My GOD, how dumb can you be? Junkies and justice??

I supervise a call centre on weekends. On Sunday morning, before the shift was due to start, I recieved a phone call from one of the rostered staff telling me he was running late, but would be there ASAP.

He arrived (with his girlfriend who was also rostered on) about an hour and a half later. As I was logging them on to their computers, I noticed they looked a bit crook.

Quite a lot under the weather actually. In fact, they looked completely shitfaced as if they had just had a goodly whack of something into their veins. I guessed that the reason for their lateness was due to a last-minute run to find a dealer from whom to score some heroin. :rolleyes:

So, being the supervisor, I made a judgement call and told the two of them to piss off home because they were obviously affected by some sort of substance and that is Not Cool at Work. Not only would they be unable to actually work effectively, I considered it as a health and safety issue as well. Anyway, they left (complaining bitterly), I filled out an early leaving report, and the rest of the staff thanked me for saving them from a day of sitting around the sniffling and pin-eyed pair.

That WOULD have been the end of the story…a silly lapse of judgement on their part and a bit of office gossip for a few hours.

But then Mr. Junkie rang work yesterday (Monday) to whinge to management about his treatment by me!! He categorically denied that he and Ms. Junkie were substance affected, and demanded to be compensated for the lost hours at work. Yeah. Right. :rolleyes:

The Boss calmly explained to him that there is no way in hell that they will be compensated, and that my decision about sending them home was final, and that they were more than welcome to seek legal redress for their treatment, but there was still no bloody way he was going to be compensated. The Boss was prepared to give them enough benefit of the doubt to retain their jobs, but on the understanding that if it happened again, they would be immediately dismissed. I thought that was damned generous of him myself, but he’s a genuinely nice guy our Boss. :smiley:

Look, it’s simple you fuckwits. You don’t come to work pissed, or stoned or smacked off yer’ face. It’s just not right, and it’s even less right to claim that you have been mistreated because of your stupidity. I’m not able to do a drug test, but it was obvious even to ME (a middle-aged old hag who has never used in her life) that you were severely incapacitated by whatever you scored that morning.

You’re lucky that you even have a job. In fact, it probably would have been wise of you to actually turn up for your rostered shift today. I don’t think your protestations will hold much water now somehow. :wink:

You were there and I was not, so you’re in a better position to judge. However, is it possible that they were just extremely sleep deprived due to a family emergency or something?

Then again, did they offer any excuse like that?

When I first told them to nick off home, they didn’t quibble at all. They were too stoned to think much about it beyond “Uhuh, oh, yeah, um…” As they were leaving though, Ms Junkie supposedly yelled out that her grandmother had died the night before and THAT was why she was looking extremely ordinary.

She didn’t just look sleep deprived. She was completely fucked up with heroin. Her boyfriend might have gotten away with it had he not been in her company, but her condition made me check him out more intensively, and it was clear he was shitfaced too.

It was not just my evaluation (although that is what I ran on when I told them to leave), but some more ‘street smart’ employees later confided in me that both of them are known users, and that it has been a worry amongst them for a while that they have been recruiting younger workers into their wicked ways.

Fuck it. They’re only youngsters themselves. They’re young and attractive and really smart kids. Why the hell do they get sucked in to something like heroin??

You have a good boss.

It’s a sickness. Hopefully they’ll get some help before they die or land themselves in jail or a mental ward.

I don’t blame you for being pissed that they showed up like that. I probably would have been too. It’s hard to watch people do that to themselves.

I guess if they keep doing it the situation will resolve itself. Surely your boss won’t keep them on much longer if they are on drugs.

I do indeed Lib.

I’m very lucky. In thiis industry, arsehole bosses are the norm. However, I managed to secure myself a very good man who holds ethics and principles above profits and power.

That doesn’t mean he shouldn’t get a good whack upside his head occasionally for being a pussy though!! :smiley:

Yep, I agree that heroin addiction is a sickness. For old people.

But why the HELL do youngsters, knowing the danger that heroin poses for addicton ever bother? It’s not like marijuana. or alcohol that you can taste occasionally and not become addicted.

You do smack once, like it, try it twice because it’s nice, then a third time because it seemed like a good idea the first time. And then suddenly, it becomes a bit of a routine…

It’s not a sickness to try it…it’s a complete fucking idiocy.

I despair.

Maybe they were really hung over. Maybe they were drinking til 5:00 am and were still a bit drunk. I doubt I’d jump to the heroin diagnosis right away.

Man, that brings back memories. I used to supervise a call center as well. You get some interesting types working at places like that. I remember the one guy who used to keep several large bottles of mouthwash in his locker because he wasn’t allowed to have real alcoholic beverages on the premises. Or the gun nut who had his name legally changed to “Tackleberry” after the guy on the Police Academy movies and would go out to his car on break to fondle his 9 mm.

