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Gledwood's Drug Confessions: A Heroin Addict's Blog
Friday, 5 January 2007
Dear Deidre on Google
Mood:  celebratory
Topic: Drugs FAQ

STOP PRESS! (11 January 2007)

I couldn't resist pasting this in here: my Dear Deidre Google listing!!

Gledwood's Drug Confessions: A Heroin Addict's Blog

Posted by gledwood at 12:57 AM GMT. Updated: Saturday, 6 January 2007 1:18 ... Hi, Gledwood -- yes, it certainly is amazing that Dear Deidre wrote to you! ...
gledwood.tripod.com/blog/index.blog?entry_id=1616106 - 37k - 9 Jan 2007 - Cached - Similar pages
[ More results from gledwood.tripod.com ]

Posted by gledwood at 1:02 AM GMT
Updated: Thursday, 11 January 2007 3:22 PM GMT
Dear Deidre Replies to Me!
Mood:  hug me
Topic: Drugs FAQ

Hi, thanks for your email and for telling me about your efforts with your blog.

I am sorry to hear that you are addicted to heroin and I hope you are getting the right kind of help to come off it.  I am attaching my leaflet about drug worries, which where you can get advice and information on stopping.  It also explains my perspective on this.

I do hope, though, that things work out all right for you.

All the best

Deidre

sun newspaper personal advice service                        deidre sanders

 

DRUG WORRIES?

 

If you are worried about drugs, whether it's your own use of them or someone else's, I'm glad you've got in touch. 

Some drugs are much more dangerous than others but the ones I’m talking about here all have one danger in common.  They are all illegal, unless taken on a doctor's prescription, so using them brings the risk of getting in trouble.  If you’re caught with just a tiny amount of some of these drugs on your person – simple “possession” – you may get away as far as the police are concerned with just a verbal warning or official caution. But most schools and many colleges and companies have a zero-tolerance policy, so you could be thrown out for possession of just a small quantity of a drug not in itself very dangerous health-wise, and that could have a seriously bad, lasting effect on your education and prospects.  This is a good argument for steering clear of all such drugs.

If you are caught in possession of any larger quantity of a drug than a single dose, then you could be suspected of possession with intent to supply. Passing drugs to your friends, even free of charge, is regarded as supplying, and can get you into far more serious trouble. And there are some serious reasons for such drugs being against the law.

 Even drugs which aren't reckoned medically to cause serious side-effects can be more disturbing the younger you are when you start using them, because your brain chemistry and personality are less settled, more easily knocked off balance.  Since you have so much else going on in your life during your teenage years and are going through so many personality developments and relationship changes anyway, it makes sense to leave drugs out of the picture at least until you are clearer where your life is heading, what you really want and how you’re going to get there.

          For every high, there has to be a low, no up without a down.  Regular use of any mood-altering drug - including alcohol, of course - eats into your energy levels, makes you feel you can't be bothered, tends to be destructive of relationships.  This is dangerous at any age and is certainly a good reason to make sure you get help if you feel drawn towards regularly blotting out the world.  There has to be a reason for this, probably to do with unhappy times in the past, perhaps even when you were a small child.  The sooner you sort out what bad feelings lurk around inside you, the sooner you will find that you don't actually need drugs to have a good time. Just as with alcohol, it is always dangerous to take any drugs and drive.

Having said all that, however, it is important to realise that some drugs are more dangerous than others, though all illegally obtained drugs may - without your knowing - have been mixed with something far more dangerous or be at a lethal strength.

What drugs are commonly available on the street?.

Solvents are found in products like glue and lighter fuel.   The effects are similar to being drunk (including the hangover). Risks include suffocation and choking to death, and long-term misuse can result in lasting brain damage.

Amphetamines (also called Speed or Uppers) give a sense of energy and confidence, but anxiety and irritability soon take over.  High doses can give you panic attacks.  Regular users tend to take increasing doses which undermine health.

Cannabis or marijuana (also called Dope, Blow, Grass, and so on), makes people feel more relaxed and talkative. It's not normally addictive, but users can come to rely on it as a way of feeling more relaxed socially.  Modern extra-strong forms of cannabis are more habit-forming and damaging.  It can trigger serious mental health problems such as schizophrenia in teenagers and is linked with depression, anxiety and risk of suicide. Cannabis is usually smoked with tobacco too, with all its associated health risks.

Ecstasy is mainly known as E though it has many other nicknames.  If it's taken in a hot atmosphere without enough water or soft drinks being available, at a rave for example, it can cause heatstroke. It is particularly dangerous for anyone who suffers from epileptic fits or any kind of heart condition. Ecstasy can make people very friendly towards each other or give them a feeling of extra energy.  Once the effect wears off, though, it can leave them feeling low, and regular use can have serious long-term effects. I have heard from many who found it leads to serious lasting depression.

