In 1986, I was an unemployed IV drug user, living in New York City with my cocaine-dealer boyfriend. I had dropped out of Columbia University and felt, at 23, that my life was over. My only solaces were heroin and cocaine, but even these were failing to blot out my misery as the consequences of my drug use became increasingly obvious. I was scary-skinny. My complexion was grayish green. I had tracks all over my arms and legs. I had difficulty finding a usable vein.

But I didn’t see any...

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