It will take everything you’ve ever loved
and it will destroy it. Heroin comes from a poppy plant which
grows in big stalks, and it’s got this big bulb on the end of it. They extract the white substance
by scraping the bulb with a knife, and this milky substance comes out,
and they start the refining process. The opium is refined into morphine, which is
further refined into making other forms of heroin. Most of it is brought from Afghanistan. And when you’re in the West Coast,
it usually comes from Mexico. On the East Coast, there’s powdered heroin,
which is the gray/brown powder-like substance. And then on the West Coast would be the actual
tar heroin, which is a sticky, tar-like substance. Heroin is usually cut with other things,
such as either arsenic or other drugs, just to make it cheaper —
make more money for the dealers. You never know exactly
what they put in it. So it’s a very, very high risk of OD’ing.
One shot, you could die. It can be smoked, snorted
and shot with a needle. I started off smoking heroin. I would just smoke it, because I was told that
that wouldn’t be as addictive as using needles. I would start out snorting it
and I wouldn’t get that rush anymore — that good feeling that you’re always searching
for every time you want to do or snort heroin. And eventually the rush doesn’t happen
anymore, so you turn to the needle. I was about 17 years old
when I first tried it. — First time I was 18.
— 19 years old. The first time I did heroin
I was 14 years old. — It was a friend of mine that introduced it to me.
— My boyfriend at the time. One of my buddies just came and showed me it.
And I tried it, and that was it. I decided okay, something new — something to make me feel okay with myself
and believe I’d be functional. It started off as, you know, fun —
“Let’s get high.” But the problem with heroin is,
is you can’t just do it one time. At first I didn’t really think I was addicted.
I just wanted to try it a few times. But once you do it it’s… you start becoming sick.
You start going through withdrawal. The cravings are absolutely worse
than any other drug that I had ever done. The sickness is so intense.
You would rather die than go through that. After, I started feeling the effects of it,
the side effects, the withdrawal symptoms,
and I didn’t know what was going on. Hot sweats and cold chills at the same time.
You just can’t get comfortable. You try to fall asleep just to make it go away,
and you can’t fall asleep. Your whole appearance changes. I would break out a lot. My skin was yellow
and my eyes were sunken in. Hallucinations from lack of sleep.
Loss of appetite. I really couldn’t concentrate,
I couldn’t pay attention. And as crazy as it sounds, I didn’t know what
heroin would do to me when I first started doing it. I was just completely ignorant of that. I just thought, “Oh, it’s another drug.
I can just do it on the weekends and have fun.” The reality of it is, it is a big deal. I woke up in Long Beach, not knowing how I
got there, convulsing and seizing. And I had a skyrocketing temperature of 107 —
just about dead out the door. I wound up on the street,
homeless, nowhere to go, my family didn’t know where I was. And I was just in total apathy.
I didn’t care about anything. I was living in a car
in the middle of winter in Baltimore. Got robbed, got maced in the face, I had nothing.
I was freezing and dying. Alone. The house which my boyfriend and I were
selling drugs out of got raided many times. One of the times he hid in the attic
and he made me answer the door. They came ramming in. One cop
goes and shoves me against the wall, pushes me down the stairs,
handcuffs us and takes us away. I wanted to get high.
I didn’t have any money, so I… looked at a couple bank statements
that my mom got in. Transferred over $27,000
into my account. Spent that within two weeks. Broke back
into the house after they changed the locks, and ran up to my mother’s bedroom,
stole her wedding ring and went and pawned that. It ended up me getting caught. I got
4 felonies, a couple misdemeanors, got arrested. It clouded my mind to a point where everything
was almost like a video game: no real sense of consequence, no real sense of “This is what I’m doing
to other people around me” or “This is what I’m doing to myself.” It’s just — keep doing what I’m doing. It was hell. It scared more my parents
than anything, because — you know, they wanted to know
what they did as parents, wrong. And it wasn’t them.
It was all about me — I didn’t care. It destroyed my family —
financially, mentally and physically. You’re not aware of the damage
it’s doing to you, not to mention your family. It destroyed my entire body. Two years after I quit,
I finally could digest a normal meal. My teeth were destroyed from it. I still get, you know, restlessness. My joints and all my bones constantly ache. I don’t veins in here anymore. I actually have some wounds from it
on each of my shoulders. I remember hearing
“Don’t do it — just say no.” And I had no idea what the reality was. If I had more information on heroin and the facts and the dangers about it,
I definitely wouldn’t have touched it. If I would have actually listened
and learned some of the things that I know now,
I would have never started doing drugs. You try drugs —
it doesn’t matter who you are. It doesn’t matter how good of a person you are
or what your goals are. The drugs can take it all away. It’s not a joke. It’s not a game. Don’t think it’s going to be
all fun and games, ’cause it’s not. And it never has ended that way for anyone. No little kid grows up thinking,
“Oh, one day I’m going to be a heroin addict.” They want to be super heroes or firefighters
or things like that. But if you start using,
all those things get further away. It just becomes your life.
That is your job. When you’re a heroin addict,
that’s what you do. That’s all you do.