Heroin Use in New Hampshire
I noticed that the second edition of my book Heroin User's Handbook is now available for pre-order on Amazon. It's got me thinking about the heroin addiction that I hear about in New Hampshire. The narrative has been set for a long time: doctors are over-prescribing opioids and this is leading to people going out on the street and scoring heroin. That is at least a huge distortion of what's going on.
In fact, we've been hearing a lot of nonsense like, OxyContin a Gateway to Heroin for Upper-Income Addicts. I thought we had gotten past the myth of gateway drugs. But no. Anything for the narrative. Still, as I've been writing for decades: oxycodone (the opioid in OxyContin) is as potent as heroin, so why is it that heroin is not able to be prescribed in this country?
The real narrative is that a lot of people really like opioids. So a lot of them did work the system to get doctors to prescribe them. And then the DEA decided that people with a small Vicodin habit were a huge problem in our society and started cracking down on prescribing. And so these people's legal and quasi-legal supplies of the drug dried up. And where did they go?! Heroin dealers don't ask question; it's cash and carry.
This is not surprising. The United States has spent the last century or so taking whatever drug problems we had and making them worse. What is surprising is how the media just follows along with this. "There are drug addicts?! Then let's make it harder for them to get their drugs!" Yeah. That's a solution that has backfired again and again.
But maybe this time will be different! I'm so tired of this kind of thinking. None of these people care. None of them what to do what's right. The media just want to write these easy stories. The government just wants to continue to do what it has done, because that's easy. And people like me who have been trying to save lives are just vilified because we don't run around saying, "Heroin! Be afraid! Be very afraid!"
It Ain't the 1960s Governor LePage!
Maine Governor Paul LePage had this to say about the people bringing heroin into his state:
Now the traffickers, these aren't people that take drugs. These are guys by the name D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty. These type of guys that come from CT and NY, they come up here, they sell their heroin, then they go back home.
It's ain't the 1960s anymore! I've scored dope all over this country, and I don't offhand remember even scoring from an African American. Also: lots of low-level dealers are users.
But we don't actually expect Paul LePage to be right. We just expect him to be a bigot. Which is what he is. And he makes that clear pretty much every time he speaks.
Hello friends and lovers! As you all are fond of reminding me, I've really let the site go. It isn't because I don't care. I care deeply. But I care about a lot of other stuff too. What's more, I've become a lot more practical. I would vote for a guy who might get elected who promised to make methadone clinics more available than a guy who can't win who wants to make drugs legalized.
And there's something else. It's more important that drug users have easy access to healthcare than drugs. And in that way, as much as it is suboptimal, Obamacare is a good thing. Now that doesn't mean that in my way I'm as radical as ever. But it's nice to expand one's horizons.
An example of this was when I recently slapped down two liberals I really like in an article Stop Assuming All Felons Are Murderers. We need to get liberals to understand what's going on in this country. And although there is a lot of libertarian ranting on this site, the libertarians aren't going to save us. Most of them just want their taxes lowered. Look at Rand Paul: he's only in favor of legalizing cannabis, and even then, he's not very comfortable about it.
So I'm going to try to start slowly cleaning up this site. But I don't see myself added a great deal to it. For that, we need younger people with all the idealism that goes along with youth. Speaking of which...
Please let me know about other sites that are doing good work. Right now, I would like to introduce you to a blog by a very knowledgeable guy, Andy who posts less often than I would like, but still has an excellent blog:
I'm sure the more you guys read the site, the more he'll write. I love this slogan, "We are not collateral damage; we are people." And at this point, he is far more on top of the field. I'd very much like to add other sites to this list.
I am still posting very occasionally to the blog, so check in from time to time. Mostly, it is just cross-posted stuff from Frankly Curious. But if I have something more radical to say, it will only be here.
I got the following letter:
hello patrick, i just bought 12 pills of tylex 30mg....i dont know how to extract the codeine! i couldnt understand by reading in your blog, i admit im a little ignorant. can you explain to me on a easier way??? example: ``first you put 5 pils in the water, than boil it....` heheh thank you!
I fear I am getting too paternal. All I do is worry. I responded:
Is this a joke? First, I'm not Patrick. Second, as stated many times on the site: pills are for swallowing. Third, codeine is a particularly dangerous drug. Injecting any amount of codeine is potentially fatal. Injecting 360 mg almost certainly is. Taking 360 mg orally could very easily kill you. Just because codeine is not a potent opioid does NOT mean it is safe. It is one of the most toxic opioids.
