In recent years, the city has started to bounce back with a series of investments, including a $400 million wind turbine facility and a $30 million research center that aims to develop new treatments for drug addicts.
But Hull continues to catch the most national attention for issues relating to drug abuse. And lately, those miseries have been compounded by fentanyl, which has been blamed for at least 60 deaths nationwide, the National Crime Agency said, and has emerged as a favorite of addicts like Chris.
On this gloomy day, he was lying in the doorway of a derelict building slumped over a plastic bag of his belongings, his hands furiously shaking.
Chris, who declined to provide his last name because he did not want his family to read about his addiction, said he first tried heroin when he was rejected for a job after two years in unemployment.
“I got so hammered that I took my anger out on my girlfriend,” he said. “I smashed her head in the wall and just left her and went and bought heroin. I’ve been using ever since.”
When he first experienced fentanyl last year, he did not know what he had taken. “I took a shot and it felt like I exploded. It’s dynamite kind of strong,” he said, inadvertently describing why drug experts consider the drug so dangerous.
Several people in Hull who said they had collapsed after trying fentanyl vowed never to take it again. But there are still many like Chris who actively seek it out, even after a recent police crackdown slowed the supply coming into Hull.
Even though the police acknowledge the scope and severity of the problem, it was relatively easy, and inexpensive, for an addict to buy the drug, as an afternoon spent with Chris showed.