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 heavily 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 to 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!