Natalie, 41, grew up in a strict Italian Catholic family in Westchester. From the age of 15, when she first faced criminal charges, she has been "messed up with heroin and crack." As we walked around Hunts Point she showed me pictures of her grown son, now in college, who was raised by her parents. She happily described him as a "wonderful, straight geek, the smartest, best kid a mother could hope for."
Now on methadone, she told many stories of the "hell that comes with drugs." A few years ago, after a long week of drugs, she was at the end. Her friend, who she shot up with, was HIV positive. She took the needle, withdrew his blood, and injected herself. "I wanted to kill myself with AIDS. How f**ked up is that? I woke up from that and said 'Natalie, you have hit the bottom.'" She has Hepatitis C, but not AIDS.
Captions provided by New York Photographer Chris Arnade.
Flickr ProfileFlickr: Faces of Addiction
Follow Arnade on Twitter: @Chris_arnade
Check out more of his projects at urbanfolkartstudios.blogspot.com