Excerpt from TDDUP ‘Meet Ms. Heroin’


‘Meet Ms. Heroin’

My heart begins to race, the hairs on the back of my neck stand at attention. My body temperature rises. The decision is already made, the bill is in my hand, and there are no questions left to ask. I can’t stop the arousal I feel inside, my body eagerly awaits this new experience. My leg starts shaking, but Keith can’t tell.

I swallow hard, pushing any small skepticism deep down. Keith watches, trying to act casual, but unknowingly smirks in anticipation. I lean in halfway, before glancing back at Keith. He sniffles and says, “It’s fine,” waiving me off. I go in all the way, and strongly suck up the remaining half line. I turn my head from the dope, coughing uncontrollably, and fight off my weak gag reflex, before gaining my composure.

snort-a-skelington

Tilting my head back, I suck in one last time, then head to the fridge. I look back cringing, “Ugh,” shaking my head, “tastes like sssh-it!”

Keith follows, “Huh well, so do the pills, right?” his grin turns to laughter.

We high-five, but I purposefully smack his hand with much more force. “Ah, fucking asshole,” he yells. I grab a can of Pepsi, hand still tingling, and go to the back deck. The sun is already over the trees. My eye’s water, I sneeze, then sit down and lay my head back. My hands run over my pant pockets, finally pulling out a cigarette. I take a drag, feeling, listening, attempting to get a sense of this strange new substance now coursing through me.

My stomach starts to sway. In an instant, my eyelids get heavy, blood is boiling, and orientation off. I again bring the cigarette up to my lips. Keith comes out the side door, I sniff, turn to face him, and the chalky dirty heroin slides down the back of my throat. I lunge off the deck and expel my breakfast onto the lush green lawn.

Before I can lift my head, I am met by the comforts of my future wife. My unsettled stomach, relaxes. She wraps her arms around me. I feel safe, happy, peaceful. I slowly stumble back to the chair and plop down. All stress is dashed away; I’m floating on air. It feels like I can breathe for the first time in my entire life! The warm rays of the sun take me far away, somewhere deep in my head. Palm trees, waves crashing, birds overhead, calm, relaxed, silence.

“Tis?! . . . Urtis?! . . . Curtis?!” Keith shouts, finally bringing me back into reality.

I shake my head, “Yeah, yup,” my hand swings knocking the bottle of tanning oil off the table, before mumbling, “I’m here.”

“Pretty sick huh?” Keith asks, half laughing and completely high.

I turn to respond, but doing so sends my stomach sailing. I quickly make it for the lawn, before vomiting again and again. On all fours now, spit and bile dangle from my mouth, my eyes water. I gain my senses, look up at Keith, and smile big, “This is awesome!” I say with an emphatic nod. My head hangs low, I spit the stray saliva and chunks to the side, and mutter to myself, “Awesome. Fucking awesome.”

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Look in the Mirror

A monster has escaped the dark streets of the inner city. It lurks undetected in the suburbs now, preying on the souls of the innocent.

What picture comes to mind when I say,”Junkie?”

Do you see a scruffy unkempt man or woman in dirty clothes? Are they desperately begging for change or shooting up dope in some dark alley? Are they homeless or crazy? Does a foul stink follow behind them? Is the person wandering the street with an emotionless stare?

This is an image we’ve all carried with us since the D.A.R.E. programs were implemented in elementary school. Images and stories we get from the Internet or the local news only add to this belief. This is an image we need to shatter.

To see the new face of addiction . . . Simply look in the mirror.

lookinmirror

Addiction has infiltrated the security that the suburbs used to provide. A junkie might be your neighbor or your best friend. It could be your doctor, the lawyer, or even the judge. The monster, that is addiction, does not care who you are or what you do for a living. Addicts are getting younger and younger. Teens and young adults sneak into bathrooms and look behind the medicine cabinet mirror.

The middle class accepts pills, because a doctor is the drug dealer, therefor they must be safe. Pills don’t carry the stigma of heroin or crack. You swallow a capsule, as directed, and forget about it.  Drugs, in the form of prescription pills can be found easily in the suburbs, where healthcare is commonplace, as well as good jobs, and plenty of money.

You might say, “So what, pills are different.”

Research is now showing that prescription opioids are a key gateway drug for teenagers who begin to use heroin. The Center for Disease Control has reported that one in eight high school seniors will use painkillers without a prescription.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the number of teenagers between the ages of 12 and 17 introduced to heroin has grown by 80 percent since 2002. The number of heroin-related deaths has also more than doubled among young adults. The vast majority – close to 90 percent – of teen heroin addicts are white, and many reside in the safe haven of the suburbs.

This problem is two fold. The new gateway drug is prescriptions pills, which are almost exclusively found in the ‘burbs. Combine this with the outdated image of a junkie stuck in our heads, and we have the makings of a perfect assassin. One that could kill your brother, sister, son, daughter, or best friend, before you even know there’s a problem.

Today’s junkie may look like me – a tall, clean-cut, white man in glasses, wearing a button up shirt and V-neck sweater. He or she may smell nice, may have a good job, and pay their bills on time. Today’s junkie may have a nice house in a safe subdivision. They may never, at any point, appear to have a drug problem . . . Until it’s too late!

Sources:

CDC

Drug Use and Addiction in the Suburbs

America’s Candy

Americas CandyWe Americans are great at consuming things. We are wasteful beyond belief and devour our resources without a second thought – I fully include myself in this group. Still, I am blown away by the wild numbers of prescription pills we consume as a population, especially painkillers. Are we all depressed, anxious, unfocused, suicidal, or in pain?

The United States makes up only 4.6 percent of the world’s population, but consumes 80 percent of its opioids — and 99 percent of the world’s hydrocodone, the opiate that is in Vicodin.

Prescription painkillers are now the leading cause of accidental death in the United States, with deaths by overdose tripling in the last 30 years and overtaking car crashes for the first time.

These numbers are scary, and likely under reported. I wish we asked our doctors more question, and did more of our own research. I wish we all took more responsibility for ourselves and our children. Although doctors are at least partially to blame, we are allowed to say no. We are allowed to question the medications being prescribed. We are capable of tolerating pain. Why then, are we all prescribed or self medicating with something?

The numbers get worse, I will post some other figures on this topic in the near future.

Sources:

Painkiller Abuse

Center for Disease Control and Prevention

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