Teens: Life on the Street: Danny, Bonnie

The Hollywood Dream?

"I'm from Denver, Colorado," Bonnie says. "I'm out here looking for a way out of the stereotypical life that everyone follows and has planned out for them: school, high school, job, family, kids."

Danny and Bonnie head to Hollywood Boulevard. Danny plays the guitar for passersby and receives about $3 in tips.

Dr. Phil cameras follow the teens as they try to make some money.

 

After collecting some cash, Bonnie makes a phone call, trying to score heroin. They head to what they call "the scariest mission" to pick up the drugs, and then Bonnie shoots up in a bathroom. "It's extremely hard to quit," she says. "Heroin eats away at your bones."

Because they missed the last subway train, they wait at a bus station to make their way back to Hollywood.

Bonnie, high on drugs, recounts what she's lost since choosing to live on the streets. "My dad was always like, he's so nit-picky, and the fact that I always lost things bothered him so much," she says. "And he always got so mad at me. ‘Learn to not lose things.'" She wipes her tears away. "It sounds stupid but it's something he wanted me to do, so I want to be able to do it. I've lost almost everything I've brought out here. I had a phone, I had an iPod, I had money saved up from when I came out here from Denver, but it's all gone."

[AD]After arriving back in Hollywood, Danny and Bonnie settle down for sleep by a fence.

"It doesn't really matter if we get stuck anywhere, because we're not really going anywhere ever," Bonnie says. "Normally, just getting drugs, doing drugs, playing guitar. I'm not scared. I love going through life knowing that I could've died. I don't know; it's the thrill I guess. But I don't want to die because my family loves me, and they would be upset."

Dr. Phil correspondent Kelly Osbourne meets with the teens on the street and asks about their home life before they left.

Danny explains that he got in trouble with the law and ended up in juvenile hall. His mother abandoned him there, and he eventually landed in foster care. "I found this foster mother who really liked me, loved me, like real motherly love. She was about ready to adopt me and everything, get me set up going to college and all that, and she died in a motorcycle accident. So, I came out to California to do what I like to do and find out what I'm best at," he says.

Bonnie explains why she came to Hollywood. "I'm actually addicted to heroin right now, and I have a 17-year-old little sister, and it's really important to me that she's not around that," she tells Kelly.

"Were you using heroin before you came?" Kelly asks.

"Yeah. I have two very good parents. My parents knew the whole situation, and it just broke their hearts, and so I didn't want that around them," she says.

"So, am I wrong in saying that part of the reason why you wanted to leave was because of the guilt you were feeling because you have the love of your addiction, and the love of your family, and you don't want them to get hurt by it?" Kelly asks.

"Yeah, a huge part," Bonnie says.

Kelly asks them where they find money. They explain that they play guitar and sing for change. They say they're just happy that they haven't had to trade sex for money yet, like others they know.

"Considered it," Danny says.

"Yeah, considered it," Bonnie says.

"Where do you keep your stuff?" Kelly asks. "Do you carry it around with you all the time?"

Danny explains they find places to stash it if they can't carry it all day. Bonnie says they have to stay moving because they keep getting citations for sitting on the sidewalk. Danny laughs. "Why would they expect a bum to pay a ticket?"

[AD]Kelly asks where they sleep, and the couple shows her one of their spots: a street right next to a noisy freeway.

"Sleeping on the ground is not too bad, because we're exhausted by the time we sleep, because that's all we do is walk and carry around this big pack," Bonnie says.

The couple explains why they won't stay in shelters and where they go to get clean.

Kelly joins Dr. Phil. She tells him that meeting the homeless teens has made an impact on her. "I haven't been able to stop thinking about them. I've not been able to stop plotting ways that I can try and help them. As well as My Friend's Place. I think the organization is just amazing," she says.

Dr. Phil guesses that a lot of people are wondering why Bonnie would choose the streets when she says she has very loving parents. "What was in her mind about what was so bad there that this alternative would be better?" he asks.

"My honest opinion is that it wasn't bad; she just wants to do drugs. And she knows that when she's not at home, she doesn't have to wake up and hate herself even more for it because she's not faced with staring at herself through her family's eyes," Kelly says.

Kelly says she spoke with Bonnie about her own history of drug abuse and how she got clean. "It was something that seemed like a very, very foreign concept to her. She couldn't understand how you can just stop, because when you get introduced into drugs, yes, it seems like fun, but then when you get addicted, you have this feeling of ‘This is it, for the rest of my life, I'm going to be this way forever.' And a lot of people who've never been introduced to AA or NA don't know that that's there to help you stop."

Dr. Phil brings up Danny's history as a foster kid. A lot of foster kids age out of the system and then have nowhere to go and no resources to help them. "Robin and I are national spokespersons for CASA, court-appointed special advocates for foster children, so we work in that system a lot, and he got a wonderful foster mother who he loved and loved him and wanted to adopt him, and then she was killed in a wreck before she could do it, and he starts the bounce again, and again, and again until he bounced here," he says.

"And I think that he's replaced the want for a strong female figure in his life with Bonnie, because he has to help Bonnie get her drugs every single day, so it makes him feel needed, it makes him feel he can look out for someone and protect someone," Kelly says.

[AD]Danny and Bonnie told Kelly they don't like to stay in shelters because pimps and drug dealers hang out there, waiting to intercept the homeless kids before they go in. Kelly says she wasn't surprised. "When you're a dealer living in the shelter, you know it's going to be a constant flow of money if you get a kid addicted to it," she says.