Longform

Methology - Part II

Page 3 of 7

"I was tweaking in that one," she says. "Look at those eyes. Scary. You can't see the big, dark circles under them. I was real pale. And I was a real bitch."

The card says DeiDra turned 18 on November 5. Two days later, she gave birth to Avery Austin. They're both lucky to be alive.

Before she became a legal adult, DeiDra was a methamphetamine dealer, miscarried twins, was expelled from school, ran away from home, got shot, did time in a juvenile detention center, and got pregnant again.

DeiDra says she hates what her meth habit did to her, and to those around her, especially her mother. But she is refreshingly open about the drug's allure.

"Being on meth, you can get stuff done if you keep after it," she says. "You can be with it, alert. You think you're going big places."

The only place meth took DeiDra, though, was down.
Her world wisdom belies her ninth-grade education. Her story, which juvenile officials confirm, defies the sharp-witted, healthy-looking young woman she is.

Born in Galveston, Texas, she moved to Scottsdale with her mother at the age of 10. By the time DeiDra turned 13, her mom was working nights, which allowed the new teenager more freedom than she could handle. She started ditching classes, smoking cigarettes and drinking.

"Got drunk on Jack Daniel's the first time," she recalls. "It was pretty cool."

From there it was pot, then acid.
At 15, she ran away from home with a boyfriend. Soon after she split, she says, she snorted meth for the first time.

"We went to a place in Scottsdale and there were lines sitting there on a mirror. I did it, and I liked it. 'This is the drug for me.' I tweaked for days. I liked all the weight I was losing--I lost about 30 pounds just like that--and I liked the high, being very much there."

DeiDra's mother found her after two weeks and yanked her into a car.
"I remember what she said. 'You're doing drugs!' 'No, I'm not!'--all that typical crap," DeiDra recalls.

DeiDra got pregnant at 15, though she says she didn't know it until the fourth month. She did meth until she found out. Then she miscarried.

"It was the drugs," she says. "I know it, and I have to live with it."
DeiDra ingested meth every way possible, she says, except by injection. Once, someone put a gram--a huge amount--into a capsule and gave it to her.

"I thought I was seeing devils," she says. "I stayed in a bathroom for eight hours, no kidding. People were trying to get in there, but I held the door back. It was almost as bad as coming down off of a binge."

DeiDra attended Sahuaro High for about a month as a sophomore, but was expelled for smoking cigarettes "and other stupid stuff."

She started dealing meth at 16 with a 28-year-old man--"Not a boyfriend," she says--she'd met along the way.

"We concentrated on Scottsdale and north Scottsdale, real hot spots. I sold to a lot of parents. Sometimes we'd all get high together--kids, parents and me, the dealer. I was up all the time, because tweakers are like werewolves--they're nighttime people. That's when you make your money."

DeiDra's arrangement with her meth source was basic: He'd front her whatever amount she needed. She and her partner kept half of the proceeds, plus "personal"--enough meth to keep them both high. She spent whatever she earned--as much as $2,000 a day, DeiDra says--on clothes and fast times.

Her source lived in Scottsdale, DeiDra says, but he wasn't a cook. She didn't know where he got the meth, and she didn't want to know.

In 1996, DeiDra was shot outside the Atomic Cafe in Scottsdale, an innocent victim, she says, of a clash between people she didn't know.

She points to a blotch of scar tissue below her right knee.
"Hit me right there," she says.
DeiDra was bleeding badly, but she had the presence of mind to toss her stash to her partner before help arrived. "I had just gotten shot," she says. "I didn't want to go to jail."

She left the hospital in a leg brace and crutches after a few days and "got right back to my job, dealing."

A month later, police busted DeiDra and her partner for possession of meth. She was released on house arrest after she vowed to stay at her mother's place.

"I was straight for a little while, then I ran away," she says. "I knew what was going to come down on me, but I didn't care. Whatever happened, happened."

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