Word on the Streets

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‘Butch’ sells the Big Issue in Summertown and on Broad Street. He has been homeless for six years and is on a drug rehabilitation programme.“My real name’s Butcher. I’ve got two dogs, Bandit and Mandosa. don’t care if people say I have them to get a sympathy vote. They help me, but that’s not what they’re there for. I love dogs and I’ve had them all my life. They’re all I’ve got.
I think the people here are a bit snobbish. Some are alright once you get to know them, but most don’t make the effort. I don’t lie. I tell them I was a drug addict. I moved up here to be with a girl but that split up and I got into drugs. That was my worst mistake.
I don’t think it’s unfair to say that most homeless people are drug addicts. I think they are. I know they are: I live with them. They just don’t admit it. They’re in big denial. That’s where all the money goes. I can get all my food for free so the only reason I am standing here is drugs. There’s no point in denying it. I am what I am. You’re never going to get better until you face up to what you are.
What we need is more rehab centres. Proper ones, somewhere you can go and live just to come off, none of this bullshit therapy stuff. There are some, but they take too long to get into. By the time you’re in you’ve given up and I’ve given up giving up. I’ve come round full circle. I’m from Suffolk but I can’t go back until I’m off the gear. It’d be too embarrassing in front of my friends. I’m on a methadone programme at the moment but I’m trying to get off it. I’m cutting down every fortnight. I used to have my own business, making and selling chess sets so want to go back to where I come from and start all over again.”
ARCHIVE: 4th week TT 2003

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