Addiction in Paris

Collection with 17 media items created by Transterra Editor

18 Apr 2013 07:00

The number of drug addicts in France is difficult to assess. The first problem to look at is defining the addiction, and which products are most common (cocaïne, weed, crack, ecstasy...). The number is believed to be between 150 000 and 300 000. In Paris, a city project named « shoot rooms » is set to open in October where associations helping drug addicts will be able to help and assist roughly 200 drug addicts. But before this opening, in December 2012, I went to meet drug addicts to better understand their day to day life. Lot of them refused to answer questions and being photographed. Only one has accepted to be followed during the day to better understand his life. I met him at CAARUD office, an association helping drug addicts in the La Chapelle area, north of Paris. The area between the La Chapelle subway and the La Chapelle gate, is one of the most important places for drugs use in Paris. Under highways, drug users smoke cocaïne and crack every day, searching for money to pay for their drug use. Philippe is one of them. He is 58 years old and drug addict for more than 20 years.
He would like to quit, but is unable to do it. For Philippe, everyday is the same thing: smoking cocaïne and searching for money to pay for it. Over the months we spent together I better understood what being a drug addict meant. At the beginning of each month, he receives money from his Togolese family. With that money, he pays for a room in a hotel where he stays during one week. His every day is the same. He wakes up, doesn’t eat breakfast. Goes to La Boutique; the center for an association helping drug addicts. He meets other drug addicts at the center and speaks with a social assistant. The association gives Philippe some new crack pipes so that disease contamination can be avoided. He then goes to meet the dealer, buying cocaïne and going back to the hotel to smoke. He sleeps a little bit, eats a burger, and later going back to smoke more.
But after one week Philippe doesn't have enough money to pay the hotel so he has to leave the room. At this time he decides to keep small amount of money he has to buy cocaïne, and everyday he goes to Sleep-in, a drug addicts’ helping association which offers addicts a bed to sleep in. Even if he doesn't like this place because of the violence between drug addicts, he has no choice because he has to sleep there. In order to smoke his cocaine he has to go under highways, or in some squats. After few days he doesn't even have enough money to buy cocaïne. So he sells his mobile phone to the dealer and tries to buy more cocaine.
Philippe is tired of this kind of life. He would like to go in rehabilitation. He has already done so once but he failed at the end and came back in Paris where his demon took him back.
This reportage wasn't easy to do because following a drug addict is quite complicated. Rendez-vous were complicated and I had to search for him during few hours. But Philippe, like lot of drug addicts in Paris, stays in the La Chapelle Area, so I always found him. But one day I didn't. So I went back the day after and many days after that. Finally, he called to tell me that he has been arrested and is now in jail. He doesn't like it but he knows that it's also a kind of rehab, and he hopes not to fail again when he is released.

Photo Essay Colllection Photo Collec... Paris France Europe Drugs Addiction Drug Addiction Cocaine Crack Substance Abuse Drugs Posession

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Drug Addict 1
Paris, France
By Simon Letellier
16 Apr 2013

Philippe is happy to show his new teeth which was paid for by his social insurance.

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Drug Addict 2
Paris, France
By Simon Letellier
05 Mar 2013

Philippe showing his last tooth. Smoking crack and cocaïne destroys the teeth. Most drug addicts suffer from damaged teeth and some have none.

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Drug Addict 3
Paris, France
By Simon Letellier
05 Mar 2013

At the end of the day, Philippe is tired. He didn’t eat anything in the day and he is exhausted.

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Drug Addict 4
Paris, France
By Simon Letellier
05 Mar 2013

At the end of the day, Philippe doesn’t have any more money to pay for his room in a hotel. An association for helping drug addicts helps him by paying for a room. It is freezing outside and he doesn't want to sleep in the streets.

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Drug Addict 5
Paris, France
By Simon Letellier
04 Mar 2013

Philippe smoking cocaïne. He used to smoke it around ten times per day.

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Drug Addict 6
Paris, France
By Simon Letellier
04 Mar 2013

On the bottom of another highway, Philippe is smoking cocaïne in a makeshift shelter built with waste materials found in the area.

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Drug Addict 7
Paris, France
By Simon Letellier
04 Mar 2013

Few minutes after his shoot, Philippe wants one more. But he doesn’t feel secure in this place and decides to move to another one.

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Drug Addict 8
Paris, France
By Simon Letellier
04 Mar 2013

Philippe is quickly high after his shoot.

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Drug Addict 9
Paris, France
By Simon Letellier
04 Mar 2013

Philippe is preparing a shoot below a highway.

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Drug Addict 10
Paris, France
By Simon Letellier
04 Mar 2013

Philippe smoking cocaïne below a highway. This area is full of drug addicts. Dealers are not far from the area, but they stay hidden.

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Drug Addict 12
Paris, France
By Simon Letellier
04 Feb 2013

Philippe is preparing a shoot with a crack pipe and a piece of coke.

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Drug Addict 13
Paris, France
By Simon Letellier
11 Feb 2013

Philippe is preparing a shoot with a crack pipe and a piece of cocaïne

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Drug Addict 14
Paris
By Simon Letellier
16 Apr 2013

Philippe showing a few crack pipes and a small strip used for preparing the cocaïne.

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Drug Addict 15
Paris, France
By Simon Letellier
05 Mar 2013

Even if he feels tired, Philippe wants a last shoot and goes out to try and find some. Outside it’s snowing.

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Drug Addict 16
Paris, France
By Simon Letellier
04 Feb 2013

Smoking cocaïne acts like an appetite suppressant. Drug addicts' nutrition is completly disorganised because of a bad diet.

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Drug Addict 17
Paris, France
By Simon Letellier
16 Apr 2013

Philippe smoking cocaïne at a laundromat.