Thursday, November 17, 2011

And We Though Heroin IM-ing was Bad

Heroin is really not the drug of choice at Hood Hospital (crack cocaine forever, y'all), but I'd say we still see a moderate amount. When users run out of veins, they often resort to shooting the heroin straight into the muscle- not as quick a high, but it gets the job done. The additives in the drugs combined with the circumstances under which they're taken result in some pretty horrendous looking wounds.
I've seen some pretty horrible shit secondary to drug use. But what happens here is, like many other things, a freaking cake walk compared to what's happening in Russia. My brother sent me an article today about Krokodil. It is to heroin what crack is to cocaine- a cheaper and less pure alternative- except it ROTS YOUR FLESH OFF. It's actually a little more comparable to meth in it's preparation in that it's made from over the counter drugs and a bunch of other shit that's toxic to humans. Apparently in Russia, codeine is available over the counter. The codeine preparations can be turned into desomorphine (similar to heroin) pretty easily in a lab, but the solvents used in this process on the street are pretty much just poison, so when the users inject, they end up with some pretty horrific wounds that often end up being gangrenous. Amputations are not an uncommon side effect. Here is the io9 article if this sort of thing simultaneously fascinates and frightens you as much is it does me. Fair warning- graphic rotten flesh pictures ahoy.
I can't explain why I find this so interesting. I guess the psychology of addiction is just really compelling to me. What is happening inside someone that they really cannot give up a substance that is literally costing them limbs? How does someone willing to inject heroin into their genitals to chase that feeling? Seeing stuff like this makes me feel a lot more sympathy for addicts. The willingness to face this much suffering for a feeling that lasts for a couple of hours is nothing short of insanity. Something inside them is clearly different.


  1. Thanks for your earnest post.

    Trust me, I know seekers are obnoxious.

    But let me see if I can find words to shine some light on the pain of addiction for you and your readers.

    Pain so great and incredible that...



    I can't. Maybe there aren't any. But I am obligated to explain that at least for me, it absolutely wasn't the "high," I was after. It was the relief. From all the pain. There was a lot of pain. Boat loads of unrelenting, desperate, miserable pain.

    Thanks for showing some compassion. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your writing.

    P.S.--Sorry for the anonymous sig. But otherwise it'd be really hard to cop to the above.

  2. I cannot imagine how powerful addiction really is. This is just insane.

  3. this reminds me of self harm. my husband has said to me-- cutting is NOT YOUR FRIEND. it is YOUR ENEMY. i can look at my life, and see all the ways this behavior has screwed so much up-- i missed out on an all expenses paid trip to nyc in high school, i lost a full ride to a private college, recently, i even had to resign from my job of four years.

    and still, the harder things get, the more pressure i feel to make just one cut. my mind whispers; do it, and you'll feel better. and then, there i go, down that path. cutting and drug addiction are not the same, but there are more parallels than i usually care to admit.

    thanks for posting. as usual, you keep my interest and teach me something new :-).

  4. @Anon- understood and thank you for sharing. That actually makes it somewhat understandable. Absolutely agree with Liz here- the feelings behind it I think are very much on par with feelings around cutting and disordered eating for me. I'm sorry this is a part of your life.

  5. I am a soccer Mom thirty something college student. I am currently doing some major studying with drugs, criminal justice and domestic violence. The article you post was sssooooo interesting! Wow! That is just crazy ass stuff, just warps my mind that people will knowingly harm themselves is such a severe way. It's like a train wreck, you can not help but look...

  6. Hoodnurse, I am a productive member of society and three years recovered from cocaine addiction. Many of the demons that addicts fight are not physical, but emotional. I started using regularly to keep up with my 90 hour weeks and exhaustion from undiagnosed sleep apnea. Sure the rush was great but the greater interest to me was meeting my father's expectations at work. 1) addicts are people pleasers, often to the point of self harm. My addiction changed dramatically the day I first used to numb the pain of my dying marriage and deteriorating relationship with my family due to that bad marriage. 2) once I had used cocaine to soothe my emotional pain it became my answer to everything. Facing the loss of my wife, my home and my job I struggled unsuccessfully to control my addiction. 3) The harder I fought for control, the less control I had when will power alone proved insufficient. Noticeable black, dead tissue where my nasal cavity drained into my throat, coming to covered in my own blood with pieces of my nose stuck in my chest hair and overdose could not stop me.
    Eventually I asked for help and found it not in rehab but in a twelve step program. It was there that I found the problem was not the depression, or even the drugs, but the psychological baggage, slights real and imagined, guilt and shame over wrongs done to others and a myriad of other psychological issues that had to be righted before I found peace with myself. You cannot help those who do not want it or are not willing to participate in and work for their own salvation. As tragic as it sounds, only about 1:100 stay clean and sober for life.