What is Skid Row? The dark side of drugs as told through the ravaged streets of Los Angeles

What is Skid Row? The dark side of drugs as told through the ravaged streets of Los Angeles

VicesSeptember 07, 2018

Photographer Jae C. Hong spent a night on the streets of L.A. to show the world what's really going wrong.

photo - smoking crystal meth

D. J. Meek, a 40-year-old homeless drug addict, smokes crystal meth Friday, Sept. 8, 2017, in the Skid Row area of downtown Los Angeles. Meeks' veins are collapsed due to chronic use of heroin. He said talking to himself makes him unemployable. The latest nationwide homeless count shows that 4 of every 10 people living on the street are severely mentally ill or have a serious drug addiction. //photo Jae C. Hong, AP
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photo - intravenous drug use

Homeless drug addict Andrew Hudson, 33, reacts as he injects himself with heroin next to an angel statue Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017, in the Skid Row area of downtown Los Angeles. "It's miserable quitting, or trying - trying anything," said Hudson. Skid Row is home to thousands of chronically homeless people on the edge of the downtown. No one shares the same story how they ended up in the center of poverty and despair. The streets are ruled by drugs day and night. Help exists, but too many turn to drugs to cope with their problems. //photo Jae C. Hong, AP
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photo - homeless drug use

Two homeless drug addicts inject themselves with heroin in the Skid Row area of downtown Los Angeles Monday, Nov. 6, 2017. The man on the right, who has been doing drugs everyday since January, said it was a nightmare trying to quit. "If we could stop, we would, you know. But you get sick." the addict said. "I have a daughter now in Alabama. I just had a granddaughter I may never see." //photo Jae C. Hong, AP
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photo - homelessness - drug addiction

A homeless drug addict twists his body while sitting on a sidewalk Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017, in the Skid Row area of downtown Los Angeles. The latest nationwide homeless count shows that 4 of every 10 people living on the street are severely mentally ill or have a serious drug addiction. //photo Jae C. Hong, AP
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photo - using meth

A homeless drug addict, who said his name is Barbie, smokes crystal meth in his tent Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017, in downtown Los Angeles. The latest nationwide homeless count shows that 4 of every 10 people living on the street are severely mentally ill or have a serious drug addiction. //photo Jae C. Hong, AP
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photo - Skid Row - Los Angeles

A homeless man wobbles back and forth tearing a cardboard box into pieces Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017, in the Skid Row area of downtown Los Angeles. Skid Row is home to thousands of chronically homeless people. No one shares the same story how they ended up in the center of poverty and despair. The streets are ruled by drugs day and night. Help exists, but too many turn to drugs to cope with their problems. //photo Jae C. Hong, AP
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photo - what is Skid Row?

Los Angeles County Coroners investigator Kelli Blanchard looks around a tent where the body of 33-year-old homeless man Andrew Withrow was found Monday, Sept. 11, 2017, in the Skid Row area of downtown Los Angeles. The latest nationwide homeless count shows that 4 of every 10 people living on the street are severely mentally ill or have a serious drug addiction. //photo Jae C. Hong, AP
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photo - homeless drug use - Skid Row

Bearing cuts all over his face, a homeless drug addict, who said his name is April Jane, aimlessly stares into space on a sidewalk in the Skid Row area of downtown Los Angeles, Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017. No one shares the same story how they ended up in the center of poverty and despair. The streets are ruled by drugs day and night. Help exists, but too many turn to drugs to cope with their problems. //photo Jae C. Hong, AP
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photo - homeless nap - Skid Row

Three homeless people take a nap on a sidewalk in the Skid Row area of downtown Los Angeles Monday, Nov. 6, 2017. Skid Row is home to thousands of chronically homeless people. No one shares the same story how they ended up in the center of poverty and despair. The streets are ruled by drugs day and night. Help exists, but too many turn to drugs to cope with their problems. //photo Jae C. Hong, AP
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photo - alcoholism - homeless Skid Row population

Using a teddy bear named Michelle as a pillow, Manuel Martinez, a 45-year-old homeless day laborer originally from Mexico, falls asleep on a sidewalk in the Skid Row area of downtown Los Angeles, Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017. Martinez said he has been an alcoholic for more than a decade. //photo Jae C. Hong, AP
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photo - homeless tent - Skid Row - Los Angeles

Wearing a pair of American flag socks, homeless Stafford Wilson, 48, stands in front of his tent while dancing to music Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017, in the Skid Row area of downtown Los Angeles. Skid Row is home to thousands of chronically homeless people. No one shares the same story how they ended up in the center of poverty and despair. The streets are ruled by drugs day and night. Help exists, but too many turn to drugs to cope with their problems. //photo Jae C. Hon, AP
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photo - homelessness-mental illness- drug addiction

A mentally-ill homeless woman talks into the air in Spanish while sitting in a tree naked Friday, Nov. 3, 2017, in Santa Ana, Calif. A passing homeless man, who said he had seen her in a tree a few times before, tossed some clothes to help her cover herself, but she declined his offer. The latest nationwide homeless count shows that 4 of every 10 people living on the street are severely mentally ill or have a serious drug addiction. //photo Jae C. Hong, AP
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photo - mentally ill homeless - Los Angeles

A mentally-ill homeless woman cries out while holding a pay phone after running through several blocks of downtown Los Angeles, yelling and screaming Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017. The woman, who said her name was Kara Miller when asked in September, is a Skid Row resident. Wandering around the streets where drugs rule, Miller talks to herself almost always and occasionally screams and curses as if seeing a ghost. //photo Jae C. Hong, AP
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photo - Homeless man - Jack Harten

Homeless man Jack Harten breaks down as he listens to gospel music while drinking beer on a sidewalk across the street from the Midnight Mission Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2017, in Los Angeles. Harten said he drinks about 12 cans of beer daily. "I'm tired of drinking," he said, sobbing. Help exists, but too many turn to drugs to cope with their problems. //photo Jae C. Hong, AP
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photo - homeless man sleeps - Skid Row

A mentally ill homeless woman walks past a man sleeping on a sidewalk in the Skid Row area of downtown Los Angeles, Friday, Sept. 1, 2017. The latest nationwide homeless count shows that 4 of every 10 people living on the street are severely mentally ill or have a serious drug addiction. //photo Jae C. Hong, AP
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photo - Homeless man and paramedics - Skid Row - LA

Homeless man Moody Tanksley, 61, is surrounded by paramedics as he refuses medical treatment after dialing 911 twice by himself Monday, Nov. 13, 2017, in Los Angeles. The latest nationwide homeless count shows that 4 of every 10 people living on the street are severely mentally ill or have a serious drug addiction. //photo Jae C. Hong, AP
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photo - homelessness and drug use

A homeless woman hunches over on a sidewalk while her partner smokes rock cocaine Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017, in the Skid Row area of downtown Los Angeles. Skid Row is home to thousands of chronically homeless people. No one shares the same story how they ended up in the center of poverty and despair. The streets are ruled by drugs day and night. Help exists, but too many turn to drugs to cope with their problems. //photo Jae C. Hong, AP
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photo - Jesus Loves You - banner - Skid Row

Samuel Raymond, 50, holds up a banner saying "Jesus Loves You" on a sidewalk as a passing homeless man reaches into a trash can in search of anything of value Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017, in the Skid Row area of downtown Los Angeles. "The Lord is my shelter," said Raymond, who has been homeless for nearly 20 years. //photo Jae C. Hong, AP

[cover photo Jae C. Hong, AP // originally published May 15, 2018]