• In Heroin's Grip: Melissa's syringe

    In Heroin's Grip: Melissa's syringe

    Long time heroin user "Melissa" holds a syringe loaded with heroin, her brother "Al" just prepared it for her to shoot into her veins, in an abandoned building in Paterson on a freezing cold morning.

  • In Heroin's Grip: transaction

    In Heroin's Grip: transaction

    Two men make an exchange on the sidewalk near the corner of Auburn St. and Godwin Ave., an area in Paterson's 4th Ward where drugs are commonly bought and sold, often out in the open.

  • In Heroin's Grip

    In Heroin's Grip

    Homeless heroin user "Al" wheels a bicycle towards an abandoned building he and his sister Melissa shoot-up heroin they just bought in Paterson's 4th Ward. "Abandominiums" are where many users go to do heroin, out of sight from police and neighbors. In 2014, there were 1,200 abandoned properties in teh city of Paterson.

  • In Heroin's Grip: Al

    In Heroin's Grip: Al

    Long time heroin user "Al" uses a hypodermic needle to shoot heroin into his veins in an abandoned building in Paterson's 4th Ward. Many of Paterson's heroin addicts seek "abandos" to use drugs, out of sight from residents and police, despite the dangerous and filthy conditions.

  • In Heroin's Grip

    In Heroin's Grip

    Long time heroin user "Al" opens three bags of heroin for himself and his sister in an abandoned building in Paterson's 4th Ward. Many of Paterson's heroin addicts seek "abandos" to use drugs, out of sight from residents and police, despite the dangerous and filthy conditions.

  • In Heroin's Grip: user leaves Heroin Alley

    In Heroin's Grip: user leaves Heroin Alley

    A young woman staggers with her eyes closed as she walks down Broadway in Paterson's 4th Ward, after leaving an area commonly known as "Heroin Alley."

  • In Heroin's Grip: makeshift apartment

    In Heroin's Grip: makeshift apartment

    Brandon McNamara lights up a cigarette while visiting a friend who lives in an abandoned elevator shaft along the railroad tracks in Paterson. McNamara says he used to live there when he was homeless. He recently had a relapse, and was making regular trips by train from Mahwah into Paterson to buy drugs for his addiction.

  • In Heroin's Grip: Brandon

    In Heroin's Grip: Brandon

    Brandon McNamara, a 31-year old heroin addict from the suburban town of Mahwah, about 10 miles from Paterson, describes his life as once being on top of the world, but now he's in Hell," in talking about his long battle with heroin addiction. He recently had a relapse, and was making regular trips by train from Mahwah into Paterson to buy drugs for his addiction. He says he lived for over 2-years homeless in Paterson at one time, and was trying hard not to fall back into that lifestyle.

  • In Heroin's Grip

    In Heroin's Grip

    Brandon McNamara keeps an eye out for street thugs and police as he leaves "the crack," a crevice next to the old Hinchliffe Brewery and the railroad trestle on Governor St. in Paterson, after shooting up heroin. McNamara says he was "on top of the world, now he's in Hell," talking about his long battle with heroin addiction. He recently had a relapse, and was making regular trips by train from Mahwah into Paterson to buy drugs for his addiction.

  • In Heroin's Grip: Death Avenue

    In Heroin's Grip: Death Avenue

    A graffiti sign "Welcome to Death Ave" spray painted on the wall on Godwin Ave. can be seen from inside a Paterson Police car.

  • In Heroin's Grip: Auburn Street

    In Heroin's Grip: Auburn Street

    A man stands in the middle of the road near the corner of Auburn St. and Godwin Ave., an area in Paterson's 4th Ward where drugs are commonly bought and sold, often out in the open.

  • In Heroin's Grip: Dice game

    In Heroin's Grip: Dice game

    Two men throw dice on the sidewalk near the corner of Auburn St. and Godwin Ave., an area in Paterson's 4th Ward where drugs are commonly bought and sold, often out in the open.D rug user Michael Ward calls Godwin the "roughest, toughest" street in New Jersey.

