Liz Cohen remembers the exact moment she gave in to heroin. Sitting in a rundown motel room with her boyfriend and starting to feel the intense pains of withdrawal, she says she begged him to get her more drugs. But when he told her that all he could give her was heroin, she balked. Up until that point she’d stuck to prescription painkillers like Vicodin and Oxycontin, uppers like cocaine and speed, and drinking—heroin, she says, was the line she wouldn’t cross.
“In my mind, I wasn’t really a drug addict, I was just a girl who liked to party. But heroin was serious, heroin was for junkies on the street,” she says. “So I told my boyfriend, ‘No, anything but that. We promised we’d never do that.’”
His reply shocked her. “You’ve already been doing heroin for months,” he said bluntly, explaining that while she’d thought the powder she was snorting was crushed-up painkillers it turns out he’d been giving her the cheaper narcotic heroin, instead. And, he added, he knew a faster, easier way to get the high she so desperately craved. He handed her a needle.
“I was devastated, I’d become what I’d always said I wouldn’t be,” she says. But that feeling disappeared quickly. “The second I stuck the needle in my arm, the whole game changed. I was in love. Heroin became my life, my love, my everything.”
A popular, pretty, former high school…