A Requiem for ‘Snake,’ Who Lived and Died on the Streets of Austin

“It’s definitely a true demon.”

By Joy DiazFebruary 7, 2017 9:11 am,

On the street, friends called him Snake. Most didn’t call him anything at all. He was one of the many people who are homeless and often invisible to the rest of us.

For months, Texas Standard’s Joy Diaz has been following the story of a homeless couple struggling with addiction and other family issues. Snake was one of their friends, struggling with addiction problems of his own. On Jan. 23rd, Snake – born Billy Franchina – lost that struggle.

He spoke to Diaz about addiction.

Once you’re addicted, your body goes through changes, Franchina said. Even when you feel well, you’re not really well.

“You try to stop for a day and it’s so hard. It’s like the worst flu you could ever have,” he said. “It’s definitely a true demon. It’s mental … it’s everything.”

But addiction can be overcome, he said.

“I really had to sit down and analyze myself and try to understand the addiction.”