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A Decade Of Dope: One Woman Recalls Seeking Out Heroin

Woman's Voices prison dayton correctional
Juliet Fromholt

Aimee Wissman is three years into an eight-year sentence at Dayton Correctional Institution for crimes related to her heroin addiction. As an artist, she idolized famous musicians and writers who were known heroin addicts, and she thought that particular drug would be her ticket into their glamorous lifestyle.

In this story, Aimee Wissman is interviewed by fellow DCI resident Melody Williams about her decade of drug addiction.

Highlights from the audio:

“So I just kind of started using drugs in a really casual way, but I honestly kind of sought heroin out. And I think a lot of people maybe don’t have that story, but I was so passionate about art and writing. My idols all did heroin you know. I thought I was going to be William S Burroughs or something. Or Jack Kerouac...for me it was glamourous.”

“You know, if I had seen a movie about a rocks star’s descent into heroin I think that still would have been romantic and glamorous to me, but maybe if I would have seen someone in detox puking all over themselves that maybe would have been a little more vivid.”

“People ask me now, a lot how I’m going to be involved in this recovery community and preventing young kids from getting on heroin and stuff. And I think about me at that age and I’m like...you couldn’t have told me anything.”


Women’s Voices at Dayton Correctional Institution is a series of stories based on WYSO’s Community Voices class at the prison on the west side. WYSO selected 10 incarcerated women through a competitive application process, and taught them interviewing, storytelling and recording skills. The series is produced and mixed by managing editor Lewis Wallace and Community Voices producer Renee Wilde, with volunteer support from Community Voices graduate Dr. Venita Kelley and editorial input from general manager Neenah Ellis.

Renee Wilde was part of the 2013 Community Voices class, allowing her to combine a passion for storytelling and love of public radio. She started out as a volunteer at the radio station, creating the weekly WYSO Community Calendar and co-producing Women’s Voices from the Dayton Correctional Institution - winner of the 2017 PRINDI award for best long-form documentary. She also had the top two highest ranked stories on the WYSO website in one year with Why So Curious features. Renee produced WYSO’s series County Lines which takes listeners down back roads and into small towns throughout southwestern Ohio, and created Agraria’s Grounded Hope podcast exploring the past, present and future of agriculture in Ohio through a regenerative lens. Her stories have been featured on NPR, Harvest Public Media and Indiana Public Radio.
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