SILVER SPRING, MD, USA - JAN 11, 2013 :
Alex holds a locket containing her mother's ashes. Alex's mother Mary hanged herself when Alex was 17-years-old. She had to identify the body at the police station. Alex says that after her mother's death, she ramped up her drug use significantly, blaming herself for her mother's suicide. Her father became addicted to crack and left the family when Alex was a child. She hasn't seen him since, but is still searching for him. His last known whereabouts were in Northern Ohio.
Heroin is a huge industry in Baltimore, as it is in many post-industrial towns and cities in the United States. It has seen a huge resurgence in popularity over the last decade, due in great measure to the availability of prescription opioids like oxycontin, which is often a gateway drug.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, in 2002, 100 people per 100,000 were addicted to heroin but that number had doubled by 2013. Rates of addiction in the Northeastern United States have increased dramatically, only slightly outpaced by addiction rates in the Midwest, with the highest addiction increases being reported amongst 18-25-year-olds. The rate of heroin-related overdose deaths increased 286 percent between 2002 and 2013.
This photograph was unposed and undirected by the photographer.