The Straight Dope

Go Back   Straight Dope Message Board > Main > In My Humble Opinion (IMHO)

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 03-20-2017, 06:00 AM
Crafter_Man Crafter_Man is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Heroin addicts... do some of them lead "normal" lives?

Here is a news story about a couple who are suspected of dying from a fentanyl and/or heroin overdose. He was a pilot for Spirit Airlines. They lived in an upper-middle class home in Centerville, OH. (As a side note, I grew up in Centerville.)

I guess I've been living under a rock all my life, but I don't think I've ever known a heroin addict. I've always pictured them as unemployed, unkempt, and living in the streets or in a dilapidated home. This story makes me wonder if some of the people I encounter everyday – even coworkers – are addicts.

Have you known a heroin addict? Did they lead a “normal” life?
Reply With Quote
Advertisements  
  #2  
Old 03-20-2017, 06:46 AM
elbows elbows is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: London, Ontario
Posts: 12,353
Just like alcoholics, there are always a certain number who will be very high functioning. They'll hold down jobs, go to church, family events, etc, all undetected.

So I'm going to go ahead and say you HAVE known both a secret alcoholic and a secret drug addict, without being aware. I'd wager we all have.

But, like a lifetime of alcohol abuse, no matter how high functioning, for how ever long, sooner or later it will begin to tell. And then, seemingly from out of nowhere, their world will entirely destruct. Job, family, home, all lost. It can literally be from boardroom to gutter.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 03-20-2017, 07:10 AM
HoneyBadgerDC HoneyBadgerDC is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Torrance Ca
Posts: 6,623
I know a lot of heroin addicts and have throughout my life. I know many high functioning addicts but very very few that hold long term stable jobs. Self employed painters, plumbers, handyman, even some guys who do computer work or commercial arts folks. Most of the guys I grew up with were dead before 50.

Just from my own experience it seems like most the guys who die of overdoses are pretty young. Heroin addicts that I know die of things like hep c, blood infections, chronic alcoholism, falls with head injuries, or overdoses from pills. Most of them are also heavy smokers and copd kills a lot of them.

I have never met one that lived what I would consider a normal life.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 03-20-2017, 07:33 AM
kayaker kayaker is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Western Pennsylvania
Posts: 25,159
I've known a couple of people who used heroin in a pattern that allowed them to work a normal job. Because heroin isn't usually a socially accepted drug, very few people knew the details of their drug use.

One guy did exterior house painting. He drank during the spring and summer, and worked his ass off doing painting jobs. At the end of his season (late fall) he put away his ladders and brushes and switched from beer to heroin. When March came around he quit cold turkey, dealt with withdrawal, and then began booking jobs. He did this every year from his 40s on, dying at 60 of a heart attack while painting.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 03-20-2017, 07:40 AM
mikecurtis mikecurtis is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crafter_Man View Post

. . . but I don't think I've ever known a heroin addict. I've always pictured them as unemployed, unkempt, and living in the streets or in a dilapidated home. This story makes me wonder if some of the people I encounter everyday – even coworkers – are addicts. . .
the largest growing sector of heroin users are people who became addicted to opioid pain medication; as, sometimes its easier and cheaper to get, esp if your scrip has run out with no refills. theyre also most likely to be white, middle class, aged 20-34, from the midwest. so its likely you did know one.

https://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/da...ic-in-9-graphs

mc

Last edited by mikecurtis; 03-20-2017 at 07:41 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 03-20-2017, 08:04 AM
Shodan Shodan is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Milky Way Galaxy
Posts: 33,814
I don't know any heroin addicts personally, but one of the most famous doctors in US history was an addict throughout his life. I don't know if it is common, but if someone has access to a long-term source of legal opiates, the effects of the drug per se don't necessarily cripple you. It's probably less damaging that alcoholism, and some people continue high-functioning for years.

I wouldn't go so far as to say that the only thing about opiates that makes them bad is that they are illegal, but many of the bad effects come from having to buy them from disreputable sources, that they are not always pharmaceutical-grade, and getting convicted of buying them messes up your life.

