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Joette: Hunts Point, Bronx | by Chris Arnade
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Joette: Hunts Point, Bronx

"At the beginning, when you first start shooting up, you lie to yourself, but over time you can't. Would I like to change? Sure, but I am afraid its part of who I am." -- Joette

 

Joette, 56 and from Tennessee, lives with Tiffany in a small one bedroom apartment in a drug infested building. Both are addicts and sex workers. Joette started shooting up dope and using crack back in her early twenties to "try and escape the beating I was taking from my husband."

 

When I asked her when she started sex work she replied, "As soon as I developed a taste for crack. Thats the way it works, as soon as you like crack you sell yourself, your dignity just goes right out the door." She looked serious, then started laughing, "Well it was a lot easier when I was young, finding someone to buy what I was selling."

 

She was clean for twelve years, up till last March. Her second husband, an addict himself, passed around then. "I was lonely, tired, and bored. Loneliness was the biggest reason I started drugs again. I am HIV positive. I worry that now that I am back on drugs I won't take care of it, and myself."

 

When I asked her how she wanted to be described she said, "Someone who has to imagine the future is brighter, cause somethings got to change. I was not happy clean and I ain't happy now."

 

More on Addiction: Faces of Addiction

 

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Taken on August 7, 2012