Melissa, New Orleans, Louisiana

Melissa:  I’ve unfortunately been shooting heroin for about 10 years now. Trying to get off the streets while you’re shooting heroin is next to impossible.

BW: What lead up to you using heroin?

Melissa: I have a daughter. *crying* She’s 13 now. I lost custody of her and when I lost custody of her, that’s when I started using. Just trying to cover up that pain, you know? Cause that’ll kill you. 

BW: How’d you lose custody?

Melissa: I didn’t have a job. I didn’t have anything. I couldn’t provide for her because I was dependent on him. When we split up, there wasn’t anything I could offer her.  

BW: Where’s she at now?

Melissa: She’s with her dad in Oklahoma.

BW: Do you ever get to talk to her?

Melissa: *Tears* No. For her birthday and Christmas, I send her money, but I can’t talk to her. I know they don’t give her the cards I send. He says he’s saving them and he’ll give them to her when she’s older.

BW: Do you ever see pictures of her?

Melissa: Yeah, I go on Facebook and I’ll look at her pictures.

BW: Does she look like you?

Melissa: Yeah, a lot.

BW: If you could send a message to your daughter, what would it be?

Melissa: That I’m sorry that I didn’t step up and be the mom that I should have been.