Regards,
Shodan
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 03-20-2017, 08:20 AM
Frank Frank is online now
Charter Member
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Kettering, Ohio
Posts: 20,470
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shodan View Post
... many of the bad effects come from having to buy them from disreputable sources, that they are not always pharmaceutical-grade, ...
Apparently, one of the big reasons for the spike in overdoses here in Ohio is that the heroin users think they're buying heroin, and they're actually getting something with fentanyl in it.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 03-20-2017, 08:21 AM
kiz kiz is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Quote:
Originally Posted by kayaker View Post
I've known a couple of people who used heroin in a pattern that allowed them to work a normal job. Because heroin isn't usually a socially accepted drug, very few people knew the details of their drug use.

One guy did exterior house painting. He drank during the spring and summer, and worked his ass off doing painting jobs. At the end of his season (late fall) he put away his ladders and brushes and switched from beer to heroin. When March came around he quit cold turkey, dealt with withdrawal, and then began booking jobs. He did this every year from his 40s on, dying at 60 of a heart attack while painting.
Not directly, but I work with a few people who have experience with addicts with similar MOs. One of my coworkers does side jobs for such a man. She doesn't talk about him very often, but I know she's had to quit working for him several times because he'd let things get out of hand while he was using.

An ex-coworker of mine lost her son to heroin about two years ago. He did roofing and drank during the warmer months. Once the roofing season ended he's switc.h. My ex-coworker found him dead in her bathroom from an apparent OD. He was in his early 30s.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 03-20-2017, 08:24 AM
Leaffan Leaffan is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shodan View Post
I don't know any heroin addicts personally, but one of the most famous doctors in US history was an addict throughout his life. I don't ....
That link hijacks me away someplace else.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 03-20-2017, 08:41 AM
Shodan Shodan is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Milky Way Galaxy
Posts: 33,814
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leaffan View Post
That link hijacks me away someplace else.
I get the same thing whenever I link to the New York Times. There is a button in the upper right to bypass the shopping site.

FWIW the link is to a book about William Halsted, who was a professor of surgery at Johns Hopkins and considered one of the founding fathers of modern US surgery. He was addicted first to cocaine, and then to morphine.

Regards,
Shodan
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 03-20-2017, 08:53 AM
Leaffan Leaffan is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shodan View Post
I get the same thing whenever I link to the New York Times. There is a button in the upper right to bypass the shopping site.

FWIW the link is to a book about William Halsted, who was a professor of surgery at Johns Hopkins and considered one of the founding fathers of modern US surgery. He was addicted first to cocaine, and then to morphine.

Regards,
Shodan
Thanks. I missed the bypass.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 03-20-2017, 09:07 AM
Try2B Comprehensive Try2B Comprehensive is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
The famous example is William S. Burroughs. He was a heroin addict most of his life. He got to be a famous author and lived into his 80s. Normal? Um, he was a heroin junkie all his life.

The moral of the story is that if you are born into money and become a famous social figure, you might be able to find a reliable source of drugs and feed your habit for decades. Good luck everybody!
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 03-20-2017, 09:15 AM
Joey P Joey P is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Posts: 25,953
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crafter_Man View Post
I don't think I've ever known a heroin addict
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shodan View Post
I don't know any heroin addicts personally
Or, you do and just don't realize it. The whole point of this thread is that not all heroin addicts are passed out in the gutter belts with wrapped around their arms and needles and baggies scattered around them.

It's much like how people say 'It's 100% impossible to hide smoking, I can always smell cigarette smoke on people no matter how well they think they're hiding it', no, you smell smoke on people that smell like smoke. The people that smoke and don't smell like smoke, you don't smell it on.

While I'm not going to say that you personally know heroin addicts, you probably know people that drink waaay more than you'd guess or someone that takes 15 vicodins a day or does some coke before they have to interact with people.
I think a lot of people have the misconception that drugs automatically make you such a mess that it's obvious to anyone that looks in your direction. But, in reality to say that you know someone doesn't do heroin is to say that you know everything they do in their private life.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 03-20-2017, 10:03 AM
Hari Seldon Hari Seldon is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
I don't know any heroin addicts, AFAIK, but my sister was addicted to cocaine for at least a decade, although she finally dried out 30 years ago. She was sufficiently high functioning that she earned over $100,000 a year selling jewelry mostly on commission. The other salesmen hated her because customers would come in and ask for her by name.

