If I came back without drugs or money, sometimes he would hit me," Lacey* remembers. "I wasn't the first person to raise a hand—it was always him. I felt obligated to go out and get money. It wasn't just the physical abuse; it was the mental abuse as well. So I'd go out for the both of us, shoplifting to make money. I even sold myself."
Lacey is explaining how the pressure of supplying her ex-boyfriend's drug habit sent her down a path that ultimately ended in prison. Although Lacey was a heroin and crack cocaine user at the time, she believes that if it wasn't for Paul*, she would never have been forced into increasingly dangerous and desperate criminal behavior.
"I had to make ends meet to make sure there were enough drugs for both of us," she says. "There was extra pressure. If I had been on my own, I wouldn't actually have done all of that [sex work and shoplifting]."
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