I do what I can to keep people safe. What you suggest is extremely dangerous. Don't do this.
Good luck to you and be safe.
I'm about to take down all the information on pill injection. But one more time:
Don't inject pills!
Moe Tucker and THE Man
I've written a short article about the song I'm Waiting for my Man and The Velvet Underground's drummer Moe Tucker. It will probably be of more interest to Heroin Helper readers than most stuff on Frankly Curious. (I do hear from people that they would like to read more stuff about movies and music and I think I've been writing about that a lot recently.)
Penn Jillette Doesn't Know What a Drug is
I'm reading Penn Jillette's God, No! Despite his annoying and mostly ignorant libertarianism (a common flaw of modern atheists), it is a funny book. At the beginning he makes a big deal of the fact that he has never even tasted alcohol and has never tried a recreational drug. He didn't need to make this claim in his book, it is well reported and annoying as hell. Never tried a drug? To my mind, that shows a complete lack of curiosity and a firm belief in the authorities that tell you that drugs are bad. Whatever. That's not my point.
Later in the book, he writes, "I fiddle with a cigarette on the bar and their servant ... brought me a brand new pack, opened with a cigarette sticking out, ready for me." It could still be that Jillette doesn't actually smoke, because he doesn't allow the servant to light the cigarette. But he does smoke in some of the Penn & Teller videos. Also, it wouldn't exactly have been necessary to stop the servant from lighting the cigarette if he hadn't taken it out of the pack. So I assume that he does smoke, just not habitually.
I also doubt that Jillette has never drank a caffeinated soda. So there are two recreational drugs that he has tried. I suppose when he says "recreational drugs" he is referring to the illegal ones. You know: the ones that he (along with me) thinks should all be legal. So why the distinction? Or does he not realize that caffeine and nicotine are drugs? Or that efforts have been made in this country to make both illegal?
There is one thing Jillete is very clear about that I am in total agreement with: he is and asshole. (Admittedly, he is probably lying and I'm not.)
Lessons on Addiction
I like Ed Schultz. But it bugs me in this clip where the guy says, "Newt Gingrich talking about marriage equality is a little like getting lessons on drug addiction from a heroin addict." It just so happens that in 1900 England, it was illegal to be gay, just as it is today illegal to possess the vegetable product known as heroin. That aside, heroin addicts have a lot to teach people about drug addiction. I don't ever recall a heroin addict who was really into it out of choice. If you're addicted, it's a trap. But I get the point: Newt Gingrich is a dick.
Rich in Heart, Poor in Cash
Here's the problem: Thousands of people visit Heroin Helper every day. But the site only costs me money. Amazon won't even let me sell books through the site, much less Google allowing me to put ads up. And even if I were still writing drug books, this site would hardly be doing much to improve sales. (You would be amazed at how little money I have made from the books I've published. If you are thinking thousands of dollars, you are way high—in more ways than one if what people say about my readership is true!)
If I could monetize (What a word!) the site, I would. But I'm not going to put up blinking banners filled with naked people. I have no problem with pornography, but this is a question of taste. Anyway, if anyone can figure out a way to monetize the site in a way that I will find acceptable, I'll give you 10% on an ongoing basis.
If the site actually made a little money, I could probably get the great Jim Hogshire to write a blog here. Now that would be exciting, because Jim is the most original thinker I know. Now, he might well get me sued, but what the hell. The truth is, I know incredibly incriminating information about a number of famous people. And thus far, I have been mute. But you never know when I might be bad. Not that Jim would tell secrets, but the more people who read him, the more the world will be shaken up. UPDATE: WHERE THE HELL IS JIM HOGSHIRE!
Be strong. Keep up the good fight. And buy all your books through my links on Frankly Curious!
Wikipedia: Bad as Ever
I've been working on the second edition of Heroin User's Handbook and so I decided to read through Wikipedia's page on heroin. In general, I have a very poor opinion of Wikipedia, but nothing could have prepared me for what I found on their heroin page. There were between 50 and 100 errors—outright errors. But it is much worse than that. The page is riddled with holes—things that should be said that aren't. It is also chalked full of government propaganda. If you want to learn about heroin (or anything for that matter), don't go to Wikipedia.
