• “My shoulders was so swollen the stuff would come right back out.”

About ten or so years ago, Tasha, now a fortysomething grandmother and recovering heroin addict, was shot in the calf while looking to pick up on the west side. The bullet hit a major artery, she told me, raising her pant leg to show a fearsome scar, and by the time the ambulance got her to the ER, she’d almost bled to death. She was in a coma for six and a half months, in the hospital for two and a half years. During that time, she became even more addicted to opiates—morphine, Demerol, Tylenol 4.

“I felt like a guinea pig,” she says. “My shoulders was so swollen the stuff would come right back out. My booty cheeks was so swollen up I had to lie on my stomach.”