Voices from America's Drug Craze

Everybody has a story. Given that an estimated 88 million Americans over the age of twelve have used an illegal drug at least once in or lives, most of us have some kind of anecdote, some experience with our country's constant search for chemical bliss.

The following short biographical pieces, taken from the L.A. Weekly's Independence Day Special: This is Your Country on Drugs, give a personal voice to the daily insanity of the Drug War.


Dressed to Deal
by Dana Collins
I would dress like a dork. A collegiate dork to be exact. A denim-collar-down-jacket-waffle stomper, outdoorsy-but-clean-REI-kind of dork to be real exact. I would paste down my bleached-blond spikes into a forced-part comb-over ... It was 1985. The Drug War was starting to really kick in. But this war I was hearing so much about wasn’t happening on my corner.


Straight Time, No Chaser: Why I never did drugs by Erin Aubry Kaplan
I have never taken an illegal drug. Never smoked dope, never taken a single puff or swallow or shot of anything that wasn’t medically prescribed ... Yet I have taken a drug that is mood-altering, very nearly mind-altering: Prozac.

Mommy Was a Tweaker by Deb Burke
In my youth — which in my case lasted until I was nearly 30 — I indulged quite regularly and enthusiastically in a variety of unlawful substances. I resolve to tell my daughter all as soon as I get an opening ... “Yes, dear,” I will say. “Many’s the night I rummaged through the trash to find a discarded wad of aluminum foil that held a few white corrosive crumbs.”

To Die For: A Young Person’s Guide to Scoring by Monah Li
I am still new in America, having escaped my teenage marriage to a gay street hustler in Vienna. But I have already managed to get myself strung out on crystal meth and heroin. I have to have both drugs, or I can’t function at all. It has now become a full-time job to score.

How ’Bout a Little Paranoia? by Tulsa Kinney
I never dealt with The Man when I scored drugs. Never even wanted to meet The Man. Hooking up with the right friends got me by. Then one of the friends I’d relied on for coke suggested I just go to the Valley and get the stuff myself.

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