JW - Invisible People


I met JW on Skid Row. His story is as real as real can be, and why I post a caution on the front of this site. It’s the stories like JW’s that we need […]


I met JW on Skid Row. His story is as real as real can be, and why I post a caution on the front of this site. It’s the stories like JW’s that we need to hear and yet so often ignore!

JW used to drink heavy to make the pain go away, but when his drinking messed up his liver and he was diagnosed with pancreatitis, JW moved on to pain pills, and eventually heroin.

For those of you who have never tried heroin, it is the perfect drug for escaping life – especially homelessness! Once you shoot up or smoke, you pretty much don’t care about anything. For a couple of dollars heroin can take everything away! Heroin is a narcotic and extremely addictive. What may start off as physical and emotional pain relief, heroin quickly destroys a person’s life, and so the vicious cycle of drug abuse begins.

JW is currently in a wheelchair. His foot is infected and the doctors are suggesting to amputate his foot. The problem was JW’s use of heroin stopped any feeling of pain so the infection kept getting worse and is now in his bones.

When I asked JW what his future is like he said that he wants to sober up and help others. JW wished to be 19 again, to be reunited with his family, and to get off the drugs.

The good news is an outreach worker for the LA Mission was there to hopefully help JW get into detox and then transitional housing. Why I say ‘hopefully” is because JW lost his ID so there is some work do be done before he can get into a program.

JW’s story is an important one because there are a lot of people just like JW out on the streets. Most are good people, but their addictions have eventually taken over their lives. I was one, and I am living proof we can never give up on people!

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  • Glenda

    “a roof over my head and food in my belly” nails it.

  • b2blog

    Pretty honest guy. I love how one of his wishes is to be 19 again, which gets a laugh from Mark like hadn’t heard that one before. I really hope his foot gets better, otherwise things are going to get worse for him.

  • Byproxy73

    Sadly, his foot will probably not get better. Once the infection gets into bones (osteomyelitis), the bones become very weak. They break easily and in many places, making the foot misshapen. There is also a danger that the infection will spread up his leg if the foot is not removed. This happened to a friend of mine due to diabetes and neuropathy, and he has now had to have BOTH feet amputated.

    I truly wish the best for JW, but I’m not optimistic about the foot.


    I normally don’t like drug addicts but this guy seemed unusually honest. This guy buys his own pain and mystery every single time he sticks that spike in his body and shoots up so my compassion for him runs out quick. However I do not like seeing him suffer. This guy seems hopelessly addicted to smack. Face it when the choice is between hospitalization to save his foot and the next Heroin drug hit wins out this guy is SPRUNG!

    yet for a drug addict this guy seems very nice, honest and remarkably human not the mean hearted parasitic fiend and social predator most drug addicts are. I ended up liking this guy and I pray he gets better and stays clean. (Drug Free!)

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