JS: You were telling Tina about this just a min ago. About how uh, you were chasing down girls to get money for drug dealers?
JS: Tell me a little about that real quick.
Flo: The dealer would ask me to go either get the money, if they ain’t got the money then they would have to get their ass kicked, they had to pay either way.
JS: So the dealers are giving out dope to girls without money?
Flo: They would front them cause they were sick. And they were supposed to pay them back. But then they would like hide from the dealer, you know what I mean, and that pisses them off so they want their ass kicked. I would go hunt them down and either get the money or kick their ass.
Flo: All these bitches are slimy, that’s why I don’t hesitate to kick their ass. Because I know what they’re about. You know what I mean.
Flo: I help them out. When they’re dopesick I help them out. You know what I mean. When you say you’re gonna do a date and you’re gonna pay me back, pay me back. Don’t cop something- your gonna cop drugs right in front of me and then act like I’m invisible that’s bullshit. And like they’re dates that I get out here, the old guys, they’ll (other girls) get the money and jump outta the car and scream ‘Somebody Help Me, Somebody Help Me’ and this way the guy will get scared and he won’t like, yeah so I mean, it’s wrong.
JS: I see that you are pregnant. How many months do you have?
Jamie: I’m 7 ½ half months.
JS: Do you know if it is a boy or a girl?
Jamie: It’s a boy.
JS: Why is it that you are out here on the street?
Jamie: Basically just to support my habit.
JS: You use Heroin?
Jamie: Heroin and Crack.
JS: How much Heroin and Crack do you use in a day?
Jamie: Anywhere from 6 to 13 bags a day, Heroin and um God knows how much Crack, you know as much as I can get basically.
JS: And you’ve been using for how long?
Jamie: Since I was eighteen. I’m twenty-eight.
JS: How did you get pregnant?
Jamie: By my baby’s father.
JS: Are you married?
Jamie: No, I’m not married. I have a daughter, she is 3, and now this one I’m carrying now.
JS: Does your baby’s father use?
Jamie: No, he’s clean… I just had three years clean. When I was um pregnant with my daughter I had, I had gotten clean. I was clean for 2 years and she was born on Methadone and she had no withdraw symptoms and I was on a Methadone program and then uh, I relapsed.
JS: Do you know what it was that caused you to relapse?
Jamie: Not really, uh well, I know that because I started taking some Xanax, I started taking some downers, I started taking pills and then that sorta caused me to relapse. You know, once I did that then I was like, I didn’t care about going to cop, you know and I don’t know, before then it was like you know I was not, not too proud, it was just like you know I didn’t want to and once I got high off the pills I was like fuck it, you know.
JS: Whats the best date you ever had? Whats the worst date you ever had?
Jamie: The best date is um, huh, you know getting someone that gives you loads of money and you don’t got to do nothing for it really. That’d be the best date. The worst date is um, you know I’ve been raped, and you know almost killed really. You know there’s all kinds of dates actually, scary and uncomfortable all types.
JS: And yet you’re still out here, do you feel like it makes you stronger?
Jamie: It has and it hasn’t, it has definitely made me stronger but I don’t want to be like this the rest of my life.
Dolly: He’s Alex. I’m Dolly and the dog is Little Lady.
Me: You were struggling as an addict when you were raising your kids at the same time. And you were out here on the Ave?
Dolly: Yea. It was before I had her, but then after I had her too. See she was born on Methadone. So she was a Methadone Maintenance baby. But yea, I mean I, I think it’s easier when your, you know I mean not easier you know getting high altogether but when you’re an addict it’s a little bit easier when you don’t have children. My son was taken away from me. So, I mean he was there but then there was a certain period when he wasn’t there neither. I originally I gave him to my half-sister and she or my sister excuse me and she gave him to my half-sister and in that time I was arrested and I was away for almost 6 months thinking that I would get my act together and I did for about 2 months and its really hard especially when you, when your in a relationship with somebody. Especially being married when yous are both addicted to the same thing, it its complicated.
My um well I eventually got my son I, I wound up getting pregnant with my daughter and apparently I thought that was enough.
Give it back to her now, give it back to her now.
Apparently that wasn’t enough because I went back out. Um I wound up getting custody of him I relapsed again, um that’s why I only have 16 months clean but the main thing that got me together is my mother is um an addict and I didn’t want to turn out like my mom. And I see myself going down that road and I didn’t wanna. I was gonna, I was throwing away everything. I was throwing away my marriage, my husband had taken my daughter from me, you know my little boy goes to counseling today because of it all and I you know I don’t want that anymore. I’m only 25 I’m too young for you know what I mean, like I’m too young for all the drama and the chaos and I don’t want to die. It’s just its not for me anymore you know what I mean I was living a very dangerous life. I goes lots of times I coulda been killed. I was already hurt out there when some dealer got me high. I go to therapy for that. You know I mean I, I was doing one of the worse drugs you can do in the worst way, I was um an IV user.
