Mom takes anti-heroin message to Wash. streets

Teri Joy holds a sign at Fourth Plain and Andresen in Vancouver, July 11, 2013 (KOIN 6 News)
Teri Joy holds a sign at Fourth Plain and Andresen in Vancouver, July 11, 2013. (KOIN 6 News)

VANCOUVER, Wash. (KOIN) — A Vancouver mother is getting a lot of attention with the sign she has been holding up at local intersections. It reads “Please stop giving my kids money for heroin.”

That woman spent her afternoon at the intersection of E. 4th Plain Boulevard and Andresen Road. The move came after she saw, yet again, something she did not like: her step-son and his pregnant girlfriend asking for money near Interstate 5 in Hazel Dell.

Her son, said step-mom Teri Joy, is addicted to heroin.

“So I swore when I see them out here, I’m gonna come,” Joy said. “I keep the box in my trunk.”

Why the effort? “I don’t want to go home and do nothing anymore,” she said.

The 52-year-old mother has been doing this for the past month and a half, trying to stop passerby’s from giving money to her children or their friends on drugs.

“There was a grand-daughter born and she was born addicted,” Joy told KOIN 6 News. “And that’s part of my anger: if a 3-day-old baby has to withdraw, why don’t they make the parents withdraw?”

Nathan Hill and Alex Buchanan do not know Teri Joy. They were panhandling nearby Wednesday as Joy pulled out her sign.

“I’m not a junky,” Hill said. “I’m not trying to get drugs. I’m just out here trying to survive.”

And Hill said Joy’s message has angered many on this east Vancouver corner.

“I get called a lot of names,” Joy said. “I’ve been told to watch my back and that’s fine. They’re frustrated they’re not getting any money right now. I’m stopping it.”

Despite the opposition, Joy said there has been even more support from people driving by.

“It’s a good idea, if it works,” one passerby told KOIN 6 News. “Definitely.”

Joy said she is not opposed to food or water being given to her children, she believes no money or anything that can be sold for money should be donated to those hooked on drugs.

She said she plans to be back out again. At this point, she said, she may even have others joining her.

“If I can stop one person from giving a dollar,” she said, “yeah, I did something today.”

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