“I’ve been in and out of halls. I keep on finding myself in here. Now it’s been three or four times. I started hitting the pookie (meth pipe) when I was 13, in middle school. I started stealing from my parents and whatever just to get meth. I only attended NA on an outpatient basis. But I’d go when I was high, when I had access to it. So nothing really changed. Everything bad happened when I was high. It all happened so fast.
My cousin gave me my first hit. He cut up crystal for me. Then he showed me how to smoke it.
Here I talk to a therapist a lot. Mostly every day. I have court tomorrow. I’m going to tell the judge I want to do something about my addiction. I’ve only been here a few days, so my mom or my dad haven’t visited me yet. My parents don’t use. But my sister just got released from rehab today. My older cousin used to use. And I would go to his house when my parents were working. My cousin gave me my first hit. He cut up crystal for me. Then he showed me how to smoke it. I’m detoxing right now. And I’m having withdrawals, so they’re watching me. I went to high school, but I never really went to school. I was too busy getting high, or would go to school high. I have a boyfriend. He used to use with me, but he got clean. I hope the judge allows me rehab. I need to get clean. I look in the mirror and say, ‘Who am I?’”
-K.I., age 16
**Interviews with youth are recorded to the best of our ability. All personal histories and anecdotes are self-reported by the children. To protect confidentiality of the youth, identities have been obscured, initials have been changed, and identifying details have been removed. Interviews have not been edited for content.