#MurderCapital: 'My double life as crime reporter and crack addict'
6 August 2014 Last updated at 10:49 BST
When Ruben Castaneda moved to the US capital in 1989 to take up a job with the Washington Post the city was gripped by a crack epidemic and rampant gun violence.
He was a user himself, having picked up the habit on the West Coast. Days after arriving in Washington, he was taken to S Street Northwest by a "strawberry" - a streetwalker who traded sex for drugs.
They were in the Shaw/U Street neighbourhood, less than two miles from the White House.
In his new book 'S St Rising', Castaneda chronicles his double life as a crime reporter and crack addict.
He told the BBC how his personal story of overcoming drug abuse echoes the city's transformation from murder capital of America to gentrified boomtown.
You can see the full BBC report on Washington's transformation here.
Produced by the BBC's Bill McKenna. Additional filming by Felicia Barr. Footage from Politics and Prose courtesy of Nicholas Price
Altered States is a series of video features published every Wednesday on the BBC News website which examine how shifting demographics and economic conditions affect America on a local level.