Carmen, age 40, was named after the barangay (village or neighborhood) in the city, Cagayan de Oro, where she was born. It is in that same barangay where she became involved in drugs.
“I first tried drugs at age 20 because I was curious; then I became a regular user,” said Carmen.
Carmen married and had a son. Then her husband died in an encounter with police because he was selling drugs. “I woke up one day and asked myself ‘what will happen to my son?’”
To avoid the temptation of using drugs, at age 23, Carmen and her son moved from her barangay to the capital city, Manila, to live and work. For 10 years, she stayed clean. After ten years, she returned to Cagayan de Oro and remarried. Unfortunately, her second husband was also involved with drugs and ended up in jail.
“My life became very complicated when my (second) husband was imprisoned and I started using drugs again. It was worse this time because I was selling drugs too.”