  • In Heroin's Grip: A sign

    In Heroin's Grip: A sign

    Two boys play with a basketball on the sidewalk on Hamilton Ave. under a billboard promoting anti-gun violence, a common problem in Paterson's 4th Ward.

  • In Heroin's Grip:  Needle street

    In Heroin's Grip: Needle street

    A school age child and her mother walk past a discarded needle on the sidewalk of Governor St. near the old abandoned Hinchliffe Brewery, on the way home from school. The brewey is an "abando" where drug addicts hang out, and where drug addict Timothy Linnartz was beaten and left to die.

  • In Heroin's Grip:  Supply & demand

    In Heroin's Grip: Supply & demand

    Rhonda DeFreese and Mike Tazalaar are a married couple from Mahwah, living homeless on the streets of Paterson. They left their children behind so they wouldn't be around them after they fell into heroin addiction. "We wound up addicted. We ran away and this is where we ended up, and we're stuck here, cause they have the drugs here," Rhonda said.

  • In Heroin's Grip:  Blighted neighborhood

    In Heroin's Grip: Blighted neighborhood

    Charles Florio, a property developer who lives in Bergen County, owns some 130 properties in the city, a $40 million portfolio centered in the 4th Ward. Florio says his aim is to renovate and rent multifamily residential buildings, but he has struggled to keep his properties secure, let alone clean or rentable due to the heavy drug traffic in the area.

  • In Heroin's Grip: scrapper

    In Heroin's Grip: scrapper

    A local "scrapper" pushes a shopping cart loaded with scrap metal and other objects for recycling , as he walks past the old Hinchliffe Brewery, now an abandoned building where heroin users live.Many heroin addicts bring scrap metal they've scavenged or stolen, to a local scrap dealer in exchange for money to buy drugs.

  • In Heroin's Grip:  panhandling

    In Heroin's Grip: panhandling

    Michael Ward, a long time heroin addict, begs for money in the Wendy's parking lot on Broadway. The 37-year-old from Woodbridge says he currently is living homeless in Paterson. Everyday he panhandles in the downtown area to make money and buy heroin on Godwin Avenue. He says he can buy 3 bags of heroin there for just $11 dollars.

  • In Heroin's Grip; heroin needle

    In Heroin's Grip; heroin needle

    Michael Ward holds a syringe after he mixed three bags of heroin with water, before injecting the drugs into a vein in his arm. The 37-year-old Ward says he currently is living homeless in Paterson, and everyday he panhandles in the downtown area to make money and buy heroin on Godwin Ave., needing about $60 a day.

  • In Heroin's Grip:  beem me up Scotty

    In Heroin's Grip: beem me up Scotty

    Michael Ward lifts his arms in th ward breeze, as he appears relaxed after shooting up three bags of heroin. The 37-year-old Ward says he currently is living homeless in Paterson, and everyday he panhandles in the downtown area to make money and buy heroin on Godwin Avenue. Even after 9 months clean, Ward recently relapsed back into addiction because "the drugs kept calling me back."Having lost his wife and their 4 children to DYFS, Ward says he currently is living homeless in Paterson, and everyday he panhandles in the downtown area to make money and buy heroin on Godwin Avenue.

  • In Heroin's Grip: Paterson police

    In Heroin's Grip: Paterson police

    A Paterson Police car patrols the downtown area after a report of shots fired at a night club, seen through a car window with rain drops on the windshield.

  • In Heroin's Grip: guns

    In Heroin's Grip: guns

    A Paterson police officer finds a large quantity of heroin and a handgun in a knapsack hidden behind an abandoned building on 10th Ave., after PPD got a report of drug activity at the location. Two men were arrested for outstanding warrants, but police could connect them to the guns and drugs. It is common practice for dealers to use abandon properties to stash drugs and weapons.