Cocaine or coke as it's often known, is a powerful stimulant but effects tend to peak quickly and lessen rapidly.  The drug then has to be taken more often to maintain the high and this leads to dependence.  Over the longer term, it can cause sickness, sleeplessness, and weight loss.  Sniffing cocaine can also damage the membranes inside the nose.

Crack is cocaine which has been treated with chemicals so that it can be smoked, and it’s more dangerous.  The initial high is followed by unpleasant after-effects, which not only encourage compulsive use but can also lead to dependence.

LSD, also known as acid, is very powerful. You need take only a minute quantity - by mouth - for a trip lasting several hours. Hallucinations are usually vivid. It’s not addictive but trips can lead to depression, dizziness and panic.  These are more likely if the user is anxious or in unfamiliar surroundings, and are more likely to cause long-term disturbance in the young or vulnerable.

Heroin (or Smack, Junk, or H) is sometimes sniffed like cocaine, sometimes smoked, sometimes injected.  It creates a feeling of total relaxation and comfort but, once physical dependence has established itself, this pleasure is replaced simply by the relief of getting hold of the drug because withdrawal is so distressing.  Mis-users need more and more just to get the same effect.  Abuse is linked with crime, risk of HIV, self-neglect – in fact a thoroughly miserable way of life.

You can get more information and advice about all these drugs in confidence from FRANK (the national drugs helpline) on 0800 77 66 00, www.talktofrank.com. The Parents Drug Test on their website (www.taktofrank.com) is a useful quiz guide to most commonly used drugs, their appearance, popular street names and how to identify signs of drug-taking.

I hope you’ve found this useful. If I can be of further help, or you’d like my booklist on related subjects, please e-mail problems@deardeidre.org, or write, enclosing a stamped self-addressed envelope if possible to: Deidre Sanders, FREEPOST, THE SUN, London E98 lAX.

 

© Deidre Sanders

D06L

While I make every effort to ensure the advice and information I provide is accurate and up to date, my service cannot be a substitute for consulting your own doctor, solicitor or a face-to-

face counsellor when needed.  I cannot be held responsible or liable for claims arising out of our correspondence, nor if I have been misled about the facts and circumstances.

5 January 2007


Posted by gledwood at 12:53 AM GMT
Updated: Friday, 5 January 2007 1:01 AM GMT
Monday, 11 December 2006
THE ROOT OF UNHAPPINESS
Mood:  spacey
Now Playing: The Rememberer
Topic: Drugs FAQ

YOU DON'T NEED TO BE ADDICTED TO DRUGS to know craving… think of food addicts, gamblers… (I don’t include alcohol; alcohol is a drug).

    Simple old unhappiness… I remember years of it. That utter bleak despair, lost in the dark… But the more common experience of misery (more persistent and long-lasting, one that doesn’t call for help) is being just about okay. Showing the world you do cope — just.

    All the time craving something nameless, something more.

    Usually we satisfy this craving in “healthy” ways: chocolate biscuits, our favourite television programmes, sex…

    We all know of Adam and Eve and the forbidden fruit. We know the legend of Pandora’s Box. WE see wizened old junkies on our TV screens saying heroin and crack are “The Devil’s Drugs”. Life’s experiences (usually) stretch to guessing what they might be speaking of.

    Crack takes you up — way up high. Unlike smoking a cigarette or spliff, the entire dose is taken in a single breath, so the effect is compounded. Just like an injection, all the coke hits the brain in seconds, all at once. For five minutes or so you can float in euphoria before falling. Then you’re left with two options: take more crack or take something else to make you forget it. (“Forgetting” crack, takes potent stuff.)

    Crack cocaine hooks nobody at their first smoke. That’s a media myth. And it’s dangerous because it puts vulnerable people at risk. If that’s not true, they reason, what is? Suddenly, unsupervised in the Devil’s Playground, every game seems worth a whirl. “Indulge! You’ll be fine!” temptation urges.

    In my “formative years” I was exceedingly impressionable. Vulnerable to all life chucked at me (it threw quite a lot). And once I left home it seemed to throw it all at once. I count myself lucky that heroin and coke were not among the plethora of chemicals that came whooshing in my direction once I was left to fend them off alone.

    I shudder to think what might have become of me had I acquired a source of hard drugs at a young age. I doubt I’d be around to speak to you now.

