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Chicago Artist Spends Two Years Collecting Almost 9,000 Drug Bags to Highlight City’s Drug Problem

32-year-old Ben Kurstin, of Humboldt Park, Chicago, has 8,816 dime bags in his apartment, but he’s no drug dealer. The aspiring artist and filmmaker has been collecting drug bags in virtually every color and design imaginable off the streets of Chicago and using them as an art medium.

It all started one day, a couple of years ago, when Ben Kurstin noticed a discarded dime bag on a sidewalk in Humboldt Park, and decided to pick it up out of curiosity. From that point on, whenever he saw drug bags on the street, he would pick them up and take them home. Soon, his unusual habit became an obsession, to the point where he would search for the bags and come home with dozens , sometimes even hundreds of them, every day. He then spent hours cleaning and organizing them by color and design. At one point, he even started thinking of a rational explanation, should police one day stop him, thinking he was a drug dealer.

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