Greek victims of austerity are increasingly being forced to sell their bodies for cheap in horrific squalor and to escape painful reality with a new street drug.

According to research, the number of people selling sex has surged 150 percent in the last two years. Some sell their services for less than $20. The price has dropped along with the incomes of clients afflicted by the crisis. Many are taking greater risks by having unprotected sex, which sells for more. Violence and rape are not uncommon.

Greece has no money to pay for public services that can help such people until it repays billions of euros in bailout money demanded by the “troika” known as the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and the European Commission.

Click here for grim photos of the consequences. With the sequestration in effect in the United States, how long before this Greek story becomes reality for previously middle-class or marginally poor Americans?

— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

The New York Times:

Now a new menace has arisen: a type of crystal methamphetamine called 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 shisha, concocted in makeshift laboratories around Athens, costs 3 to 4 euros. Doses come in the form of a 0.01-gram ball, leaving many users reaching for hits throughout the day. They include prostitutes, whom Mr. Tzortzinis photographed in a seedy central neighborhood of Athens called Omonia, next to a large police station.

Shisha 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.

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