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It’s rare, but sometimes I interrupt my regularly scheduled blogcast for a more pressing issue. I wanted to post about the fashion at the Grammy’s, Adele’s amazing night and Nicki Minaj’s slightly psycho performance. But Whitney Houston’s untimely passing was on every one’s mind and while people are speculating that drugs contributed to her death at age 48, we’re still asking how could this happen?

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.  🙁

What are your thoughts on any of this? Were you surprised by Whitney Houston’s death? It seems like every year Hollywood stars die too young and the toxicology reports always come back with some sort of deadly cocktail. The same drug abuse is happening all over the country.
I’ll be back in a couple days with a nice light-hearted topic 🙂

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  1. its very sad that famous people don’t seem to have real friends around them who they can trust…
    i sadly cannot watch the video…

  2. Rasonda @ Lake Cottage Dreams says:

    This is a great AND important post Dale!! I have unfortunately known way too many people in my life who have been affected by drugs and alcohol. It is a hard, sad, and very dangerous life. A lot of people are angry at the attention that Whitney has gotten because she was famous, when non celebrities die every day from addiction. Regardless of that, she was a mother, a daughter, a friend, a sister etc and it is horrible for ANY life to be lost to drugs. Being a child of the late eighties I have to admit that Whitney was a HUGE part of my life. I danced my butt off in my bedroom to “I Just Want To Dance With Somebody,” my girlfriends and I created dance routines to “How WIll I know,” I sang “Greatest Love of All” in show choir. I cried to “Didn’t we Almost Have it All” and “I will Always Love You” during my oh so dramatic boy troubles. I loved her movies and cherished her music. She was a beautiful woman with a huge presence and megawatt smile and it was all taken away because of drugs and addiction. Not only does this seem to be happening frequently in Hollywood but every day on the streets. I think a lot of people believe that because its prescribed by a doctor that it is ok and obviously it is not. Hopefully a lesson will be learned here. No one invincible and death is so final and devastating.

  3. hey hun 🙂 th evideo doesnt work. i tried clicking on it but it dsnt do anything. it looks like a plain picture, not a vid!
    have agreat evening hun! 🙂
    xoxo Inna

  4. Great post! This is so sad how drugs can ruin people like that. I am still in shock that Whitney Houston is dead!

  5. Hi Dale, I was utterly shocked to see hear that Whitney passed away, but I still suspect that it had to do with substance abuse… it’s so sad to see that the most talented of people cannot save themselves, not even money could save her 🙁

    I’m so glad that you have highlighted Ann, I tried to click on the interview but it didn’t play… however it reminded me that all of us know someone or someone that knows someone who has fallen into the abyss of addiction. It’s so unfortunate that such great people can let drugs decide their fate 🙁


  6. Sandy at Ooh La Frou Frou says:

    It’s heartbreaking how drugs ruins beautiful lives. Such a terrible waste … I still can’t believe that Whitney is gone. I’m sure that Ann feels your compassion. The sad thing is that no matter how much we care, the drug keeps them bound so tightly. ~xoSM

    Sandy at Ooh La Frou Frou

  7. it’s heartbreaking it really is. an absolute waste.

  8. Alexis the Honey B says:

    Whitney is another cautionary tale of what happens when limits don’t exist. Devastating? Yes. Suprising? No. So tragic.

  9. winetastegirl.com says:

    I give you a lot of credit for taking the time to talk to Ann and to try to make a difference in her life. Good for you! So many of us would just walk right by her without taking the time to stop.

  10. The highs and the lows of been a celebrity. This was so tragic!


  11. Dale, I really appreciate that you took the time to interview Ann. I work at a nonprofit that helps homeless San Francisco residents with their government benefits, food stamps, housing, etc. and people like Ann walk in all day. Intelligent, good people with lots of potential who just got lost along the way. I hope that she can find her way and get sober!!! So many do not 🙁 So sad about Whitney, too.



  12. Vanisha @ Vanishas Life In...Australia says:

    How beautiful that you stopped and talked to Ann. I work with children who have dropped out of school, some end up on the streets, some really young ones end up in prostitution. Many I have spoken to have said ‘curiosity’ as well. What do you do? What can you do? 🙁

    PS I bought that clutch at Target Australia, I hope you can find it…

  13. I watched some family member go down the meth road and it was sad. They were not as smart as Ann seems but they have been clean now for over four years. It’s so heart breaking thought.

