Tag Archives: Heroin Addiction

Expressway to Disease

“Who knows what I’ve injected into my body,” said heroin addict John Lee as he drew a fresh batch of heroin into his rig.

John Lee draws heroin into his syringe while standing on an overpass above the Eisenhower Expressway in Chicago, October 15, 2014

John Lee draws heroin into his syringe while standing on an overpass above the Eisenhower Expressway in Chicago, October 15, 2014

Having realized that he had forgotten to bring water, John frantically rummaged through discarded containers, searching for any remaining droplets of liquid in which to cook his freshly purchased heroin.

John Lee looking through a pile of garbage for empty containers.

John Lee looking through garbage for empty containers. The garbage is located next to a pile of fresh human feces.

John found two containers which still had a little liquid in them.

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John decided to use what was left in the Gatorade bottle.

 John Lee Draws Gatorade into his syringe. 

John Lee Draws Gatorade into his syringe.

In the past, I’ve watched John go so far as to draw muddy water from a puddle in order to dissolve his heroin. I am a strong advocate for more harm reduction programs which help encourage “Any Positive Change.”

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A Reason NOT To Do Heroin: Abscess Update

One of the most horrifying things that I have encountered during the past 18 months of working my heroin documentary project, has been witnessing the severe abscesses many heroin addicts develop. Many long-term heroin users acquire these infections through the repeated use of the same needles, as well as from using dirty water to cook their heroin.

Punchie is one of several addicts whom I’ve come to know, who has developed several serious abscesses. Punchie is only 49 years old, and could now quite possibly need to have his leg removed. According to Punchie, doctors think the infection has now reached into his bone.

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - OCTOBER 11, 2014 - Long-time heroin addict, Punchie, laments over the possibility of having to have his leg removed, due to the serious abscesses which he has now developed.

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – OCTOBER 11, 2014 – Long-time heroin addict, Punchie, laments over the possibility of having to have his leg removed, due to the serious abscesses which he has now developed.

And yet… Punchie continues to inject heroin into the same leg, like some wounded animal that gnaws at its own limb in an attempt to free itself from the pains and shackles of life.

Sometimes I walk the streets for hours in a daze after visiting Punchie. I just can’t get my mind around it.

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Contemplation

John Lee contemplating while at Punchie’s house. K-Town, Chicago, 10-7-2014[/caption]
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John Lee: Then, and Now…

I’ve been spending a considerable amount of time with heroin addict, John Lee, lately. I really like John as a person, and it truly hurts watching him deteriorate.

The first shot was taken Thanksgiving morning, 2013. The other was taken just a few weeks back. John recently came close to death with a blood infection that was raging through his body, due to needles which were broken off in his flesh.

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Heroin Addiction is a Life of Grime

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - SEPTEMBER 2, 2014 - Heroin addicts often find refuge in and around abandoned houses. This house is located in K-Town, and is a regular spot where addicts stop to inject after purchasing their heroin.

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – SEPTEMBER 2, 2014 – Heroin addicts often find refuge in and around abandoned houses. This house is located in K-Town, and is a regular spot where addicts stop to inject after purchasing their heroin.

It is not uncommon for junkies to use dirty water to cook their heroin in. It’s absolutely frightening watching someone draw nasty water into their syringe from some discarded container found at the bottom of a stairwell.

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Heroin Addiction: Only Two Endings…

I looked at John Lee as he plunged a needle deep into his groin, and I said, “you know John, there are only two endings to this story; one where you get clean and straighten out your life, and another where you die. He briefly looked up from what he was doing and replied, “you know what? you’re absolutely right.”

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - SEPTEMBER 1, 2014 - John Lee, recovering from a blood infection which caused by a broken needle that was in his foot, sleeps on Hepatitis Boulevard.

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – SEPTEMBER 1, 2014 – John Lee, recovering from a serious blood infection that was caused by a broken needle in his foot, sleeps on Hepatitis Boulevard.

It’s very sad watching someone slowly kill themselves.

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Junkie Shit – #274

Junkie Shit – #274 – Lower Wacker, #Chicago – Fall, 2013 – Minolta 202, Tri-X EI 800, Stand Development -[/caption]
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