I've known some high functioning alcoholics who managed to hold down jobs as professors of mathematics. One of them, a close friend, eventually dried out and is now 81. Another one, a colleague, eventually developed something called Korsakoff's syndrome and hardly functions at all now. It is caused by severe B12 deficiency and he is permanent disability.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 03-20-2017, 10:04 AM
Stranger On A Train Stranger On A Train is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crafter_Man View Post
I guess I've been living under a rock all my life, but I don't think I've ever known a heroin addict. I've always pictured them as unemployed, unkempt, and living in the streets or in a dilapidated home. This story makes me wonder if some of the people I encounter everyday – even coworkers – are addicts.

Have you known a heroin addict? Did they lead a “normal” life?
If you've ever worked in a high pressure service industry, and especially food service, you have almost certainly known multiple drug addicts. I won't go so far and make up some kind of baseless statistic about how many professional cooks use heroin, meth, or coke (or more likely, all three), but sustaining that kind of lifestyle long term essentially requires pharmaceutical augmentation for many people; the amount of stress, incredible hours, required obsessive attention to every detail, the pressure to never be five minutes late or call in sick regardless of how sick/hung over/stressed out you are pushes many people into using drugs to both get up and slow down.

But it isn't just service workers; I've known of several professionals (lawyers, doctors, pharmacists, research scientists) who use various drugs for increased mental acuity or endurance. The pressure to compete with colleagues and perform at the absolute peak level at all times--which is impossible--leads people to start using speed to get up and prescription drugs or alcohol to calm down enough to rest. Heroin, which is generally taken intravenously, may seem like a big leap from pills and drink, or even inhaled powder, but the response is so fast and overwhelming that once you've done it once it is easy to normalize it (so I'm told...I've avoided all drugs except alcohol and caffeine, and even those in moderation).

As long as you have a schedule and clock to follow, it's easy to get into a routine where the drug use doesn't interfere with being a functional employee...until some extra stressor comes into your life compelling overuse, or the damage and disruption it causes (in the case of heroin, bowel obstructions, infection from punctures, or nutritional deficiency) results in attendant illness. The bigger problem comes when you use drugs as a way to deal with boredom, anxiety, or depression because it doesn't even treat the symptoms and generally results in a downward cycle of progressive use. "Mother's Little Helper" isn't a song about having live-in help.

Stranger
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 03-20-2017, 10:23 AM
mikecurtis mikecurtis is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
people dont use drugs because their job is stressful. they use their stressful job as an excuse to use drugs. people dont use drugs because theyre in pain or theyre depressed, or theyre poor or theyre rich, etc, they use all these as an excuse for their drug use.

you'd be amazed at all the normal people around you who use drugs, and then say to themselves "i'm not an addict, i'm not like them, i'm normal!"

mc
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 03-20-2017, 10:28 AM
drewder drewder is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
It seems like if they have personal connections and purpose in life it is very likely that the symptoms of addiction will not develop.
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 03-20-2017, 11:03 AM
jasg jasg is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Upper left hand corner
Posts: 4,079
My daughter worked in a methadone clinic and told me that eventually heroin use is to avoid the pain of withdrawal - the drug 'rush' just is not that strong.

The treatment regimen in Switzerland allows addicts to function in society and hold down a job.

Quote:
Switzerland has distributed heroin to addicts legally for the past 20 years. Around 1,500 people receive the drug under supervision. One of them is Evelyn G., an addict for almost 30 years, who says the rationed drug helps her keep her life together.
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 03-20-2017, 11:09 AM
kopek kopek is offline
born to be shunned
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Southwestern PA
Posts: 10,455
At periods in their life, most of the users I've known were functional just like with alcohol or anything else. The difference, at least in those I've known, is that only one or two have been able to remain that way for long. It just doesn't seem to be a substance where use and normality can coexist over years and years.
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 03-20-2017, 12:07 PM
mikecurtis mikecurtis is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Quote:
Originally Posted by kopek View Post
At periods in their life, most of the users I've known were functional just like with alcohol or anything else. The difference, at least in those I've known, is that only one or two have been able to remain that way for long. It just doesn't seem to be a substance where use and normality can coexist over years and years.
opioid addiction quickly leads to an increase in tolerance; you need more drug to get the same effects. higher dosage leads to shorter time lapse from crash to dope sick. vicious cycle: the more often you use, the larger the dose you need, the quicker you need to use again. . . . its hard to stay normal when youre either stoned or needing to get stoned.

mc
Reply With Quote
  #21  
Old 03-20-2017, 12:39 PM
astro astro is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
It's a heck of a drug -

Famous People Who Overdosed on Heroin

That's one long list.