    All youngsters experience pain when growing up; mine grew into agonies and I would never go through them again. (At times I was such a wreck I couldn’t even look the assistants in the eye when paying for things in shops. I “blanked” most people automatically, not to be rude but because I was too shy to broach a conversation (even with folks I knew). It is to their great credit that the friends I did make back then saw in me “something” worth knowing. Still, I don’t believe they knew the real me for the most part. I was defeated by depression, I was only half alive. That’s why I count myself lucky. If heroin had got me then I can’t see I could ever have survived it.

    For the most part cannabis smoke swirled around me, as well as so-called “candies” — the dance drugs ecstasy and LSD and speed… I knew people hooked on “toking spliff” — from waking to putting their head down at night they put cannabis ciggies to their lips, and (unlike President Clinton) they inhaled very deeply indeed. Cannabis never suited me enough to become a constant companion.

    As for the so-called Dance Drugs, some of those chemicals + my unhappy mind =’d reactions (esp. to LSD) severe enough to put off onlookers from ever dabbling with “trips” for the rest of their lives.

    Well, now it’s the heroin that’s got me. The other drugs I take have become subsidiary to my main habit, my so-called Drug of Choice. Heroin does things to you no antidrugs poster could ever explain. I cannot recall, for example, the last time I woke first thing with a bright, free spirit, thinking, “What am I doing today?”

    My days have decayed. Money = money to score. No money = methadone misery. Do what you have to… daylight passes… back to bed.

    Life on this stuff turns black and white.

    You either have your gear and you’re happy — or you don’t and life is misery. But between black and white and shades of grey, life’s myriad colours, somehow, have all gone.

 

Perhaps you’re wondering why I feel the need to say these things.

    For one thing among many, I can’t recall anywhere I’ve come across an accurate account of drug addiction from the inside. Writers tend to fictionalize their experiences, or else pen autobiography, often years after the fact. By this time, finer details have escaped them. Memory, as I said yesterday, is an expert Trickster.

    Forgetfulness is vast as the Seven Seas…


Posted by gledwood at 3:49 PM GMT
Updated: Monday, 11 December 2006 4:06 PM GMT
Thursday, 7 December 2006

Mood:  don't ask
Now Playing: Preacher
Topic: Drugs FAQ
 

BODILY FUNCTIONS

Start taking heroin, it'll do little for you at first. Except for the unfortunate likelihood you'll end up with your head down the loo, you may well wonder (as you puke your guts up) what all the fuss is about. Heroin - the ultimate high?

    Let me set one myth straight right there. Speaking as one who's tried everything going I can announce that heroin is not the ultimate high.

    Heroin kills pain, so the more pain you're in the more it kills. (It might also kill you - so if you must experiment, go easy.)

    One less well-publicized fact about heroin: it will only give you its full effects once it's got you hooked. Yep, there's a short-lived honeymoon phase when the drug is stealing your natural endorphins (the brain's feelgood chemicals) so you feel worse without it and without them. And yet every dose you do take fills you right up to the brim. 

    Then the law of diminishing returns kicks in. I barely noticed until it was too late, that everything it gave me with the one  hand it was theiving back with the other.

    I can't deny that heroin appeals to the susceptible with its inverse glamour. (It appealed to me as the one thing my druggie friends considered taboo. They said it was uncool: I just thought they were scared of it.)

    Somehow, though, grainy photographs of mashed-up rockstars and hollow-eyed models can't quite capture the daily growing misery that no amount of drugs can ever quite cover up - or the bleak reality of withdrawals at dawn. (No-one ever seems to be around to photograph them.)

    That's right - ten years on and your head is still down the toilet. Only now you're retching when the drugs aren't there!

    The end result of heroin (not counting lost veins, abscesses, overdoses and half your friends having died over the years) is nothing more exciting than an added bodily function, one that costs money to relieve. Imagine waking up in the early morning busting for a pee. You are forced to wait till well past nine o'clock when the man has troubled to get himself out of bed, taken his kids to school (maybe - drug dealers breed like cockroaches, they're always laden down with babies), had breakfast, made himself feel okay, bothered to make his way to your neck of the woods - ie add another hour at least and cross your legs because it's probably going to take longer than that. Once the dealers realize a junkie will wait as long as it takes because they need their dealers (in the short-term) more than the dealers need them. Then imagine you're charged TEN POUNDS sterling (€15; US$20; Aussie $25; Rs Indian 700 etc etc) well I mean a lot of money - it's all relative.

    Twelve hours later - tops - the entire situation repeats itself over again. So if you ain't got more money, you'd better think fast and smart and get moving...                     

    So your happiness goes into the hands of criminals. As does every spare penny you've got.

    Heroin? I don't recommend it.                                                                    


Posted by gledwood at 5:36 PM GMT
Updated: Thursday, 7 December 2006 5:40 PM GMT
Monday, 4 December 2006
To prescribe or not to prescribe?
Mood:  quizzical
Now Playing: Expert Witness
Topic: Drugs FAQ

TO PRESCRIBE OR NOT TO PRESCRIBE? SHOULD THE GOVERNMENT GIVE HEROIN TO HEROIN ADDICTS?

