'It's been hell digging myself out of this hole,' says Lorie Mann, a 43-year-old mother of two who became addicted to meth a year and a half ago when she befriended a ring of identity thieves. While she was on drugs, her daughter prohibited her from visits with her granddaughter.
Her trailer in outer Southeast Portland became the delivery center for stolen goods until police busted the operation in January.
'I let them take advantage of me, not realizing they were in it for themselves,' she says. 'They stole my stuff, they told me they'd take care of me. É I always believed they really did care about me, but they didn't.'
'It gave me energy; it made me feel good,' says Cory Wheeler, 33, arrested last week by Portland police on an outstanding drug possession warrant in Clackamas County. Wheeler says he used meth for about 10 years, going through drug treatment programs at least five times.
But once he returned to the street, he was surrounded by it again. After his marriage fell apart, 'the only people I know where I can stay are down and out,' he says. He is currently homeless but hopes to get his life on track.
'You're 10 feet tall and indestructible, you know,' says Violet (no last name given), 35, of Southeast Portland. She says she became hooked on meth at age 25 when she worked at a local Toyota factory.
'I used just about every day, for 10 years. (Once) I worked 14 hours a day, for 42 days straight. I don't know if I could've done that and not been high.'
She says she recently has kicked the habit, but it hasn't been easy. 'As you get older, the body starts to tear down, and the pain is unbelievable.'