Last edited by astro; 03-20-2017 at 12:43 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 03-20-2017, 06:24 PM
gaffa gaffa is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by Try2B Comprehensive View Post
The famous example is William S. Burroughs. He was a heroin addict most of his life. He got to be a famous author and lived into his 80s. Normal? Um, he was a heroin junkie all his life.

The moral of the story is that if you are born into money and become a famous social figure, you might be able to find a reliable source of drugs and feed your habit for decades. Good luck everybody!
I'm pretty sure someone here once posted about having to score heroin for Burroughs when he was on a book tour, and that dropping his name made sure they got "the good stuff" (think Vincent Vega.)

Assuming a reliable supply and clean needles, will heroin actually kill you?

Last edited by gaffa; 03-20-2017 at 06:26 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old 03-20-2017, 06:35 PM
Sicks Ate Sicks Ate is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikecurtis View Post
people dont use drugs because their job is stressful. they use their stressful job as an excuse to use drugs. people dont use drugs because theyre in pain or theyre depressed, or theyre poor or theyre rich, etc, they use all these as an excuse for their drug use.

you'd be amazed at all the normal people around you who use drugs, and then say to themselves "i'm not an addict, i'm not like them, i'm normal!"

mc
Read this, evaluate your position.

And who knows? You might learn to capitalize letters while you're at it.

https://g.co/kgs/mrMp5Q
Reply With Quote
  #24  
Old 03-20-2017, 06:40 PM
Stranger On A Train Stranger On A Train is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by gaffa View Post
Assuming a reliable supply and clean needles, will heroin actually kill you?
If you overdose on it, sure. Long term heroin users also tend to have problems with nutrition (both not eating consistently and because of opioid effects on bowel function) and ultimately compromised immune function due to opioid effects on the immune system (decreased lymphocyte capacity and monocyte-macrophage DC progenitor cells resulting in reduced innate and adaptive immunity).

Stranger

Last edited by Stranger On A Train; 03-20-2017 at 06:40 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #25  
Old 03-20-2017, 08:03 PM
black rabbit black rabbit is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
A friend of mine was fighting the monkey for 15 years, and held down a pretty well paying IT job for a major consulting firm for virtually all of that time. I'd known about his using for maybe five years or so, but had plenty of other hobbies and interests, and thanks to the decent living he was making, he never sunk to the depths of depravity that you think about when you think about the stereotypical street junkie, so I figured he had it under some semblance of control.

I mean, his wife left him, and those of us in his circle of friends who have kids have gradually cut off most contact to one degree or another as we realized what was going on, but he didn't create any more chaos in his life than, say, your garden variety high functioning alcoholic.

Five weeks ago, he got laid off and was cut a fat severance check. He was dead three days after that due to what we think was an accidental carfentanil OD.

If it weren't for the batches of cut shit that have been floating around here the last couple of years, he'd definitely be alive today, and would probably continue to stumble through life putting whatever percentage of his income a regular person would put into a 401k up his arm for the foreseeable future.
Reply With Quote
  #26  
Old 03-20-2017, 08:20 PM
John Mace John Mace is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leaffan View Post
That link hijacks me away someplace else.
Well, heroin will do that to you sometimes!!
Reply With Quote
  #27  
Old 03-20-2017, 08:40 PM
Wesley Clark Wesley Clark is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Being a recreational heroin user shouldn't be that expensive. In theory. A gram is like $100 and maybe 50%+ purity, a dose even for someone with tolerance is 100mg or less of pure so that is $20 a dose at most (probably a fraction of that). If you do it a few times a week it isn't like you'd be bankrupt and having to commit crimes to pay for drugs.