  14. RaspberryBlonde says:

    It’s so sad to see one of the greatest voices ever pass away like that.. Especially leaving behind a daughter etc.
    It’s so nice of you to bring somebody like Ann to everyone’s attention. I hope she gets clean one day.

  15. Sehar Bique says:

    Its really nice of you to touch such a topic. It’s heart wrenching to see people get all the fame and publicity and love from people but no real friends to guide them onto the right path!
    And for Ann, I do hope she gets clean someday


  16. Fashion, Art and other fancies says:

    People die daily who know one cares about because they are not “famous” – it’s sad that Whitney went down this road with her then Husband. Some men can lead one to one’s death.

  17. hi dale… it really is a sad subject.. to be honest when i heard that she had passed.. my immediate thought was drugs.. i know that sounds awful but.. it’s sorta the sad state of the world these days 🙁

  18. Glitter-and-diamonds says:

    This breaks my heart. It’s so sad how people will ruin their lives for that one high that they will never find again. Ugh it’s just makes me sick to my stomach. I surely hope that Ann will one day seek the help she needs. Whitney was such a great artist and will be dearly missed! Great post!

  19. Such a sad time. A great a talent was lost to what we all assume was drugs. And a tragic video…hard to watch. I’m your newest follower!

  20. Kim (A Very Sweet Blog) says:

    This problem always seems to start with recreational drug use and then turns into addiction. I always look for the solutions to these kinds of problems. A lot of funding for programs that could help Ann have been severely cut. For her to have the education and background she does, there is no way society should’ve let her stay on the streets for 10+ years. That makes me so mad! If she would receive the proper treatment and care she could function in this society. The care is out there! But unfortunately not the funding for the programs she needs. It’s horrendous! It truly makes me sick. With Whitney, I expected her to die much sooner. I think her death was accidental. Just a truly bad mix of the wrong prescription drugs mixed together. Anyone of us could do that with the prescription drugs we have in our own home. It’s important not to mix them. Toxicology reports will tell us exactly what was in her system. Excellent post Dale.

  21. Crack is whack – if anything can come of the Whitney story, it’s an example to everyone that there can be so much success, potential, etc. that can just be wasted through drugs…

  22. I’m lucky that I’ve never been curious about drugs. And when I see how it affects people, it makes me wonder why anyone would even WANT to do drugs. It’s so sad.
    We’ll have to wait to see what the toxicology report says on Whitney, lots of meds don’t mix well together and if she was drinking like everyone says, then that makes is so much worse. She was so, so talented, sad to see her gone.

  23. Glitz Glam Budget says:

    Wow this is a great post, great interview with Ann. Unfortunately a lot of people like Ann can’t find the help they need, some of which don’t want any help. The video was sad, but its a reality which occurs on a daily basis! I applaud you for doing the interview and post!

    I was so shocked about Whitney Houston, i found out through twitter and initially thought it was fake. She had such a lovely voice and so beautiful, she will be missed.

  24. Oh my gosh, how incredibly sad! Wow.
    I was shocked to hear about Whitney Houston as well but then thought, why am I shocked? We all knew something like that was probably coming. Still to hear it, seems surreal. I grew up with her music and idolized her.
    It’s such an awful shame. I feel for her daughter most of all.

    I wish there were better resources out there for the people on our streets that get so swallowed up by drugs, I always wonder what their stories are. I always think about how these people were babies once. They had a momma, where they loved? Were they ever happy? It’s heartbreaking. Great post. xo

  25. Wow- that sounds horrific. To think that Whitney and others despite their fame and fortune go through similar addictions. Sad.

  26. Interwebs Fails says:

    Happy Valentine’s Day! <3

  27. Chanel Tonè says:

    First of all Dale, I incredibly appreciate you bringing up pressing issues that are meaningful and important that involve the current affairs of our society. Prescription drugs have been the hot topic since the death of Whitney Houston and especially since the last massive media alert of Michael Jackson’s death. I have been glued to the television since Saturday watching interview after interview, following report after report trying to make since and watching the unraveling of how this legendary vocal pop artist transcended. Along with also watching other details such as the welfare of her daughter, Bobbi Kristina, her ex-husband, celebrity family, entourage and funeral plans. Speculations from the media and from the public are quick to jump to the suppposed obvious conclusion that Whitney died to substance abuse, even her daughter Bobbi Kristina assumed her mother passed out due to drugs when in fact she had passed away. I can barely stand that it’s going to take 4 to 8 weeks for us to find out what exactly contributed to the death of Whitney but I am still holding on to the faith that substance abuse did not cause this tradegy.

