© Angelos Tzortzinis, 2013, Societal Ills Spike in Crisis-Stricken Greece
With the country heading into the fifth year of economic depression, and unemployment near 60 percent for young people, greater numbers of women and men are offering their bodies for next to nothing to get any scrap of money. According to the National Center for Social Research, the number of people selling sex has surged 150 percent in the last two years.
Many prostitutes have been selling their services for as little as 10 to 15 euros, a price that has shrunk along with the income of clients afflicted by the crisis. Many more prostitutes are taking greater health risks by having unprotected sex, which sells for a premium. Still more are subject to violence and rape.
Now a new menace has arisen: a type of crystal methamphetamine called Sisa (also: Shisha, after the Turkish water pipe), but otherwise known as poor man’s cocaine, brewed from barbiturates and other ingredients including alcohol, chlorine and even battery acid.
A hit of Sisa, concocted in makeshift laboratories around Athens, costs 3 to 4 Euros (Editor: I’ve heard about prices ranging from 0.5 to 1 Euro in an ARTE documentary yesterday). Doses come in the form of a 0.01-gram ball, leaving many users reaching for hits throughout the day.
Sisa is most often smoked. But it is increasingly being taken intravenously; because of the caustic chemicals it contains, a rising number of users are winding up in the emergency room. Health experts say the injections are also adding to an alarming rise in H.I.V. cases around Greece, which surged more than 50 percent last year from 2011 as more people turn to narcotics.
Read the whole story and find more pictures on LENS Blog.