Women on Ice: Methamphetamine Use among Suburban Women

By Miriam Boeri | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 5
Gendered Risks
HEALTH AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES

DOT

I was waiting for Dot at the library. She was about an hour late for our appointment, but I was aware of her situation. She did not have gas money for her car and had to call someone to bring her a few dollars just to get here. I had offered to pick her up, but she said she would meet me. Perhaps she did not want me to know where she lived. A former methamphetamine user, she had started using opioid pills and had been on methadone for the last few months but could no longer afford the daily dosage. She was dependent on friends who would share their take-home methadone or other pain pills with her, and just about any other drug she could get to help ease her withdrawal symptoms. With little or no income, she could not afford private methadone clinics, and fully funded methadone treatment for the poor was not available without Medicaid. I was interested in the phenomenon of switching from methamphetamine (a stimulant) to pain pills and methadone (depressants), a pattern of use I was finding among many of the women. Dot was a good subject for this inquiry. She also needed help obtaining health and social services, and my study was designed to track this process.

Born and raised in the two neighboring counties that made up the outer eastern suburbs of the metropolitan area, Dot moved often within these suburban counties when she was young. As she explained, “I’ve been to about every school in this county [laughs]. Yeah, moving around a lot. Maybe had a handful of homes on my own. We always lived with somebody. Always. So it was pretty rough.” She was an only child and spent time with both parents after they divorced. When I asked how that affected her, she responded,

Horribly, because the two options I had wasn’t all that great. My dad
was an alcoholic and my mom was bipolar. Diagnosed bipolar. She was
also epileptic. It was always, she always came first. Her issues always came
first. And she didn’t bond—she still don’t bond with children. So she

-84-

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