Citation: Entropy. "Finally Free: experience with Heroin, Opioids (Oxycodone, Methadone, Suboxone) & Kratom (ID 87304)". Erowid.org. Nov 26, 2010. erowid.org/exp/87304
At twenty years of age I had been a full blown opioid addict for almost 5 years. I spent my teen years in Florida, which is rife with practically every addictive drug known to man. At 13 I smoked pot and got drunk for the first time. At 14 I tried hydrocodone for the first time. At 15 I had my first cocaine binges and tried oxycodone for the first time. By 16 I was physiologically addicted to steadily increasing doses of methadone and had tried just about every pharmaceutical opioid prescribed in North America. During my 17th year of life I was using 800mg/day of Oxycontin (400mg 2x/day in the form of crushed and parachuted Oxycontin 80s) or 200-250mg/day of methadone. I ran a lucrative online business that allowed me to fund such a large habit. The oxycontin alone cost me at least $500 a day.
Shortly after I turned 18, after almost 3 years of constant opioid (ab)use, my family packed up and moved back to my home state of Pennsylvania. I ended up living in a shoddy Florida Best Western hotel room for a few weeks, spending days in an agonizing cold-turkey 250mg/day methadone withdrawal due to the impact that the sudden collapse of the stock market had on my business. Most definitely one of the worst periods of my life. Under pressure from my family I took a Greyhound bus to Pennsylvania and moved in with my father. I arrived there with 20 ten mg methadone pills in my pocket, no cash to my name, no connections, and an incomprehensible 200mg+/day methadone habit to support. The methadone I had lasted me two days.
After a week of agony, spirit crushing insomnia and depression, I broke. Dressed in all black and sporting a pair of women's sunglasses, I rode a bicycle to a pharmacy with the intention of holding it up. I had a note that said 'i have a gun. give me all the oxycontin, morphine, methadone, and dilaudid and nobody gets hurt.' Luckily for me a wheelchair bound elderly woman was blocking my access to the pharmacy counter. I was approached by the store manager and told to leave after 10 minutes of conspicuously staking out the pharmacy area while waiting for the old woman to leave. Discouraged and on the verge of suicide, I bicycled my way back home.
After more than a week of no sleep I was becoming delusional and belligerent. I was fighting the urge to punch brick walls. I broke out into fits of crying and rage for no apparent external reason. During the long, long nights I moaned in agony, pounded the back of my head against the wall, and punched my thighs and calves as hard as I could in a desperate bid to knock out the all encompassing nervous tension that pervaded my extremities. With no end in sight, I frantically searched the internet for something that would end this madness. In a moment of elucidation, I remembered reading about an herb called 'kratom' that was being studied for its potential as an alternative to methadone for people addicted to opioids. I quickly found an online vendor who sold kratom extract and promptly made an order.
The kratom arrived the next day. I hastily tore apart the cardboard envelope like a small child would the wrapping on a Christmas present. I measured out 3 times the 'normal' dose, dumped the rancid tea smelling powder into a cup of water, stirred, and chugged. The mixture was very bitter and coarse, what one might expect drinking a mixture of sawdust and water to taste and feel like. After rinsing out my mouth I sat at a chair with my head down and waited. Within 30 minutes I felt 100 percent better. Such an overwhelming relief and serenity. I wasn't high but I was no longer desperately ill. Immediately I head upstairs to my room and took a long much needed nap. I awoke feeling like a new person. An answer to all my problems, this brown powder.
Shortly thereafter I was ordering new shipments of kratom extract every few days. It's not cheap, but it wasn't nearly as expensive as a 200mg+/day methadone habit. The kratom never gave me an opiate high. It gave me back my ability to sleep and function. It served as a mood stabilizer and kept me out of withdrawal. At the time, it was a life saver.