  • In Heroin's Grip: drive by shooting

    In Heroin's Grip: drive by shooting

    Paterson police respond to a report of shots fired into a house at 2 Rosa Parks Blvd. PPD questioned a man, but no arrests were made. Gun violence is a common problem in Paterson, and much of the violent crime is connected to the city’s thriving heroin trade and related gang activity.

  • In Heroin's Grip: police bust

    In Heroin's Grip: police bust

    ATF agents and the Paterson Police Department's Narcotics unit made 4 arrests in the 4th Ward, after they saw a group of people "hot boxing" inside a van. They found heroin and marijuana inside the van belonging to a suspected drug dealer. They later picked up a woman from south Jersey who called his cell phone trying to buy heroin from him.

  • In Heroin's Grip: arrested

    In Heroin's Grip: arrested

    ATF agents and the Paterson Police Department's Narcotics unit make an arrest in the 4th Ward. Three men from Wallington were arrested for heroin possession after police witnessed a drug transaction. They later went after the alleged dealer.

  • In Heroin's Grip: arrested

    In Heroin's Grip: arrested

    Capt. Troy Oswald of the Paterson PD Narcotics Unit questions a South Jersey woman, after she called the cell phone of a drug dealer the PPD just arrested. Oswald says drug buyers come from all surrounding areas to buy heroin in Paterson's 4th Ward, because it has the reputation of being easy to buy, it's cheap, and many says it has the most potent quality.

  • In Heroin's Grip:  arrested

    In Heroin's Grip: arrested

    Capt. Troy Oswald of the Paterson PD Narcotics Unit arrests a South Jersey woman, after she called the cell phone of a drug dealer the PPD just arrested. Oswald says drug buyers come from all surrounding areas to buy heroin in Paterson's 4th Ward, because it has the reputation of being easy to buy, it's cheap, and many says it has the most potent quality.

  • In Heroin's Grip:  booking

    In Heroin's Grip: booking

    A Paterson police detective writes up paperwork on a group of men arrested on drug charges. The three on right were picked up right after the made a large drug purchase. the man at the rear is handcuffed, and was being charged with intent to sell heroin. They are hiding their faces from the photographer.

  • In Heroin's Grip:  First Aid

    In Heroin's Grip: First Aid

    A Paterson Police detective sorts money and packets of heroin branded "first aid" that was confiscated during a drug arrest by the Paterson Narcotics Unit.

  • In Heroin's Grip: F-you

    In Heroin's Grip: F-you

    A woman makes an obscene gesture with her hands as she awaits processing on drug charges inside Paterson Police Headquarters, after she and 3 others were arrested for being in possession of heroin and for smoking marijuana.

  • In Heroin's Grip: memorial

    In Heroin's Grip: memorial

    Mahzir Cannon,14, at a sidewalk vigil for his brother Ramere Lockhart, who was shot and killed Oct. 5 at 261 Rosa Parks Boulevard in Paterson. At right is Rashawn Taylor, Lockhart's uncle.

  • In Heroin's Grip: Timothy Linnartz

    In Heroin's Grip: Timothy Linnartz

    Peg Linnartz clutches her son Timothy's ashes in a memorial urn. Linnart was a 29-year-old heroin addict from Waldwick, found beaten to death behind the abandoned Hinchliffe brewery on Governor St. His father, Ed Linnartz, said Tim was " like the perfect son, but to see him keep going downhil and downhilll was horrible. He just couldn't shake the adiction."

  • In Heroin's Grip:  Black seed

    In Heroin's Grip: Black seed

    Carion" Lameca" Williams stands in front of a memorial painting for her son A-Ron Williams, aka "Black Seed," on Governor St. near the intersection of Carroll St. A-Ron Williams 25, died after he was shot around 4 a.m. at 12th Avenue and East 23rd Street on May 28th, 2011. She says the neighborhood isn't safe, like it used to be.

In Heroin's Grip