Addict Heroin: Angel’s Story

Angel counts the money she made while flying her sign. "I hate it. Cause, if I, if I was a normal person, and I saw me on the side of the road, holding a sign. I would be disgusted. Like, what is this young pretty girl doing on the side of the road?" she says while crying.Photo by Joe Amon

Angel counts the money she made while flying her sign. “I hate it. Cause, if I, if I was a normal person, and I saw me on the side of the road, holding a sign. I would be disgusted. Like, what is this young pretty girl doing on the side of the road?” she says while crying.Photo by Joe Amon

A life of panhandling on the streets of Denver is brutal, boring and soul-crushing.
Many of those who do it are long-time substance abusers, caught in a vicious cycle: You wouldn’t stand out there 12 hours a day unless you desperately needed heroin, and then only another dose of heroin would get you through another 12 hours. Angel Gamboeck was one of those stuck in that terrible, seemingly endless circle, for much of the past two years in Denver. A young, once-promising girl from the Wisconsin heartland, she ended up here after a failed move West to seek a new life with her boyfriend.

Photographer Joe Amon walked the streets with Angel in the spring and summer of 2012, witnessing the life of a homeless addict and the challenges of dealing with the drug problem.

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