If you have something to add, write to me, the Gus and mention "heroin" as at least part of the subject.
Take a survey on drug terminology for a Polish guy's Masters Thesis!
As I type, a reasonably large fraction of my Philadelphia-resident acquaintances met through Big Fun are suffering either from a personal heroin addiction or the addiction of their friends. Those who have never taken heroin are routinely "pressured" into trying it in a way that I had always assumed was guidance-counselor-fictional.
But there is no glory, no coolness in heroin, just as there never was in smoking cigarettes. Heroin makes people into uninspired dullards, full of empty conversation as they lay around complacently. They have no needs, they have no wants because they have heroin. But in addition to being a surrogate for happiness, heroin is also a surrogate for life. And so it disgusts me.
It also disgusted the founders of Big Fun. The ascendance of heroin in Philadelphia and its impact on peers played a role in their decision to escape to rural Virginia, where heroin cannot be obtained. Meanwhile, some who held out against the heroin onslaught but who remained in Philadelphia became so depressed about the addictions of their friends that they themselves ironically turned to heroin as a source of numb solace. And some who had moved to Big Fun found that the absolute lack of heroin in rural Virginia was a cause for great aggravation. And so heroin recalled them.
I don't know what the solution is. I do not believe in drug enforcement and
prohibition. That gives heroin all the alternative-culture credibility that it
doesn't deserve. My solution has been to ridicule the fools who depend on and seek
out heroin. But all I really feel is despair at their wanton waste of this one
chance they have among the living.
Each heroin addict needs his own characteristic maintenance dose to keep from going into withdrawal and becoming ill. This characteristic dose changes over time, generally increasing. When an addict is in possession of uncharacteristically large amounts of money, he is likely to purchase and consume larger than a maintenance dose, allowing him to a enjoy euphoric bliss somewhat similar to his initial experience when first trying heroin. But most heroin purchases are for maintenance, and mostly occur when the addict is already going into withdrawal. For this reason, the purchasing heroin addict is concerned about very little except the moment of consumption. He acts much like a greedy child at the cookie jar once the heroin is in his hot little hands. If he injects heroin, he will have his needle and spoon ready for action, tieing off a vein with any available cordage, dissolving the heroin into any available solvent (usually clean water but sometimes cheap wine and even puddle water are used) and injecting on the spot. If no clean needle is available, a dirty one will not be rejected. One must understand that at this point the addict is in a state of insane desire and the future can be sacrificed for the readily accessible now.
The heroin user considers all money to be potential heroin. Commodities such as food, alcohol, other drugs, activities such as sex, socializing and hobbies are viewed as irrelevant if they do not apply to the task of securing more heroin. Most standards of dignity are lost in many cases; for example, women who are addicted are given to performing prostitutional or semi-prostitutional services in exchange for the money with which heroin can be purchased. From lack of eating, weight is gradually lost. And in one case I know of, an addict is down to defecating only once each week. Meanwhile, to increase the impact of what heroin can be afforded, the addict moves from smoking and snorting heroin to injecting it. After months of injections, the veins become bruised, calloused and raw anywhere they approach the surface and can be accessed by needle. With the experience of injecting heroin, many addicts also begin injecting other drugs with which they are familiar, such as cocaine and even distilled alcohol. Cocaine injections lead to long term damage to veins, leaving behind hard knots that last for weeks.
Thus the addict gradually comes to find himself placed in a pathetic situation that is inconceivable to the non-addict. Isolation from heroin seems to break the cycle only temporarily; addicts know too well the joys of heroin and seem to be unable to go back to the way they were before heroin. All their will power is seemingly destroyed, leaving them powerless and ineffectual in the trendy alternative world that brought them to heroin in the first place.
I know for a fact that several of my friends became junkies because they thought it was somehow "cool." Being from comfortable suburban backgrounds, nothing they had ever done had ever placed them in much danger. But heroin, it had the headlines, it had the stigma. It was the way to be fully bad in a way that cigarettes could never be. Who would have ever imagined that heroin was just another form of slavery?