I don't know many heroin addicts though, so I have no idea how many are functional. I know several functional alcoholics, I'd assume there are a lot of functional opiate addicts too.
Reply With Quote
  #28  
Old 03-20-2017, 08:57 PM
astro astro is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wesley Clark View Post
Being a recreational heroin user shouldn't be that expensive. In theory. A gram is like $100 and maybe 50%+ purity, a dose even for someone with tolerance is 100mg or less of pure so that is $20 a dose at most (probably a fraction of that). If you do it a few times a week it isn't like you'd be bankrupt and having to commit crimes to pay for drugs.

I don't know many heroin addicts though, so I have no idea how many are functional. I know several functional alcoholics, I'd assume there are a lot of functional opiate addicts too.
It is interesting to consider how a middle class person would be supplied with the drug over a long period of time. You'd think the police would pick up their connection at some point and then what? Harry homeowner/heroin junkie goes scrambling for a new connection. How would that work? Or do even middle class "functional" junkies usually have multiple sources established?
Reply With Quote
  #29  
Old 03-20-2017, 09:35 PM
Ambivalid Ambivalid is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by astro View Post
It is interesting to consider how a middle class person would be supplied with the drug over a long period of time. You'd think the police would pick up their connection at some point and then what? Harry homeowner/heroin junkie goes scrambling for a new connection. How would that work? Or do even middle class "functional" junkies usually have multiple sources established?
i'd wager that most people who use heroin (at least in part) in order to stave off withdrawal sickness would have more than one option as to where to get it. Withdrawals are mighty good motivators. IMHO

Last edited by Ambivalid; 03-20-2017 at 09:36 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #30  
Old 03-20-2017, 10:27 PM
Joey P Joey P is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Posts: 25,953
Quote:
Originally Posted by astro View Post
It is interesting to consider how a middle class person would be supplied with the drug over a long period of time. You'd think the police would pick up their connection at some point and then what? Harry homeowner/heroin junkie goes scrambling for a new connection. How would that work? Or do even middle class "functional" junkies usually have multiple sources established?
When a random (not large scale) dealer gets picked up, they're likely back out on the streets within hours. If they're not, someone else will quickly fill in the gaps. Back when I was in college and buying various substances (never heroin), if someone got busted, someone else that bought from that guy usually knew where he got his stuff from and was willing to step up. I'd imagine this is no different. So James the Office Manager buys his stuff from Billy the line cook. Billy moves about $200 a day. One day Billy gets picked up, there's only going to be a day or two gap before one of the people that hangs out with Billy on a regular basis goes to Billy's supplier and starts dealing on his own.

The only time there was ever a real shortage was when a 'regional' bust happened. But being in college it was just a matter of asking around.

And this is just for people that keep it to themselves, there's going to be plenty of high functioning addicts/recreational users that know other users and if their supply dries up, they can talk to someone else and get set up with that person's dealer.

Yeah, if you're using you're drug of choice 2 or 3 times a year, and your dealer disappears, that might be the end of it, but if it's once or twice a day thing, you'll figure it out, there's a whole world out there. As someone else said, just go find some cooks. While I've never heard that about heroin, I've always said if you want some blow, talk to people that work at a restaurant, someone in the kitchen has some coke.


Also, don't forget that Vicodin, Tylenol 3, Percocets are all the same drug*. Plenty of people that lose their heroin supply will look for pain killers either on the street or from their doctor, so there's that as well.

I'm guessing you were never in the drug scene, as I said, it's a whole world, you learn to spot who you're looking for or how to drop certain keywords and see who's ears perk up. All the 420 type buzzwords for weed, they're around for everything, so you can be at a bar and know how to make a joke or a comment in passing that most people won't think anything of but one person will say 'hey, if you're looking for some [whatever drug], I can get it for you'.

Another thing to keep in mind is that with about 200 heroin deaths (that's deaths, not users, just people that died) per state in 2015, you have to remember, there's dealers around, so someone that does heroin, is going to find another supplier. Unless they're super covert, 'meet me in the alley on 10th st at 4am', they likely know other people that either deal or use.

