Make no mistake, at first glance these images make for extremely uncomfortable and confronting viewing.
Heroin devastatingly affects one person, one family, and one community at a time. Those who suffer from addiction are just like everyone else, except each and every day is a challenge. Every moment is clouded with thoughts and anxieties about where they’ll get their next fix.
They have stories that no one longs to tell, but their appearance is what often gives that story away. Sometimes, within just weeks or months after taking the drug, their bodies are gaunt, their faces are pitted and many are toothless.
Tragically, somewhere in route to their hopes and dreams, they became imprisoned by heroin use and had their entire lives marred by addiction.
Between 2006 and 2012, the Department of Health and Human Services reported that new heroin users in the United States rose from 90,000 to more than 156,000. This rise is attributed to the recent crackdown on prescription painkillers, which often produce similar effects as heroin, as well as the fact that the deadly drug has become easier and cheaper to acquire than those prescriptions.
Their downfalls are cautionary tales that, hopefully, can prevent others from ever using drugs.
Many of the faces of heroin-addiction featured in the slideshow above are from a 48-minute documentary called From Drugs to Mugs, created by Deputy Bret King to show the horrific effects of drug use.
Heroin addiction may be difficult to overcome, but with professional treatment and the support of loved ones, it can be possible.