Gerry was high on crack.

Gerry caught me in the hallway of the shelter. He wanted to talk. He was obviously high on crack. The conversation went something like this (read Gerry’s lines as fast as you can to simulate how he talked): Gerry: My boss won’t pay me the money he owes me. I don’t even like the job. […]

“An addict will do anything to not be dope sick.”

“I am scared sh*tless of being dope sick. I will do anything, anything I have to do to make sure I’m not dope sick… An addict will do anything to not be dope sick. It is our biggest fear.” Sherri If you work with the public, there are two things you need to know about […]

Can withdrawal from heroin kill you?

The intern’s face was pale white, and her eyes were panicky. “Ryan, I need help.” She led me into her office. Harold was lying on the concrete floor of her office. “He says he is withdrawing from heroin,” the intern said. I tried to talk to Harold but didn’t get very far. He was far […]

That time I forgot a crack pipe on my ear.

It was about 8:00am. I had just arrived at the homeless shelter I worked at. The details of the day have faded with time, but my memory tells me that it was summer. I think it was one of the 15 days per year when the Chicago area is not too hot, too cold, too […]