Life On The Streets: Miracle's Story

At 21, Miracle Draven is a crystal meth abuser who has lived on the streets of Portland, Ore. for the past four years. Independent producer Dmae Roberts brings us this story about a day in the life of Miracle.

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ALEX COHEN, host:

From NPR News, it's Day to Day. At any given time, about 1,000 kids are homeless and living on the streets in downtown Portland, Oregon. They can be driven to the streets because of physical or sexual abuse at home, or because their parents don't accept their sexual identity, or maybe they're addicted to drugs or alcohol. In the case of 21-year-old Miracle Draven, it was all of the above, and more, that put her on the streets for the past four years. Here's Miracle.

Ms. MIRACLE DRAVEN: A day on the street would be waking up at Greenhouse(ph)...

Bitch about what food we didn't want to eat...

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. DRAVEN: And how much food we didn't have. I probably leave there about eight-ish.

Because they kicked us all out.

And the only way to stay was to do chores. I mean, you know, I'm not going to do chores. So, we left.

We used to kick it at this place we called Paranoia Park after that.

Usually - and usually - and usually one of my friends who didn't stay at the shelter...

One of my family members who - somebody I called would come down with a new thing of drugs, which is just the bags that we saw.

And that's all we did all day. And that's all we did all day, just find people to sell drugs to.

Yeah.

And so we sell - we sell crystal meth and that was all we ever sold and that was all we did.

If we - there comes a day when we were sick, then we'd probably kick it up at Outside In; it's one of the clinics and drop-in centers.

I don't know if they really knew we had our drugs on us or not, but we usually always did.

And some of us had bikes and some of us didn't stay at the shelters, like, we'd stay at the squats or whatever. And if you're staying to squat, then you woke up whenever you woke up and then you'd come downtown.

A squat is basically - it's like camping...

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. DRAVEN: But it's like camping without the luxury of, like, a sleeping bag or a tent or anything like that. It's really just camping.

Sometimes, abandoned houses or houses that they're trying to (unintelligible) down or whatnot or under bridges or...

But basically it's just anywhere you're safe at night, where you can go to sleep without kind of...

And then you have to re-up, and when we re-up, it just means re-upping our dope supplies, how much we have.

If you actually do the drugs you sell, which I did, then you have to do your shot, which takes, like, ever because then you have to find somewhere to do it and make sure you have all the stuff. And then, you have to walk up and down the streets and just find people to sell stuff to.

You guys holding anything? We'd be like, yeah, what's you looking for?

You know, and everybody just happened to be looking for what we had, we'd take a little walk.

You know, sell what I had to sell, get what I had to get and go.

You don't eat when you're on crystal. Your appetite is suppressed. That's why you get so skinny because you're really - you're really just not hungry. You don't even notice that you're not hungry; you're just not hungry.

I think my number-one thing that I always ate was Pepsi, always Pepsi. I still do that.

Star Crunch, which is a Little Debbie snack that cost 25 cents, because I spend my dealer's money, so I have to scrounge up my own money.

That was, like, all I ate. That was, like, all I ate.

When you're out there dealing and doing whatever you're doing and selling it and everything, it could take up to two weeks before you actually fall asleep.

Every time you get tired, you just take another hit, you know, or snitch out of some of the bags or whatever and create another hit. Whatever you have to do.

You can't fall asleep; you've got to sell as much as you can...

Or you're going to be sick because you're not getting any drugs, so you have to start...

But when you're really high, you don't get cold because your heart rate is going so fast that you're sweating all the time, so you won't get cold. It could have been snow...

Sleeping on the concrete, the cold is - actually turns into warmth...

You know, like, you could sleep on concrete every day in your life, and if you try to sleep on a warm bed, you wouldn't be able to sleep because it's not cold.

(Soundbite of music)

COHEN: Our story, Miracle on the Streets, came to us from independent producer Dmae Roberts and the NPR program Hearing Voices.

(Soundbite of music)

COHEN: Coming up in the program, we switch gears a bit and get funny with "Saturday Night Live's" Andy Samberg. Samberg and two other very funny dudes are the band Lonely Island. They have a new album; it's called "Incredibad." Maybe that means songs so bad that they're good. Our critic Andrew Wallenstein brings us a review. That's coming up later on in the program.

(Soundbite of music)

COHEN: Day to Day returns in a moment.

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