But I will contradict that right now. and spell it out to the sick and suffering. I get it, you are in a place where hope only exists a few frames in a dream you’ll never remember. Your eyes open and the race is on to swindle money by any means necessary, because that sickness is creeping up your spine. A simple sneeze induces a panic attack. You know the life you’re living is killing you painfully slow. You can give up you know.
I heard that talk a lot, friends and family desparate to see me put down the needle. I know they were worried sick as I self-destructed. Enduring mental torture, waiting for that most random of calls, the one the cements my status- “We’re sorry to tell you your ________ died tonight.” Shocked and confused people offer up the almost cliche response, “at least _________ is at peace now.”
I thank God that call never came. That tonight, my parents rest well, unafraid. I am the person everyone expected to die.the most hopeless of addicts. I got close, dangerously close, too many times. My last breaths before the Narcan hit must have held an unspoken prayer- “Not yet God.”
Did you hear Philip Seymour Hoffman died last year? Another casualty via a speedball. If you have morbid curiosity, here’s a list of famous dead drug addicts. Want a more detailed one? Here you go. Yet more Americans die from overdoses than are killed in auto accidents. You don’t know their names, unless they hit you personally. Every 12-step program has the 12th tradition regarding anonimity. I’m in CA, but I can’t say anyone else there is.
I got to go home a few weeks ago, to Washington PA. The small, mostly rural county experienced 25 overdoses in 2 days…3 people died. To say this is sobering news is a terrible pun. Read the frightening article about it from the Washington Post- national news WashPA. Just not what you want.
Heroin starts life as a poppy. Pods are slit and opium seeps out. Opium has morphine in it, and that is taken out. From there it’s simple to make heroin, a chemical 4-5 times as strong as morphine. The supply of heroin is dependent on the poppy harvests from places like Afghanistan, Burma and now Mexico and Columbia. What if you could make a drug 100 times as powerful as morphine, and start with 2 easily aquired chemicals? Because you’re a greedy drug lord, you hire a chemist and he makes a kilo of fentanyl, which is actually the equivalent of 25 kilos of heroin. Wow.
In my first attempt at a memoir, Long Sleeved Summers, I laughed at the idea when people told me good bags were being cut with fentanyl. I write in there something like, if that happened, there would be tons of dead junkies. Cue Alanis Morrisette.
Just because it isn’t front page news, the person isn’t famous, or what ever, no one seems to give a shit that people are dying everywhere.I see words like “epidemic” followed by generic numbers, maybe a picture of a sobbing family member asking why. The answer is we’re stuck in that sickness, we are animals, dope is our sole nourishment and we cannot starve to death. We won’t. Until something suspends it, interupts it or ends it once and for all.
Makes the countries that give out pharmaceutical heroin look brilliant. Say what you want, but they aren’t dying. Maybe the sadder point is no one gives a fuck. Unless it stings personally, to someone “important,” life in the junkie world goes on. Fentanyl is not to be fucked around with, shooting blues and D’s is like O’douls vs moon shine. Take care of each other out there, because there are plenty of people who do give a fuck.
So to all the non-famous people dying out there, you’re remembered. People love you. You probably see that now, there isn’t anymore hurt you can cause, it’s a morbid peace that is instilled by your passing. I know a couple people are up there watching me type all this out, trying to keep my emotions in check, but when someone is close to your heart, that bond is never broken.
To the people who’ve lost loved ones, leave a comment, so we can get to know them. No one dies in vain, but they should never be just a digit in a statistic. My lost addicts, up there in the ether, I remember you daily. So I will go first:
A song on the radio, right Aftab, Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone” always hits my ears at the right time. It’s fantasy football season and I just don’t care. You won it all that year I think. Truth is I never checked after you switched roles. You’ll always be my brother.