After about 2 months of drinking a mixture of kratom extract and liquid 2 to 3 times a day, it was becoming progressively harder to keep it down and not vomit afterward. I only ever did vomit a couple times, but I grew to despise and dread the taste and texture. I also dearly missed the orgasmic sedated euphoria and total apathy that strong opioids gave me. I made a conscious decision to get back on the bandwagon and renewed my search for connections. I knew there was heroin everywhere in the northeast. I had never tried heroin before nor had I ever injected. I had a deeply rooted fear of needles. Hah, it all seems so silly now...
I struck up a chat with an old business associate ('D') whom I knew over the internet that I knew was a hardcore drug user. He lived in New Jersey, and back when we did business we often had discussions about different drugs. I used to pay him quite a bit of money. I learned later that he was spending all of that money on heroin.
One thing led to another and soon I was sending him money and he was sending me heroin through the mail every few days. I had to give him at least 10-25% of whatever I bought, but my business had taken off again so I was glad to pay this tax as long as he didn't rip me off outright. This was high quality New Jersey dope. It came in tape-sealed wax bags and stamped with a brand name. There was HBO, Showtime, Hellboy, Obama 09 and Liftoff to name a few. I used heroin intranasally for about 6 months. 'D' was an IV user and told me I was wasting dope and missing out on the best part, the rush. I had developed an interest in injecting but still had a palpable needle phobia and also did not have access to them; at the time a prescription was required to purchase needles in Pennsylvania and living in 'the sticks' I was far away from a needle exchange program.
Months passed. I managed to maintain a steady USPS mailbox delivered heroin habit. I would send 'D' money and he would send me heroin or suboxone on the days when he couldn't get heroin or I couldn't afford it. Eventually he moved to Baltimore (the heroin capital of the USA) to attend college. For a while he didn't have any connections but he still received a prescription for suboxone, so we both maintained on that for a couple weeks.
One day he messaged me with news that he'd met a dealer near the local needle exchange. He told me it was good dope but very different from the dope in New Jersey. It was called 'scramble' and was very heavily diluted with quinine (amongst other things). I bought two grams so I could see for myself. The dope came wrapped in a tied off sandwich bag; a loose grayish-white powder with small brown specks, giving off a weak aroma that was reminiscent of talc powder. I made a large line and snorted it, hoping for a strong high. It did nothing except keep me out of withdrawal. Disappointed, I continued snorting it to keep well while biding my time until the holidays when 'D' would go back to New Jersey.
As fate would have it, while visiting my mother who has multiple sclerosis I found a box of 22gauge intramuscular needles that she once used to take her MS medicine. I had a few grams of scramble with me and with a little bit of hesitation pocketed a few needles. After my mother and step dad were in bed, I grabbed a large spoon, a cotton ball and a lighter and snook into the bathroom. I had read a guide on how to safely inject drugs about an hour earlier so I was somewhat prepared for what was to follow. I tore off a, in hindsight, rather large piece of cotton and balled it up, putting it aside as a filter. I drew about 75cc of water into the syringe and put that aside. I poured a relatively small bit of scramble into the large spoon, pushed the 75cc of water onto the dope and mixed it up a bit with the syringe cap. The mixture of water and scramble turned a light brown color with lots of undissolved 'something' floating on top and something else sinking to the bottom. An oily sheen permeated the mixture, which made me slightly nervous. I sparked the lighter and applied heat to the bottom of the spoon and brought the mixture to a boil. After a few seconds all of the undissolved powder and impurities went into solution.
'D' had told me there is a small window of time where the heated solution of scramble can be drawn into the syringe and injected; if the solution is allowed to cool it turns to gel. Not wanting to waste this opportunity, I hurriedly dropped the rolled up piece of cotton into the center of the spoon and drew the brown solution into the syringe. I quickly unwrapped an alcohol pad and wiped down my whole arm. I used my belt as a tourniquet, tied off, and decided to use the big vein in the crook of my elbow. 22gauge needles are large and I had to make a conscious effort to suppress my instinctual hesitance of piercing my skin and violating my body. Hands shaking, I slowly and carefully pushed the needle into my vein. Surprisingly, I felt no pain. I pushed the needle in way too far and pierced through the other side of my vein without knowing it. I tried to register but couldn't so I slid the needle back a bit and tried to register again. I saw a plume of blood flow back into the solution. As I began to push down on the plunger my whole body began to tremble out of fear and expectation. I pushed the contents of the syringe into my vein and pulled the needle out.