It all matters you know it all depends if you really want it. You know I hit rock bottom but I don’t want to die, that’s my main, that’s…
What,? You hung it up? Okay.
That’s my main thing. I don’t want to die. I don’t wanna, I don’t wanna leave my children.
For Aunt Chrissie? Alright, she’ll call back, hold the phone, when she calls answer it. Here.
You know and I hurt him too much you know and, and I hurt my family too much and its just, its too much, its so hard to keep yourself going when your using. You know what I mean I’m not saying its not complicated now because I go to my clinic, I’m on methadone maintenance. I go there every single day Monday thru Sunday faithfully everyday. And it’s a pain. Cause there’s sometimes.
Can you stop.
There’s sometimes you know I don’t have a way to get there or I don’t feel like going or just something but I get up and go cause I know I have to go.
I know if I don’t go that’s where I’m gonna wind up and I don’t want that anymore.
When I first got on this clinic I traveled 6 hours a day cause I wasn’t even in Philly. 6 hours a day just to get to this clinic. I was in Norristown. And this was at Germantown and School House lane. But I mean I, I would have traveled you know to 5th and la pip just get dope, why not travel to get myself better or not better, to get myself you know normal but that’s what I’m doin and so far its working.
You know I have days where I think about using. Or, or I have days you know that I see the girls out on the Ave, but that’s my main thing, I see these girls out on the Ave and they’re so skinny and you know they’re getting in the car with whoever and these men don’t care. They don’t care about these girls at all. You know I had many a times where I was beat up, but then I had some guys that were actually nice… I always lucked out on the Ave. That’s what I said what I’m dealing with it was all about now.
And you know this man almost killed me. And you know it’s so much to deal with and I think it’s hard, it is, its harder on women than it is on men. You know but its also, its easier to make money but the addiction and the withdraw and the pain is more severe. You know cause guys here, you know they can cover it up or whatnot, we can’t.
Hello? You hung up on her again.
You know its is just a little bit more, its more complicated on women.
And what also made me want to do it, is I had all my family telling me I was not gonna do it. That I wasn’t gonna get clean and I was just gonna be this and be that and I, I pretty much I proved everybody wrong. You know cause I’m not gonna be that, that that life was not meant for me. I was mainly the person, I went out and drank, smoked pot once in a while. Doin Heroin, it is not who I’m supposed to be. You know I wind up escorting and dancing and all that crap. And I got not only addicted to the drugs but addicted to the money, addicted to sex, addicted to the lifestyle period, and it’s just too much to juggle. You know, I’ve actually broke down and like literally fell to my knees praying to God because I didn’t want to do it no more. At one point I felt myself start to go crazy because day in and day out that’s where I was. Christmas morning that’s where I was, like it was pathetic and its like a shame because you can’t really, you’re not really gonna know what its like for a Heroin addict unless you physically, mentally and emotionally feel it. And I thought that like when I met my husband he was, he was in recovery but I wasn’t, I had never touched it. And I used to know him pursing around and go your dirty cause you do this… I used to you know, the girls were nasty and all and like I never understood it until I became it.
But there’s people out there that I know that many a times I sat there and said I can’t do it, I can’t do it, but somebody sees that someone else is doin it, maybe it will encourage them to do it. You know what I mean, I go to meetings and I speak about it and I talk to people about it and I’m hoping one of these days, you know somebody, somebody saved me. You know and I’m just hoping that somebody hears something either from me or sees me and remembers me from before and you know well hey she did it so I can do it you know, cause every life is worth trying to save.
You know, I get out a little bit. I like to just work during the day. I don’t sit in one spot. I walk. Last year I was escorting. My dad was like stealing money from me and going and shooting powder— shooting coke. But I have a lot of regular customers who had insurmountable amounts of coke and I never messed with it. But the more it kept up, my kid’s dad doing it, the more I was like thinking you know… maybe… But I always knew where it took me you know, I couldn’t stop. I was on methadone but I had a three-bedroom house, a brand new car, kids in summer camp you know, everything appeared to be normal. I relapsed, I stopped paying the clinic, they kicked me off. I lost my house, I lost my car, went off the clinic and ended up out here.
I do much better during the day. When I escorted I had an ad in the city paper and I made at least 500 a day you know on an average day. I had bad days when I would make a hundred and fifty, that would be a bad day. But then this is a lot different. Right now I’ve been out here an hour and I haven’t got anything. —Jenna, 2009.