Coming Clean 

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I am a 26-year-old recovering heroin addict and mother of two boys. I have been clean for one year.

At the end of my addiction, panhandling offered me quick money. I am a pretty girl who does not look like an addict and is believable. I would go around busy shopping centers, crying, desperate and lying to the community. It was painless to me. I would say, “My boyfriend hit me and kicked me out, I have nowhere to go but to my family that lives in a different county. I will need $7 for bus fare.” More often than not, I would get $10. I would make over $100 an hour, all to support my addiction.

I would like the community to be aware of how desperate drug addicts can be. I was degrading myself, women and mothers. I was an addict who took advantage of people’s sympathy for victims of domestic violence, which is a real and serious problem.

Valerie Martin
Salt Lake City

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