*Yes, I know, not exactly the same thing, but it's same idea.
Reply With Quote
  #31  
Old 03-20-2017, 10:39 PM
HoneyBadgerDC HoneyBadgerDC is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Torrance Ca
Posts: 6,623
Heroin is extremely easy to find and purchase. Even in smaller towns it is becoming more accessible. The methadone clinics are popular spots for making hook ups. Some of the clinics give out doses of 3 days and 2 days. Some of the users will gamble on the 3 day dose and get loaded that day and still test clean on the third day.
Reply With Quote
  #32  
Old 03-20-2017, 10:50 PM
yorick73 yorick73 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Very interesting article about a writer who led a normal life (for a while) as a heroin addict.

http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/n.../me--my-monkey
Reply With Quote
  #33  
Old 03-20-2017, 11:04 PM
nearwildheaven nearwildheaven is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikecurtis View Post
people dont use drugs because their job is stressful. they use their stressful job as an excuse to use drugs. people dont use drugs because theyre in pain or theyre depressed, or theyre poor or theyre rich, etc, they use all these as an excuse for their drug use.

you'd be amazed at all the normal people around you who use drugs, and then say to themselves "i'm not an addict, i'm not like them, i'm normal!"

mc
Addiction is definitely a complex disease, that's for sure. If a person has the resources to have stable housing and a reasonably healthy diet, they can often hide it to varying degrees for a very long time.

I can't say I've personally known any heroin addicts, or even anyone who's done it, although I probably do or have and didn't know it. I've definitely known people who had an opportunity to try it, and refused, mainly because they weren't desperate enough for a high to have a needle stuck in them or to spend the next who knows how long puking their guts out, regardless of the route of administration.

One of my pharmacy school classmates died about 10 years ago from OD'ing on stolen fentanyl patches, and looking back, I suspect he became a pharmacist so he could have easier access to drugs. This is based on certain comments he made over the years, combined with the way he died. (And believe me, if you want drugs, there are definitely easier ways to obtain them. ) I've known a few other colleagues who faced varying levels of censure due to substance abuse, usually because they were caught stealing drugs.

I also seem to be the only person out there who thinks that some people are deliberately starting to use drugs because they think heroin addiction is cool. The media definitely needs to stop glamorizing it IMNSHO.
Reply With Quote
  #34  
Old 03-20-2017, 11:09 PM
nearwildheaven nearwildheaven is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shodan View Post
I don't know any heroin addicts personally, but one of the most famous doctors in US history was an addict throughout his life. I don't know if it is common, but if someone has access to a long-term source of legal opiates, the effects of the drug per se don't necessarily cripple you. It's probably less damaging that alcoholism, and some people continue high-functioning for years.

I wouldn't go so far as to say that the only thing about opiates that makes them bad is that they are illegal, but many of the bad effects come from having to buy them from disreputable sources, that they are not always pharmaceutical-grade, and getting convicted of buying them messes up your life.

Regards,
Shodan
Here's a direct link to that book, which I have read. It was quite interesting.

https://www.amazon.com/Genius-Edge-B...s=gerald+imber

The old Sears and Wards catalogues had syringes and needles available for order, and they weren't being used for insulin because that hadn't been discovered yet. Heroin was also used in cough syrup and teething remedies.
Reply With Quote
  #35  
Old 03-20-2017, 11:13 PM
nearwildheaven nearwildheaven is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by black rabbit View Post
A friend of mine was fighting the monkey for 15 years, and held down a pretty well paying IT job for a major consulting firm for virtually all of that time. I'd known about his using for maybe five years or so, but had plenty of other hobbies and interests, and thanks to the decent living he was making, he never sunk to the depths of depravity that you think about when you think about the stereotypical street junkie, so I figured he had it under some semblance of control.

I mean, his wife left him, and those of us in his circle of friends who have kids have gradually cut off most contact to one degree or another as we realized what was going on, but he didn't create any more chaos in his life than, say, your garden variety high functioning alcoholic.

Five weeks ago, he got laid off and was cut a fat severance check. He was dead three days after that due to what we think was an accidental carfentanil OD.

