Hidden Addiction
Project info

Portraits of women battling drug addiction in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

I had been documenting the devastating effect the heroin trade was having on local populations in East Africa. During visits to the drug dens I began to wonder where the women were? I questioned, whether women perhaps didn’t use drugs in the same way.

I made contact with an international NGO~ Medicins Du Monde (Doctors of the World) who work with drug users in Dar Es Salaam. They affirmed that there were in fact many female drug users and they were reaching out to them in a separate program.

Many women face too much stigma in their community as drug users and more than often, sex work goes hand in hand. Working and taking drugs from the privacy of their homes would hide them from humiliation and abuse. Others simply lived too far from MDM’s drop in centre which offers daily help to drug users. MDM therefore devised a program to travel right to the doors of these women in Dar es Salaams informal settlements. Condoms, HIV counseling, clean needles and help is offered. Whilst some declined to be photographed others gave full permission to have their portraits taken.

All women (apart from one) pictured are either smokers or injectors of heroin.