One thing I found very interesting though was some statistics they provided. First, they claim that there are 50 million heroin users in the world. Then they say there are between 15.16 and 21.13 million heroin users between the ages of 15 and 64. I understand that these are two estimates, but they provide no indication of why these estimates should be so different. Are we to assume that there are roughly 30 million very young and very old heroin users?
The whole issue takes a strange turn, when they later state that heroin causes the deaths of 100,000 people per year. Even if we assume the lowest estimate of heroin users (15.16 million), this means that heroin users are dying at a rate of 0.7% per year. At that rate of death, heroin users should be living to be over 150 years old on average! No wonder there are so many of them.
I would go in and fix the errors on the Wikipedia heroin page. Unfortunately, I know from experience that within a couple of weeks, all of the misinformation would be put back in. If you are really interested in the subject, I recommend you read Jim Hogshire's wonderful Opium for the Masses for a general overview. If you are interested in the history, you have got to read Th. Metzger's incredible The Birth of Heroin and the Demonization of the Dope Fiend. And if you really want to submerge into the subject, I recommend getting my own Little Book of Opium. (Don't get my Little Book of Heroin—it really sucks.) And when it's out, be sure to pick up the second edition of Heroin User's Handbook.
UPDATE: I CAN'T SEEM TO WORK ON THE BOOK. FIRST, I DON'T HAVE THE $5,000 I NEED TO PUBLISH IT. SECOND, ITS VERY EXISTENCE CAUSES ME TO BE UNEMPLOYABLE EXCEPT AS A CONTRACTOR. IT IS NOT EASY BEING THE MOST EVIL MAN IN AMERICA™!
Pain Management Advocate Dies
Dr. Jack Kevorkian died on Friday at the age of 83. He is most known as an advocate for assisted suicide, but his legacy will likely be for the attention he brought to the shameful state of pain management in the United States. Keith Scheider wrote in The New York Times, "His critics were as impassioned as his supporters, but all generally agreed that his stubborn and often intemperate advocacy of assisted suicide helped spur the growth of hospice care in the United States and made many doctors more sympathetic to those in severe pain and more willing to prescribe medication to relieve it." Doctors should not have to be encouraged to treat pain effectively, but sadly many still believe it is better to live in pain than to be addicted to opioids. Such lack of empathy generally works out very well for doctors. Kevorkian's empathy led to his imprisonment for almost a decade.
Improving Methadone Detox
The worst thing about the 21-day methadone detox is the ending 2 mg cliff that leaves patients alone to detox from a surprisingly high opioid level. This article discusses the problem and some solutions.
Detoxing with Dried Poppies
Jim Hogshire has provided us with perhaps the easiest detox known to man. And the best thing is that you can do it all by yourself. No doctors to visit. No forms to fill out.
Take My Picture
I met a young photographer/artist named George Henry who is working on a book of photographs about the put-upon in our culture. So he came to me—for obvious reasons. He is going to be traveling across the country over the next couple of months, so if you are interested in introducing him to part of your world, get in contact with him.
Junkies are the New Gays
This is the first brand new thing on this site in some time. It just talks about how heroin users in 2010 are treated much like homosexuals were treated in 1910. But it is short and more personal. Check it out, if you dare.
Drug Dealing and Murder
It continues to piss me off that our society tends to equate drug dealing and even drug use with murder. I wrote about this after seeing the movie The Crew, but the problem remains. I just bought Leon, the international version of the The Professional. I like both versions very much. However, the uncut version includes an annoying scene.
In this scene, after Leon and Mathilda kill a drug dealer, Mathilda insists that they destroy the drugs.
We said, "no women, no kids." Who do you think this is gonna kill, junkies and monkeys?
There are so many things wrong with this scene, I don't even want to start. But the glorification of murderers and the vilification of drug users has consequences that are counted in wasted lives and a slippery truth.
Slowly, work is getting done on this site. I'm trying to clean out some of the dust. It isn't clear whether I will change the overall focus of the site. I was pretty radical libertarian when I wrote most of this stuff. Now I would just like to see some margin improvements. Maybe easier access to methadone and other stuff like that. But I am no less passionate and angry about the fact that our drug laws and culture are killing drug users.
I am working on another site that is about nothing or everything (depending upon how you look at it) called Frankly Curious. This is more where my head is at these days, not that I don't like the whole "King of the Junkies" thing—it's so great when looking for work... Take a look (whenever I get the new nameservers pointing correctly).