Blood spurted from my arm onto my jeans and onto the floor. As I was undoing the tourniquet I felt a cold tension in my throat which gave me the urge to cough. At about the same time I felt a pleasurable warm tension in the back of my neck that took the urge to cough away. About a second later the dope reached my brain and my eyes closed on their own accord. Like a bomb going off inside my head a feeling of pure ecstasy more pleasurable than anything I had ever felt, orgasm included, spread from my head and down my spine, into my torso and down through my legs. I put my head down and rested it on my knees. Sitting on the toilet in my mother's bathroom I felt my first rush and only then did I truly realize that I really was missing out by only snorting dope.
There are times in every man's life where one is at a crossroads, where they must make a choice to go left, right, or off the beaten path and into the wilderness. In an instant my fear of needles had dissipated and I had experienced a pleasure that is reserved for the gods. At this pivotal point in my life I chose to venture into unfamiliar territory. I was an addict, I thought I knew the ins and outs, the highs and lows of addiction. With little forethought I filled both pockets with needles, went to bed and had the best sleep of my life.
More time passed. For about a month I shot dope with huge 22gauge needles and did my best to cover my tracks (both literally and figuratively). My inner arms from my elbow to my shoulder were green and blue from bruising. I had to wear a jacket or long sleeve shirt to conceal the obvious when around family or in public.
The holidays arrived and 'D' went back to New Jersey and immediately hooked back up with his old 'friends.' Once again I was sending money and he was sending me that good New Jersey dope. I had started making trips to Maryland pharmacies to buy 30gauge insulin syringes -- the needle and syringe of choice for most junkies. The rush from scramble is nice but it pales in comparison to the rush from good Jersey dope. I continued walking blindly into the abyss, into the wilderness, apathetic. The only care in my world was what time the USPS deliveryman would knock on the door.
'D' was a very intelligent person. He scored perfect on his SATs and had full scholarships to practically any university. He could have continued his studies in Baltimore at a prestigious university but instead chose to stay in New Jersey and go to community college so he could be near the good dope. For almost a year he was my only connection. He never ripped me and I made sure that he needed me as much as I needed him. Everything was peachy until one day his parents found his stash and syringes and took his computer. I talked to him one last time in April 09. He told me he wouldn't be able to talk to me for a while. I deducted from this that his parents were forcing him to an inpatient rehabilitation center. Under normal circumstances this news would have blown my world to pieces. But at some point along the way I decided to get my own prescription for suboxone. I waited for 'D' to come online for months, maintaining on suboxone and renewing my search for connections. I never heard from him again.
A year passed. Stable on suboxone and doing pretty well but still had dope on my mind 24/7. I would dream of dope, dream of finding dope, dream of finding big bags of dilaudids or methadone. These dreams were torture because something would always happen that would prevent me from actually doing the dope or pills. I started to inject suboxone although it still didn't get me high. Perhaps it gave me a small psychosomatic rush that only a needle using addict can relate with. I met a guy who made regular trips to Baltimore to get really good 'Baltimore raw' dope. I bought from him a few times, home delivery, but he ripped me off often and I lost interest.