As for your junkie friends, the best solution for them is also relocation to places where heroin is not easily obtained. Any other "solution" that leaves them with their present peer groups in their present locales does nothing to help them and they will slide back into addiction. I'd like to point out right now that I think commercial "rehabilitation" ventures (which, in exchange for $1000/day/person, claim to be able to treat addiction to drugs and alcohol) are one of the biggest scams in America today, in desperate need of an exposé. Such programs probably have more to do with the current cost of medical insurance than anyone is willing to admit. If insurance companies would pay instead for relocation, rent free, to (I don't know) Lima, Ohio, heroin addiction amongst the insured would be dramatically rolled back at only a small fraction of current costs.
The Opiates --Heroin, Opium, Morphine-the most helpful heroin site on the web.
Hyperreal - the Opiates-links to FAQs on withdrawal, heroin preparation, and how to effectively take opiates.
Heroin Information-a dry, sparce, boring link that despite itself has some information in addition to its skull and cross-bones icon.
Erowid Heroin Page-the Erowid people put together good, uncluttered drug references for the open-minded web surfer. Also: here's where you get to see heroin's molecular structure.
alt.culture: Heroin-a glossy site about heroin, its history, its culture.
Heroin and other Opiates-provides basic information about the psychochemistry of heroin.
Drug Card 1: Heroin-nice pictures of poppies and paraphernalia. Also information about what legal problems heroin can get you into.
Heroin's Tale-a story about a heroin junkie boyfriend.
Opiate/Heroin Information-British heroin laws and more.
How bad is Heroin Withdrawal?-An excerpt from Heroin, Myths and Reality by Jara A. Krivanek pub. 1988, Allen & Unwin. Full of technical details of the pharmacology of heroin withdrawal.
"Homicide" Heroin Reported in Philly-On the bleeding edge of new trends in heroin preparation, Philadelphia is occasionally the setting for bad-batch pandemonium.
HEROIN-A nice little British blurb.
Volodya's story: a life trapped in heroin's twisted embrace -heroin in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Heroin could become a bigger problem, officials say-one of those dorky little distilled government press releases written in fucked-up HTML.
"Bad Heroin" Dangerous Drug Alert-another bad batch of heroin in Philadelphia, Feb. 1996.
HEROIN PROHIBITION IN CANADA-the history of heroin prohibition in Canada.
Heroin-this is an informative page. Comes with the complete lyrics of Lou Reed's annoying song.
swiss heroin-heroin in Switzerland.
Teen Challenge: Heroin-these are the sort of people who, with their anti-drug, pro-God message, make heroin seem kind of cool.
Ethnic Survival in Burma Supported by Heroin Trade-without our continued injection of ever increasing amounts of heroin, another ethnic minority will be snuffed out by the patina of civilization.
Needle Exchange-a FAQ on Needle Exchange in the UK.
Safe Works AIDS project-helpful information about bleaching needles, needle exchange, etc. Based in Minneapolis.
New Haven Needle Exchange Abstract
The Australian Needle Exchange Experience
Needle Exchange Activist Dead of Overdose
Deploring Shalala's Views on Needle Exchange Programs
Needle Exchange Programs Have Doubled Since 1993
Needle Exchange Report
Internal Clinton Administration Needle Exchange Document
Hunter Needle Exchange-a British Needle Exchange. Some info on British needle laws, also.
Needle Exchange Policy
Australian Needle Exchanges
Hyperreal Needle Exchange Info
Does Needle Exchange Work?
1A 36 year old man named Alex reported that heroin was available in the early 1980s in Blacksburg, Virginia. In that case it was smuggled in directly via a foreign connection. But it was not cheap. A "bag" in Blacksburg cost $70, not $10, and it was much less pure than present-day Philadelphia heroin.