    Make sure that everyday (especially today) you tell the ones you care for and appreciate how much you love them. Happy Valentine’s Day!

    I Luv Ya 😉 ~Chanel

  28. What an interesting post and interview! What’s great about this is that there is so much drug addiction, but people rarely pay attention unless it’s a celebrity that’s affected. But there are so many poor people out there who are addicted and need help too. She actually seems smart in this interview, when she’s sober, saying she love kids and thats why she doesn’t have any. Its just so sad how this can happen to people. Thanks for this post.

  29. I am saddened by Whitney’s passing, but I expected that she might die young. It is a sad truism that substance abuse is common in Hollywood and especially in the music industry. I think people get curious, or there is peer pressure and once they try it, its over. So many similar stories. Natalie Cole is another great singer who battled substance abuse. Her friends and peers in the music industry got her started on it. This cycle is so sad.

  30. Clara Turbay says:

    Good post. I´ll be back here more often.


  31. I love your writing style. What a great interview and very insightful post. I gasped when I read about Whitney. I was very saddened by the news. Dawn Suitcase vignettes xo

  32. Karina Dinda R. says:

    Hello dear ^^ Thank you for following me, follow you back already 🙂

    Karina Dinda R. ♥

  33. simplychic says:

    what a powerful post and an amazing thing you did/are doing with ann. i’m sure you taking the time to talk to her makes her feel special and you never know, something you say or do can be responsible for getting her clean. kudos to you!

  34. Sunny & Star says:

    I truly hope that she receives what she needs to get and stay clean.

  35. thanks for sharinhg x

  36. Lisa - respect the shoes says:

    I’ll miss Whitney as I think of her as the best female vocal ever, but it has been in the news about her “coming back” for years and unfortunately she never had the opportunity.

    I’ve known several people close to me who have/are battling addiction and it is not an easy thing. What I had to learn to understand was that these people can’t “just stop.” It is a sickness and they need help, but I think first they need to be open to getting help. It is a shame though that there are people who want help but don’t have the means to get what their need. Fingers crossed for your friend Ann.

  37. Gracey at Fashion for Giants says:

    Wow, this is a wonderful post. It’s such a tough subject and you handled it with aplomb.

    I can’t wait to read more here!

  38. -------------- says:

    i love this post. maybe her addicted to drug was her way running from her problem. thank for sharing <3
    mind to follow each other dear? ^^


  39. LifeStyle Journal says:

    Hello, thank you very much for following my blog!!!
    I enjoy your blog and of course follow you back.
    Have a wonderful weekend!!!

  40. LifeStyle Journal says:

    I’ve just tried to follow your blog via GFC and it was found that I’m following your blog already 🙂
    I will definitely read your blog more often, it’s really nice!!!

  41. Drugs have ravishing communities like yours and mine since the late 70s early 80s and crack itself has been the most potent deadly. I cried all day when Whitney died, I grew up on her and she was like the cool older sister I never had. ANd yet, her story is no different from many.

    This post was beautiful. Thank you. I am now following you, I hope you follow back.



  42. This is a tough topic and you tackled it well. I wish her well in recovery. It is a hard road and few people walk it.


  43. great post. This is so so sad. It’s terrifying.


  44. So sad to hear all those stories! Drugs can really destroy someone’s life!

    thanks for following me, following you back!


  45. Once upon a time San Francisco had free therapeaudic communities like Synanon (before they went down in shame) and Delancey Street which still is up and running, curing drug addicts. Their claim to fame was that anyone could walk in off th street and get clean if they just followed the house rules and stuck with the program. These places are/were bigger than and more effective than your standard halfway house. There are alternatives still, maybe not as chic as Betty Ford but an option at least. .

  46. ksenia shroder says:

    wonderful blog,dear!

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