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An epidemic of addiction to metabolism complicating efforts to help the homeless in LA.




  Tents from the northern side of the Venetian Boulevard under the overpass of the 405 Highway in Los Angeles on this undated photo. (Author: Francis Orr / Los Angeles Times)

Tents on the north side of Venice Boulevard under the 405 Highway Overpass in Los Angeles on this undated photo. (Credits: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

She is devastated by drugs, a young woman who becomes aging too early. Her face was puffy and pierced, her hands were marked by traces of the needle, and an abscess with the size of a kitchen sponge was drifting under thick skin near her elbow. went into a needle exchange program to ask for help. She said she had spent the majority of the previous few weeks living in a car.

"I came here because I want to get clean," said the woman who told me he was using heroin and methamphetamine and almost died a few days ago. overdose of fentanyl. "It's exhaustive, trying to make money to make drugs and then do it again and then get sick."

Take her story and multiply it by the thousands. Addiction and all its effects appear entirely in Los Angeles, where the latest expansion is measured in tents rather than at home. Drugs are a turbulent underground economy with open outdoor visibility and almost a third of homeless people report having either a serious mental illness, a drug abuse problem, or both.

Read the full story at LATimes.com.

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