If it weren't for the batches of cut shit that have been floating around here the last couple of years, he'd definitely be alive today, and would probably continue to stumble through life putting whatever percentage of his income a regular person would put into a 401k up his arm for the foreseeable future.
Carfentanil is a veterinary sedative that is something like 100 times more potent than fentanyl, and is dosed in microgram amounts in large animals only. A colleague on another website said that she interned at one of several pharmacies (she said the exact number varies but could be counted on one hand) in the U.S. that is licensed to sell it, and the amount of paperwork required to obtain it is enormous, as are the security measures for its storage. I had only previously heard of it over 20 years ago when I was in school; it, and several other veterinary drugs, were mentioned in our law class just so we would know they existed.
Reply With Quote
  #36  
Old 03-20-2017, 11:52 PM
Joey P Joey P is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Posts: 25,953
Quote:
Originally Posted by nearwildheaven View Post
Here's a direct link to that book, which I have read. It was quite interesting.

https://www.amazon.com/Genius-Edge-B...s=gerald+imber

The old Sears and Wards catalogues had syringes and needles available for order, and they weren't being used for insulin because that hadn't been discovered yet. Heroin was also used in cough syrup and teething remedies.
In many states syringes are available OTC. You can just walk into Walgreens and ask for them. The pharmacist can, of course decline to sell them to you, but they are available. I've purchased them before, but I did bring in my script for an injectable med that I just didn't have any syringes for. Probably helps that I don't look like a junky. Also, as a side note, in many states insulin is also available without a script.
Reply With Quote
  #37  
Old 03-20-2017, 11:56 PM
nearwildheaven nearwildheaven is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
The (relatively) old human insulins are OTC, and the old animal-sourced insulins were too. Syringe availability varies widely; I did mention the old catalog sales because those were intended for self-administration of narcotics.

In some states, insulin syringes require a prescription, but larger syringes and larger-bore needles do not. You can buy the latter at the Theisen's farm supply store a couple miles from my house, in addition to certain antibiotics and anthelminthics intended for use in livestock.
Reply With Quote
  #38  
Old 03-21-2017, 12:10 AM
CosmicManiac CosmicManiac is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 64
No, heroin addicts are incapable of leading normal lives; there is nothing normal about a pathological substance abuse addiction and undoubtedly lying to your friends and family to cover up it, nothing normal about spending money that could have been used for good on an illegal high, and nothing normal about snorting that shit up your nose a couple times a week.

They give the appearance of leading the normal lives, but it a thin veneer hiding the real thing, a facade. Just look at their dilated pupils.

Just. Say. No.
Reply With Quote
  #39  
Old 03-21-2017, 12:23 AM
Joey P Joey P is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Posts: 25,953
Quote:
Originally Posted by CosmicManiac View Post
No, heroin addicts are incapable of leading normal lives; there is nothing normal about a pathological substance abuse addiction and undoubtedly lying to your friends and family to cover up it, nothing normal about spending money that could have been used for good on an illegal high, and nothing normal about snorting that shit up your nose a couple times a week.

They give the appearance of leading the normal lives, but it a thin veneer hiding the real thing, a facade. Just look at their dilated pupils.

Just. Say. No.
Glad we got that out of the way, question answered, close the thread.
Reply With Quote
  #40  
Old 03-21-2017, 12:45 AM
CosmicManiac CosmicManiac is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 64
I believe in moral absolutism, not relativism. We should not try to rationalize immoral and illegal behavior, such as the use of heroin. It's not normal, it'll put you on the path to violent mood swings and even murderous desires. We've seen people murdered, particularly in Chicago, over disagreements between heroin deals.

This is not behavior to be scrubbed under the rug. They don't lead normal lives.
Reply With Quote
  #41  
Old 03-21-2017, 05:51 AM
kayaker kayaker is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Western Pennsylvania
Posts: 25,159
Quote:
Originally Posted by CosmicManiac View Post
Just. Say. No.
Nancy Reagan died in 1989.
Reply With Quote
  #42  
Old 03-21-2017, 05:58 AM
Crafter_Man Crafter_Man is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Quote:
Originally Posted by CosmicManiac View Post
Just look at their dilated pupils.
Wouldn't it be the opposite for opiates? Constricted pupils?
Reply With Quote
  #43  
Old 03-21-2017, 06:55 AM
Joey P Joey P is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Posts: 25,953
Quote:
Originally Posted by CosmicManiac View Post
I believe in moral absolutism, not relativism. We should not try to rationalize immoral and illegal behavior, such as the use of heroin. It's not normal, it'll put you on the path to violent mood swings and even murderous desires. We've seen people murdered, particularly in Chicago, over disagreements between heroin deals.

