Written By 1010 WINS News & Programming Director Ben Mevorach; Audio By 1010WINS.com Reporter Rebecca Granet
NEW YORK — On heroin at the age of 12, off heroin at 15, back on at 16, off again at 17, on again at 20…and so it has gone for Christina [not her real name] and countless other heroin addicts across America.
Christina’s journey is filled with the kinds of stories that make your stomach turn. As early as the 8th grade, the double dimpled, shoulder length dark-haired, pimply faced kid from Long Island was so desperate for a heroin fix, she traded sex with a 20-year-old man for a bag. By 14, she was beaten beyond recognition by an abusive drug dealer. Christina would spend nights living on the streets, intermittently returning home with promises of wanting to quit. She would be on her best behavior for a few days, sleeping most of them, and then get into a fight with her mother, run out the door, and start the cycle of desperation all over again.
While many heroin addicts get their start after being hooked on prescription pain medication, Christina began her descent after the high profile death of her father. She was 10 years old at the time.
“Looking back at it now, I wish I could have stayed seven forever,” she said.
Before his death, Christina was a typical kid from a typical family. Her free time was spent playing with Barbie dolls and her personal obsession, Tamagotchis. Her dad was a New York City firefighter and her mom stayed home to raise the couple’s three children.
“My dad was always at work but that six o’clock phone call every day was like clockwork,” she said. “He had those crazy nicknames for us…we had like our own code and only we knew it. He’d come home and we’d wrestle with the dogs and talk about our day. Everything was easy.”
And then it wasn’t anymore.
One cold night, Christina was watching “The Little Mermaid” in the living room with her brother and sister while their mom was in town shopping. They didn’t hear the man walking up the steps because snow still covered the ground from a previous storm. They did hear the heavy knock at the door.
“A captain came to the door and said my daddy was hurt really bad…mommy has to go see him now,” Christina said.
Much of the next hour or so was a blur for her. Christina and her siblings were sent to their grandmother’s and it wasn’t long before the home was filled with relatives and firemen. Eventually, Christina’s mom came there, got down on her knees and told her children that their father was never coming home.
Choking back tears, Christina said the words still haunt her.
“That just started the roller coaster…that one sentence just kinda flipped everything upside down forever,” she said.
Christina is back on heroin. Hear her full story and find out the one place, in your home, where your child could be hiding drugs that you may never think to look: