Straight Dope Excerpt – Gail: Drugs and Prison life

Posted: May 19, 2013 in Uncategorized
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Straight Dope Sampler – small collection of stories from Straight Dope: A 360 degree look into American drug culture. Email me for free copy!

Gail, 49

Caucasian, youthful looking, jovial but somber, Data Entry

Drug addicts have a disease. You don’t put cancer patients in jail do you?

I’m from Elizabeth, NJ and moved out to San Diego, Ca when I was very young. I am the only girl out of four boys. When we moved out to San Diego, my parents got involved in the KKK. Shortly after we joined the KKK, Tom Metzger became very active in our life. Matter of fact, his son and I almost got married, but thank God my husband came along and that tragedy didn’t get a chance to begin. Growing up, we were all abused. I have scars on my head, my chin, my arm doesn’t bend, and I have a stab wound. But I have handled it pretty well through different avenues…. possibly through drug use.

My family was exposed to the White Supremacist movement at a very young age. Whether it be going to meetings or cross burning, it was imbedded in our lives. It was around three that I started questioning the robes. I was like, it’s not Halloween, whats going on? My parents would go on and say that the world is being overtaken and only belongs to the white race. How you are going to do that, I don’t know (laughs)? As a young child you don’t understand it and you take it for truth, but as you get older, you start questioning it. When I turned fifteen, I started to move away from my family’s beliefs. I would go to a real church behind their back and do other things like that because they would monitor what we do and who are friends were. I would like someone to show me a pure white person, they don’t exist. Maybe in Sweden? To me, as I got older, their beliefs got more bizarre. There was no Holy Bible, there was a Klan Bible. Today, my Father passed, one of my Brothers is in prison for murder and the other ones are scum buckets. My Mom…. I don’t know. I have not spoken or seen her in 20 years.

I was 21 when I had my daughter, and about 23 when I started using meth. One day I walked in and saw my husband and his friends snorting it off a counter. I had said, “What is that?” The relationship between my husband and I was not going very well. I was very hostile and very violent towards him and he was on the verge of leaving, so I thought, what a better way to join in than do drugs with him.

The first time I did meth I felt euphoric and it felt good. I felt like there wasn’t anything that I could not do. I could clean the house, take care of the baby, everything. At the time meth was prevalent, so we could get it anywhere. Labs were everywhere and every other neighbor had it.

Why is meth so prevalent in East County?

The reason is that East County is so vast, so farmy. When you cook meth it smells like ether. At the time the Klan regulated a lot of it, now it is the Mexican cartels. But then, you could go anywhere. I could go to the liquor store and ask if you have any meth. They would say, “Yeah, I’ll be right back.” I continued to use until 1990 when I got pregnant with my son. Sad to say, I used meth with my son. I would lie to my husband and tell him that I wasn’t, but I needed the drug and could not stop, even though I was pregnant. When you use meth, you become very dehydrated and you don’t eat because it becomes physically hard to eat. But, I did what I had to do and finally stopped a week before his birth. By God’s watchful eyes, my son was born healthy and with no drugs in his system. After my son was born, I got high. Damn, how did you do dope in the hospital? When you have an addiction, you will get you will get the drugs. I kept telling myself that I could not live without it.

My first jail stint was in 95 due to an assault on a drug dealer. What happened was I was high, I mean I was high everyday and she had sold me some meth, but I was not getting high. It was bunk and there are ways to tell if it is, like if it doesn’t burn when you snort it. For me I could tell if it is real because my ears would start hurting and I would get this overwhelming urge to use the restroom, and none of this was happening. I had just bought a teener from her, which back then was about $80 and she burned me. I was pissed beyond belief. Not only did I have a temper, but with the meth I was about three times as worse. I confronted her about it and she said, “Oh well,” so I beat her up, broker her nose. She got a lot of rage of my childhood that day and I can say that she did not deserve that. After I beat her up, she called the police and by the time they came, I was in full rage so they tazed me. I could not stop. I was charged with first degree assault and battery and I got six months in the county jail, which was not an awakening.

I began serving my sentence in the Vista County Jail. When you get there, you are put in a pod with many women and are given very minimal supplies. If you don’t have somebody put money on your books, you are called indigent, so you get state supplies. You are strip searched, made to cough and squat, given a blue top and bottom and given a wrist band. They take away every shred of dignity. The last thing they do is give you a number which is what you are to them, a number. You then go to another building and are asked about your gang affiliation, do you have AIDS, and if you are an IV drug user because the jail likes to take precautions. The first couple of days were terrible because I was coming down off meth. There were more girls coming down from meth than anything in the jail. When you come down, you slam to the ground because you are not sleeping for days when you are high, so you are physically exhausted. You are dehydrated, hungry, and your stomach is messed up, so it is tough for the first couple of days. I mean all you want to do is sleep and it’s hard to sleep in jail because there are two man cells. Jail is nothing like what it is portrayed, especially women’s jail.

In jail, I had a chance to do rehab, but I chose not too. At this time in my life I didn’t think I had a problem. I was released and given five years probation with what they call a suspended prison sentence, which was a two year sentence if you didn’t complete probation. After release, I relapsed. There was no support structure. When you are on probation, you are given many requirements you have to do. One of them was you have to attend NA meetings. Back in the 90’s those were a joke because you could get drugs in the meetings, so I stayed high all the time. In the late 90’s my husband quit using meth because he had problems with the hallucinations. He had wanted both of us to quit, but I was like, “Are you kidding?” So my husband cut me off financially and I had to choose one of the sleazier ways to support my habit, which was to sleep with drug dealers to get dope. While on probation I failed numerous tests, but I didn’t care, I just didn’t see an end to stay clean. If I stayed clean, I had to deal with my past so I stayed high. My childhood and my life was too painful plus, I didn’t want to deal with the fact that I was a piece of shit, just like my parents told me. I didn’t know I could be the person I am today.

For more, pick up, “Straight Dope: A 360 degree look into American drug culture” by LeRon L. Barton at NOW!!


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