Edith Piaf (1915- 1965)

Image from Charles Paolino's Blog.

Like Billie Holiday, the great Parisian chanteuse realiste was a mainline addict for her last fifteen years. Edith Piaf began using morphine while recovering from injuries received in a 1951 auto accident, acquiring a habit she never kicked for long, despite four stays in detoxication clinics. There years nonetheless marked the peak of her international fame. Piaf was outspoken about addictive drugs; the following is from Piaf: A Biography (1967), written by her sister, Simone Bertault:

"Drugs are a carnival in hell. They’re merry-go-rounds and roller coasters. You shoot up, you rocket down; you go up again, you come down again… Everything’s like everything else, always the same; monotonous; gray; dirty. But you don’t even notice, you go right on.
When I stuck the needle into my flesh, I didn’t gasp with pleasure- I gasped with relief. You’re in a hurry to give yourself a shot, not because it makes you feel good but because it makes you stop feeling bad. Christ, are we stupid! The more you take, the more you suffer, and the more you have to take so you won’t hurt so much inside. Your mind’s been gone for a long time. It’s like living in a fog."

- pp. 141- 142, Sisters of the Extreme: Women Writing on The Drug Experience by Cynthia Palmer and Michael Horowitz (2000)

Edith Piaf, Sings, Drug Use