This is not behavior to be scrubbed under the rug. They don't lead normal lives.
I'll bet you loved Reefer Madness, but moving past that, let's keep in mind, I'm quite sure, there's plenty of things you do that aren't 100% exactly perfect and by you're own definition, the next time you're roll through a stop sign or take that second Vicodin 3.5 hours later instead of 4, just remember what you said here.

And who decides what's moral, you?
Reply With Quote
  #44  
Old 03-21-2017, 06:58 AM
Joey P Joey P is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Posts: 25,953
Quote:
Originally Posted by kayaker View Post
Nancy Reagan died in 1989.
Oddly enough, the autopsy report said she had likely been a light user of both cocaine and marijuana for most of her adult life.
Reply With Quote
  #45  
Old 03-21-2017, 08:34 AM
mikecurtis mikecurtis is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sicks Ate View Post
Read this, evaluate your position.

And who knows? You might learn to capitalize letters while you're at it.

https://g.co/kgs/mrMp5Q
i'm always happy to learn new information and reevaluate my position, but i'm unclear as to what you think needs evaluating. i grew up around addicts; my mother was a substance abuse counselor for 30 yrs. i worked in a methadone clinic as a teenager. while i just learned of mr hari in this thread (see the post 6 above yours) i've been a long time opponent of the war on drugs and have long thought that the better solution was the one portugal adopted. my position is that addicts are the same as you and i, that they are from all walks of life, in all types of jobs, that each has their own personal road to addiction; there is no one story. that theyre only criminals because we've decided to treat them that way. and that society is not threatened by admitting that we have a societal problem and not a legal or moral one.

and i'm too lazy to hit the shift key!

mc
Reply With Quote
  #46  
Old 03-21-2017, 08:36 AM
The Other Waldo Pepper The Other Waldo Pepper is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Slight hijack, but IIRC this was actually a plot point in a Batman story; our hero stops to note that plenty of folks can't hold down a nine-to-five job during the week and only ever shoot up on the weekends, but it (a) has been known to happen and it (b) would explain pretty much everything about the woman in question. This winds up being the key to finding a kidnapper's victim before it's too late.

At the time, it struck me as odd for a writer to build a comic around that factoid.
Reply With Quote
  #47  
Old 03-21-2017, 08:47 AM
elbows elbows is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: London, Ontario
Posts: 12,353
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joey P View Post
Oddly enough, the autopsy report said she had likely been a light user of both cocaine and marijuana for most of her adult life.

Can you explain how such is determined?

Do you have a cite for this?
Reply With Quote
  #48  
Old 03-21-2017, 09:17 AM
aruvqan aruvqan is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Eastern Connecticut
Posts: 16,280
Quote:
Originally Posted by nearwildheaven View Post
Carfentanil is a veterinary sedative that is something like 100 times more potent than fentanyl, and is dosed in microgram amounts in large animals only. A colleague on another website said that she interned at one of several pharmacies (she said the exact number varies but could be counted on one hand) in the U.S. that is licensed to sell it, and the amount of paperwork required to obtain it is enormous, as are the security measures for its storage. I had only previously heard of it over 20 years ago when I was in school; it, and several other veterinary drugs, were mentioned in our law class just so we would know they existed.
Isn't that the drug that comes packaged with the antagonist because you need to get it immediately if you accidentally get injected with it?
Reply With Quote
  #49  
Old 03-21-2017, 09:29 AM
Joey P Joey P is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Posts: 25,953
Quote:
Originally Posted by elbows View Post
Can you explain how such is determined?

Do you have a cite for this?
'twas a joke. I'm pretty sure Kayaker also doesn't have a cite for her dying in 1989.
Reply With Quote
  #50  
Old 03-21-2017, 09:51 AM
kayaker kayaker is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Western Pennsylvania
Posts: 25,159
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joey P View Post
'twas a joke. I'm pretty sure Kayaker also doesn't have a cite for her dying in 1989.
Well, she didn't spend much time in the public eye after 89. (yeah, I fucked up)
Reply With Quote
Reply



Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:17 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright © 2017 Sun-Times Media, LLC.