The Truth About Dope
Citation:   Kdubya. "The Truth About Dope: An Experience with Heroin (exp81095)". Oct 7, 2010.

    Heroin (daily)
Lou Reed said it best, you always have to wait. The itch starts before I leave the house and the wind gives me a chill that can't be blamed on the temperature. I take the train to my spot and call my man and then I wait. Some guys are better than others. L is a reliable old junkie dealer, always keeps the same phone number and the same spot for pickup. But he never fronts and his prices are on the high end; his idea of a good deal would be an extra bag thrown in every once in awhile. One bag always costs $10, but a bundle (ten bags) can run me anywhere from $60-$100 depending on the dealer and the quality of product. L's product is generally reliable but rarely spectacular.

I don't love having to see A, as he deals out of a sketchy building in downtown Manhattan that gets 'hot' a lot of the time; last time I bought from him, a few steps out of the building the cops were on my ass and it was sheer luck that they weren't able to find the bundle that I had stashed in my underwear. Some of the other guys occasionally have fantastic product but are completely unreliable themselves. 'I'll be there in 20 minutes' normally means at least two hours. God forbid they tell me they need an hour to get there - I could be waiting forever. And the waiting is the worst part. Every second feels like a minute, every minute like an hour.

A lot of the unreliable types are in the habit of telling me they're coming but then they disappear and stop answering their phones. This is enough to drive me crazy, especially if Iím getting fronted and don't have the option of seeing someone else. Sometimes I try to make myself fall asleep to pass the time, but that never works. If I did fall asleep, I'd always wake up before my guy had arrived, which only made me more agitated and less sure that he'd ever show. When that buzzer finally rings or my cell phone makes its special sound, or I see my man finally making his way up the street toward me, the feeling of relief and elation is difficult to describe - it's as if all of my problems are solved, at least for a moment. It's almost better than the high itself. Not quite, but almost. My mood lifts, all the angst is gone, I forgive even the most egregious flakiness on the part of the dealer Ė Iím just happy he's finally here and I can get my fix.

I run to the bathroom and draw some hot water. I grab a new syringe, some cotton from a q tip or a filter from a cigarette, and put the cotton in the cap of a water bottle (poland spring works fine, the small bottles). I empty a few bags - whatever I have - into the cap and I squirt in some water. I dissolve the dope in the water and then carefully suck the whole mixture up into my syringe. No need to cook the New York stuff, the brownish powder, contrary to popular belief. Just have to be careful to use a clean needle, which I always do. That's another myth - junkies sharing dirty needles. The needles are free, from the exchange, and Iím not stupid - why risk my health or my life on a dirty syringe? I make note of the color - is it very dark? Sometimes this is a good sign; other times it's misleading. But still, I look. I tie my arm or hand or wherever Iím going to shoot it and try to find myself a vein. Sometimes it's easy to register, most of the time nowadays it's nearly fucking impossible - I've used up all the veins in my arms and legs and am now scarring up my once lovely hands with puncture wounds.

Once I register (I know when the blood rushes into the syringe), I carefully push the dope in and then...ahh.relief....My eyes don't roll back in my head, I don't pass out or lie down like they show in all the movies; in fact, I look completely normal, even as Iím reaching the peak of my high. No one would know if I didn't want to let them know. The rush, when I have enough stuff at once, is still fantastic after all these years, though. A surge of heat through my body followed by intense tingling - sometimes semi painful tingling that lets me know it's good stuff. My problems go away and any pain I may have been experiencing is immediately gone. But I don't have some dramatic nod-out or pass out - that's one of the biggest myths. If the stuff isn't strong enough I feel a bit of agitation or possibly anger, although bad dope is better than no dope anyday. And so I feel good for a few hours, maybe even until tomorrow. But then I start all over again and the waiting begins again.

When I don't have the cash I get by on methadone that I share with my junkie lover, who goes to a clinic each day and spits it out into a bottle when the nurses aren't looking. He brings me half of his 90mg dose, plenty to get me by for at least a day (the stuff stays in my system way longer than dope) but never enough to get me actually high. I know that the methadone has kicked in when my body temperature feels regular and I often get a little drowsy. There's no better sleep than a methadone nap. Back when I was going to the clinic and was getting a full 80mg dose a day for myself, before my insurance ran out, I relished those Saturday doses especially. I went to the clinic early - 9am - and often waited in line to get my dose. I always drank it, never spat it out, and about a half hour later, back at home, I'd feel that warm fuzziness coming over me (not a high) and I'd drift off into the most comfortable sleep, a wonderful late morning nap.

It's been years since I've truly been dopesick, since I take the methadone when I can't get the dope, but all junkies share an overwhelming dread of feeling sick. It's different for everyone and each person copes differently, depending on the situation. If I start to feel sick but I know there's a light at the end of the tunnel, that relief is definitely coming, somehow it's not so bad. Maybe a bit of a chill, some sweatiness. If I don't know where my next fix is coming from, it can get bad real quickly. I know a guy, a longtime junkie who only snorts because he can't find a vein, who starts puking if he hasn't used within the last six hours or so. That's partially psychological, in fact, dopesickness is mostly psychological in general, but that doesn't make it any more pleasant, and any junkie will go to great lengths to avoid it.

I've never overdosed - never even came close. I have a nice job and a good apartment and on the surface my life is totally normal, no one would ever guess. I don't have a directly life threatening disease, like the twelve step programs that have invaded our culture like to tell me. The addiction is the part that does harm, but not in any direct physical way. It just takes over my life and can take my soul and sure as hell can take all my money.

For some reason I rarely - if ever get sick. The common cold is a distant memory - I don't remember the last time I had one. I once got a flu that was going around and was keeping everyone down for at least a week - a real severe strain - but I was only sick for 24 hours. William Burroughs used to say that junk revived the cells and recommended going on and off of it for the sake of longevity.

Whenever I have any extra cash, after the rent is paid and maybe a bill or two (usually I put those off), I go straight to L or one of my other guys and I start all over again. It's not something that I'd recommend, but it is one way that people live and it's time someone told the truth.

Exp Year: 2009ExpID: 81095
Gender: Female 
Age at time of experience: 33
Published: Oct 7, 2010Views: 73,331
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Heroin (27) : Addiction & Habituation (10), Retrospective / Summary (11), Not Applicable (38)

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