IN THE UK, as in most Western lands, the standard treatment for heroin addiction is prescription of daily oral methadone.

Though many junkies do reduce their intake of illicit heroin and some feel stabalized enough on methadone to cut out heroin all together, most do go on using "on top" of their daily methadone doses.

Because the statistics say that the majority of crime is drug-related, an English police chief, reasoning that cutting down on drugs will cut down on crime, proposed that instead of methadone, addicts should be treated with the very drug they crave.

This old chestnut has been cropping up increasingly frequently of late. The Netherlands and Switzerland both do diamorphine treatment — apparently with great success.

The very idea of dishing out heroin to junkies flies so far in the face of the accepted War on Drugs "wisdom" that no Government has been willing to put anything more than a few very low-key experimental schemes into operation.

This most recent proposal, by the Northern England police chief Howard Roberts, provoked some colourful comments in last Monday's Daily Mirror's letters column.

"What next, giving robbers money so they don't rob or giving car theives cars so they don't steal cars?" demanded Sharon M Moore from Dunstable, Bedfordshire.

"I was disgusted to read of the suggestion to give free frugs to heroin addicts. I suffered asthma all of my life and I have to pay for my inhalers, without which I would need hospital treatment... Is this any way to treat a law-abiding citizen, while addicts may get their treatment free?" said D Kelly from Liverpool.

(Actually, heroin addicts pay the same prescription fees for methadone as everyone else.)

"Drug abuse is not an illness, it is self-inflicted," said Ken Bishop of Carterton, Oxfordshire.

(Smokers and drinkers also cause self-inflicted illness. Their rights to treatment aren't called into question...)

"Most people are under the misconception that drug addiction, like alcoholism, is self-inflicted. It isn't — it's a disease like any other and shuold be treated as such. That's why I support... Howard Roberts's suggestion that doctors should prescribe heroin to addicts. The examples of Holland and Switzerland prove it works. Crime has been cut and the number of users has fallen. The current system isn't working so at least we should give it a try." M Webb of Brighton, East Sussex.

Until the early 1970s heroin prescribing was the first-line treatment for addiction in the UK. However over-prescribing and abuse of the system lead to an about-turn in policy and Britain has been a methadone state ever since.

As for addiction being an illness; drugtaking is not a sickness in itself in the beginning. But as addiction gradually takes over over time, the condition most definitely develops into an illness.

Can't people see that this condition begins as a self-inflicted "choice" — but turns into a state where drugs are used with no choice — they are used automatically at every available opportunity, without thinking about it.

That's what "habit" means.

 


Posted by gledwood at 6:37 PM GMT
Updated: Monday, 4 December 2006 6:39 PM GMT
Tuesday, 28 November 2006
Frequently Asked Drug Questions
Mood:  spacey
Now Playing: Counsellor
Topic: Drugs FAQ

HEROIN

What is heroin?

"Heroin" refers to diamorphine, an "opiate analgesic" -- ie a strong painkiller -- derived from the opium poppy. At optimal doses it's probably the most efficacious of all painkillers of this type. Street heroin is a mixture of this plus morphine and other opium alkaloids left over from the production process, plus sundry poppy residues. Of course it's nearly always "cut" ie diluted with inactive substance(s) to bulk it out so a gram of "heroin" and 1000mg diamorphine are very different things!

What does heroin look like?

There are two types of heroin sold in the West.

High-grade white heroin is also known as "Number 4" because of the 4-step process of refinement.

The brown heroin sold in Europe is so-called "Grade 3" and only 70% pure (maximum) at manufacture. It has only gone through 3 of the 4 steps. "Brown" is more attractive to dealers because it can be easily smoked and is therefore a more attractive product to novice users -- no needles required.

Why do junkies inject?

Not all users or addicts do. Injecting maximizes the drug's effect. Intravenous injecting delivers the entire dose to brain and body in seconds. I was totally against needles in the beginning. An ex-partner of mine left some behind in my room -- so all the accoutrements I needed were on hand. Lack of money finally lead me to injecting. Once I'd started I found I couldn't stop.

BTW: Smoking heroin or snorting it is no less likely to give you a habit.

ANOTHER 1/2 FINISHED ONE.

IF YOU HAVE A QUESTION, PLEASE POST IT HERE. I WILL ANSWER AS FRANKLY AND ACCURATELY AS I CAN.

PS Anyone posting -- please could you state your location. (Country at least). - Ta


Posted by gledwood at 10:55 PM GMT

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