Living Collections bring together Hidden South Stories, Road Notes, and Observations about specific subjects r groups of people. Living Collections continue to evolve over time as more content is added and more truths are revealed.
We had only been in the neighborhood for about 10 minutes before I saw a young lady. I can usually tell by the way someone carries themselves if they are walking to get to a destination, or if they are working on getting their next fix. I could tell that she was in the later category. I pulled up and told her briefly about the project and asked if she'd like to tell us her story.
I'm scared, you know? I don't want to be Tory. Honestly Brent, I'm afraid to say that I'll never do it again. When you do that, you're putting yourself above what you've been through. I'm human and I have a problem. A real problem. That's the beginning of it when you can say, I got this issue and I'm not like everybody else.
It's like I tell the youth, What y'all doin' it could be a blessing and it can be a curse. It's a blessing now, you enjoying life. You get everything. You get to buy this and buy that, but when that curse comes... and the judge say 32 years and you 19 years old...
I found out I was adopted when I was nineteen and that’s part of the reason I’m out here. It messed me up. I was lied to. I’m not out on the street by force. It’s really because of pain.
She struggled with depression. I'm not exactly sure how the pain pills got involved but at some point she was given pain killers. Things started changing.
I've overdosed too many times to count. You don't even know it happens. There's times when that's what I was trying to do, go out. I'd do a death shot.
I have four small children. I was in a happy marriage. Everything going good. For some reason I decided to leave him for another man who ended up passing away. He died of a heroin overdose.
I was a competitive gymnast and cheerleader in high school. I messed my knee up so they put me on Oxycontin. I was on it for so long… I didn’t even know what heroin was. I’d heard of it but I didn’t know… I tried it and it was like the love of my life.
Being from South Florida, the pill mills in 2004-2005 really blew up. In Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade became the epicenter of roxys, oxycodone, whatever.
We started messing around with the pain management doctors. Selling the Roxys. We weren’t hurting for nothing. But that’s what led us into heroin. We thought it’d be cheaper and better.
Growing up we had to isolate ourselves. We had to deal with things on our own. My mom would run off for a week or so and get fucked up on meth and he’d [stepdad] try to make us choose sides and shit.
I was working in The Bluff yesterday and saw a girl who, from a distance, looked a lot like Ela. I hadn’t seen Ela for many months so I was really hoping it was her. I approached the girl and as I got closer realized it wasn’t her.
Drugs became more important than paying my rent and car note. With opiates, when you go through withdrawal, your whole body hurts so you can’t exactly get up and go to work if you’re dope sick.
y mom passed away in my arms at fourteen. She had this medication that would almost immediately stop seizures. She locked her jaw and she wouldn’t let me put it in her mouth and that was it. She didn’t want it. She wanted to go.
He ended up going to prison and I went to get clean in Smyrna at a sober living place. I was clean for six months and stupid me went and found another guy. I think I replace drugs with guys so it’s like a different addiction.
A lady adopted them. I have a boy and a girl. One and two. It hurts that I lost them but I know *tears* that they’re in better hands right now. They’re more taken care of than I could have done right now. So… I’ve got to look at it the best way I can.
I was picked on all the time because I wasn’t Hispanic. I had the birth defect with my hand and I was a tiny kid. I became so prejudice against Hispanics because they were the one’s picking on me, making my life horrible. I just became so hateful.
They sent my dad back to prison for something he did 4 years prior. He was clean with me. We went to a meeting every morning together and I went to my little night time younger people meeting and hung out with my friends. It had become a way of life for me. Then… it tore me up, I mean it TORE me up.
I kind of ran the gamut of the whole drug thing but starting to use heroin was a big turning point for me. I was on a path to success and my life quickly became this downward spiral of failure. It’s such a terrible thing to get into.
I’ve made twenty to twenty-five grand in a night before. I’m on the Internet for one robbery for $15,000. It took me a few minutes to make that and I robbed people often, A few times a week.
He brought me here [New Orleans] about 2 months ago. I’m pregnant again, as you can see, about 5 months. Recently he up and just disappeared. So, this is the position I’m in at this point.
I battled with addiction. My son also taught me that when you love someone, you want what’s best for them. I feel I did the most unselfish act I could do by letting him go
I would want him to know that even though it seems that I’m choosing the drugs over him, that it’s really not the case. *Balling* I don’t know… I just… I don’t know where to start to even get right. It’s not really stopping using the drugs that I need to deal with as much as why I use the drugs in the first place.
My mom had an addiction to cocaine. They actually let her out of jail because she was pregnant with me. She left me with some babysitters when I was about 18 months old and told them that she was going to the hospital and never came back.
My mom passed when I was 9. She was really sick, She had been addicted to crack cocaine, but she got her life together. The last three years of her life, she spent with us, clean.
We never really had a relationship. I always wanted one but we never really had a solid father daughter relationship. That’s why I was always looking for a sugar daddy, someone to take care of me and stuff. So, I started dancing when I was 17.
I used it on my own free will *tears*, but how could you possibly put someone that you care about on that shit? It’s very selfish, if someone does. You know? I wouldn’t do that to anyone.
I’ve been bit a bunch of times. My name’s Snake Bill. My uncle is the one who developed anti-venom.
Like most people [who are heroin addicts], I started messing around with pills in high school. By the time I tried heroin, I was already a full blown opiate addict. Heroin was just a cheaper alternative.
Tiffany: I lost my kids, my house, my car. I lost everything because of these pain pills. I’ve drank alcohol, done coke and other things and all of that was easy to quit. But, I just can’t quit the pills. I get sick if I try. Everything is just gone…
I travel all over the Southeast U.S. in search of stories. I've recently started asking people to write a note about something that has been weighing heavy on them and drop it in a lock box. Here are some notes from various regions that relate to this topic.