immediately. I've seen this influence for 5 years now, so why is it a shock. Not only is this article a damper on Starbucks' business, apologies to Tucker, but this is not going to change any of the drug problems in Webster, or anywhere in Saint Louis Country for that matter. It sends out a scare to parents that is not necessary. I have hung out there since I was a young adolescent and have had no one offer me any drugs for that matter. It's great to recognize and expose the drug issues in Saint Louis County, but adding a business label in a very specific location is down right low. Look across the street and you can find a steady supply of anything. Not to mention, no adolescent is being offered generally. They are asking for it directly or have friends who do it and are seeking it out in their favorite hang out spaces. Just like meeting a "friend" for coffee, they are meeting a dealer for Heroine. To those who have commented before me, Kitty- stop gossiping, it's childish and sinking just as low by naming businesses. I assure you that the staff there does not sell drugs, i know the staff.Continued....

None
None

anywhere in webster is a drug run. you guys are morons

guest
guest

There have been a few fights of teenagers that the police have had to break up lately as well. I wonder if they're related.

KittyLitterKing
KittyLitterKing

I heard the sales clerks at the Ben Franklin store around the corner are drug mules, too.

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