The world was privy to Whitney’s public struggle with substance abuse after she married bad boy Bobby Brown. It became blatantly obvious she was having problems during her “crack is whack“ interview with Diane Sawyer in ’02. When I first heard about her death Saturday on Twitter, I couldn’t believe it! Within seconds, every trending topic was related to ‘RIP Whitney’ so I knew it was true. My initial thoughts were A. It’s sad to lose a talent like Whitney Houston B. She had such a beautiful voice and what a terrible loss for her daughter C. Why did she have to start doing drugs? I thought about how difficult it is to see people get addicted to DRUGS whether it’s on Intervention or in real life.
Then, I thought about Ann…
Who is Ann?
She’s a homeless woman living in San Francisco with one of the worst crack addictions I’ve ever seen. At times I’ve been terrified of her because she screams uncontrollably on the streets yelling at imaginary people while she’s high. Sometimes she has bloody scratches and bruises on her face. I’ve seen her get kicked out of stores because customers are scared of her. Even worse, I’ve seen her nearly hit by cars multiple times standing in the middle of the street howling and contorting her face as if she’s in some sort of nightmarish horror film.
I’m sure thousands of SF residents would recognize her because she’s one of the well known homeless people in the city. But there’s something about Ann that everyone should know…
I’ve talked to her a few times and she’s one of the only homeless people in SF I’ve seen addicted to drugs who I still thought had a chance to get clean. I’d pass her on the sidewalk nearly every day for the past 6 years and then a few months ago, she was gone. I wondered if I’d ever see her again. Suddenly, she re-appeared this January. The day I interviewed her she was calm and seemed sober at that moment. Ann is smart and despite the unthinkable circumstances she’s encountered on the streets, she has a good heart. The last thing she worries about in the morning is hair or makeup and she’s about 90 pounds as drugs have ravaged her body. She’s also almost the exact same age as Whitney Houston.
Here is my Interview with Ann in SF below:
The last thing I told her is that I truly wish her the best and that I hope she gets clean one day. She said “Thank you,” and she appreciated talking. The reality is she’s so heavily addicted to crack (which she told my friends and I last year), that it’s doubtful she’ll ever recover in a SF homeless outreach program (aka Methadone clinic). Her only slim chance might be a center the caliber of a Betty Ford Clinic or Cirque Lodge which are SUPER expensive celeb rehab hotspots. But how would that happen when Ann has no money? I saw her a few days ago walking down a side street with a couple other homeless men and it was clear she was on drugs. :(