The cravings became progressively worse as time went on. I called the new guy, 'R', who made trips to Baltimore every other day. He was shady, a long time junkie, and had a tendency to rip people off but I decided to give him another shot. We did business a few times and he didn't rip me off but I had to give him 25-50% of what I bought. Like with 'D', I was making enough money to support two habits so I didn't care. I wanted to keep him happy so he wouldn't just take my money and give me nothing in return. New Jersey dope was good stuff, but Baltimore raw was the best dope I'd ever tried. For a while it was tan powder that dissolved without heat. Out of habit I still would heat it anyway, if only to kill any bacteria. I continued buying from 'R' for months, doing the best dope one can get in America. The rush was clean, powerful, and lasted a long time. The kind of rush that knocks the wind out of one's lungs and takes effect so quickly they will have a needle in their arm for hours before they're conscious enough to remove it.
Things were going well for a long time, a period of time I can't put in terms of weeks or months. Whenever I couldn't afford heroin I had a large prescription of suboxone to hold me over. I am grateful for this because 'R' got sent to jail for 6 months for abusing his girlfriend. I maintained on suboxone while he was in jail and started to put my life back together. For 2 years I was doing nothing but sitting in a room in an opiate haze, doing nothing with my life. I started to make plans, even with my tendency to procrastinate. Things were looking up. I hadn't used heroin in almost 7 months. My family began to trust me again. I was on good terms with my father after almost 5 years of constant strife.
Then fate stepped in again and I got a call from 'R' who was fresh out of lockup. For the first time in a long time I had a internal battle about whether or not to go back to dope. I loved how it made me feel, I loved the smell, I loved drawing the dope into the syringe and I loved pushing it into my vein. I loved everything about heroin, but I hated what it did to my life. He continued to call and one day when my father was busy I decided to call him back. He told me he had a new connection in Baltimore that has the best dope he's ever tried. That's all he had to say.
I bought 2 grams. This time the dope wasn't powder, it was small tan rocks. At first I thought he ripped me off. Oh boy, how wrong I was. The dope smelled strongly of vinegar and dissolved on its own as soon as water was applied. It cooked up to a totally clean, transparent dark amber color. I injected it and felt the most intense rush I've ever felt. Much better than any New Jersey dope by a long shot. This dope made scramble seem like codeine in comparison.
I was really struggling to make money at this point in time and my suboxone doctor refused to see me anymore. Again I was at a crossroads. I could no longer fund a steady habit and I no longer had a doctor who would prescribe me suboxone. And again fate intervened. 'R' continued to call but I wouldn't answer because I didn't have any money. I used the last of my dope at 5:00PM and smoked old pot resin in a futile bid to get some sleep. I spent the night in bed tossing and turning in the beginning phase of withdrawal. By the next morning I was already in serious withdrawal. I couldn't eat and hardly had the energy to make it down the stairs. My father talked me into admitting myself to a local inpatient rehab that dealt with heroin addiction as its specialty. I was there for a few days, unable to eat or sleep, in bed in agonizing full body discomfort and terribly depressed. I could hardly walk without getting completely out of breath. I realized something was wrong and told the rehab nurse I had to go to the hospital.
Years of hardcore drug abuse had taken its toll on my body. I was admitted to the hospital and diagnosed with double pneumonia. Then my lung collapsed. I had a chest tube put in, was intubated, and then sedated for almost 2 weeks. I had a series of experiences while in the hospital and sedated and close to death that allowed me to realize that if I didn't stop going down this road I would not live much longer. I was in the hospital for a month and was not given any narcotics, spare dilaudid for a day shortly after I was extubated and in pain because of the chest tube and then tramadol for the rest of the time after that (about 2 weeks). My father told the doctors all about my drug use and they were very strict about the medicines they gave. I went through acute detox and withdrawal in the hospital while recovering from the pneumonia and collapsed lung. I was uncomfortable for a few days but slowly, and with the aid of tramadol, my body adjusted to not having narcotics and when I was released from the hospital I was not physiologically dependent on opiates.
It is now September 2010, and it has been 4 months since I was in the hospital with pneumonia. I haven't used heroin since May, and as of now am totally drug free. I can sleep, I have an appetite, and I'm slowly rebuilding my life. 'R' still calls but I don't answer. For the first time in half a decade I'm a free man. Things do get better.
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