At one tech support job I had, there was one guy who must have had a bigshot relative at the company because he never got fired. One day he came back from lunch quite literally redfaced drunk and reeking of alcohol. He didn’t even get sent home - come to think of it, maybe they just didn’t want him driving in that state. We used to say of him that his presence was like having -1 employee, because he didn’t do his own work and he kept bothering the people around him.

There are some very distinctive hallmarks of a heroin or oxy buzz. Sniffling, pinpoint eyes, scratching at arms/face, nodding, rubbing the nose. It’s almost always possible to tell, especially for someone who has seen it before.

And for the record, I do know of two people who use heroin just occasionally–probably two or three times annually, so please let’s not trot out that old “use it just once and you’re trotting off to doom” myth.

heroin being one of the most highly addictive narcotics is no myth. the vast majority of persons who use it more than twice become addicted; for many it only takes once. if you know people who can use it casually, they are the exception, not the rule.

I’m not saying it’s not addictive. I’m just disagreeing with the notion that the first hit will automatically trigger a mortal addiction, or even that any use at all is abuse.

The anti-drug ad thread expounds on this a bit, but I don’t think blanket generalizations about the dangers of drug use do anyone any good. It makes the generalizers look like liars, as well as making it hard for the targets of the messages to separate the truth from the propaganda. I didn’t intend to hijack here, my apologies.

I would be just about the last person on the planet to advocate a cavalier attitude towards heroin, (having lost a brother to it) but you’re flat-out wrong here, and spreading histrionic misinformation like this is counter-productive.

Of course heroin is extremely habituating, like caffeine or nicotine.

It’s ludicrous to say that “the vast majority of people who use it more than twice become addicted,” though, and it’s medically impossible to become addicted after one exposure.

People can and do use it without becoming junkies, though – and they’re not the exception.

Your perception of heroin users is largely coloured by heroin’s outlaw status. People who use it “sensibly” (as far as that is possible) don’t communicate their use of it. They’re invisible.

What isn’t invisible is its effects on chronic or careless users.

If wine was a taboo like heroin, the only image you would have of people who imbibe it would be the wino on the street. Yes, alcohol is powerfully addictive and addiction to it is totally debilitating. But it is mostly used by people who recognize that it’s not something to be used continually, every day, and are clear on the rather elementary concept that you don’t show up for work in an altered state if you wish to remain employed.

Believe it or not, heroin users are able to work that shit out most of the time, too. And then there are the ones that spiral out of control, and can’t look past their next fix.

Alcoholics aren’t the norm, and junkies aren’t the norm.

Anyway, Indygrrl’s folks there are dumbasses of the first water.

Not sure about Australia, but in the US, employees can’t just be fired for being users. They have to be given a chance to get treatment since it’s considered a disability.

And that is just plain frigging wrong.

My experience agrees 100% with what Larry Mudd describes.

I’m confused – what does age have to do with it?

Actually, it is, sorta. In fact, the “relative addictiveness ranking” list (where nicotine is 100 and other drugs are ranked relative to it) ranks alcohol and heroin similarly – alcohol is at 81 and heroin is at 80. I don’t think that takes into account the different ways the drugs are usually administered, though – injecting a drug is a much better way to get addicted than taking it orally, so heroin, which is usually injected rather than taken orally like alcohol, is more addictive than alcohol in reality.

But there’s a lot of difficulty in defining how addictive things are, so take it with a grain of salt.

I’m trying to say that heroin addiction is an illness ONCE someone has become an addict. And I realise that is stating the bleeding obvious. However, to use heroin in the first place, given the problems that are (usually) bound to arise, is sheer fucking stupidity, not an illness.

Even just on the “raw figures” of 80 and 81% for heroin and alcohol respectively, I would like to see a cite for those. My experience has been that MOST people can use alcohol for a considerable period of time without becoming alcoholics. I sincerely doubt that can be said of heroin, regardless of the method of administration. In other words, it has been my belief that a regular drinker may not be an alcoholic, whereas a regular user of heroin is bound to be addicted, just by the very nature of the drug. Or am I way off-base here? :confused:


You’re not totally off-base, but my experience amongst the clientele of various methadone clinics leads me to believe that neither are you 100% correct.

First off, you have to define what you mean by “addiction” and “addicted.” Physical dependence is not addiction. Addiction is the psychological component – the craving, the feeling of being unable to live your life without <insert substance or behavior>. I know many chronic pain patients who are physically dependent on painkillers, but many of them have no real problems with stopping the medication if the pain is fixed. They may experience withdrawal symptoms, but they don’t experience the same mental anguish that a real addict does. So a regular user of opioids is not necessarily an addict.

Second off, heroin (or any other opioid) isn’t capable of addicting everyone – you have to be susceptible. (In fact, most drugs that I’ve researched are like that. My wife, for instance, feels nothing but negative effects from opioids; she HATES taking pain pills for her endometriosis. I, on the other hand, have nothing but negative effects from alcohol, and from amphetamines when they were briefly prescribed to me years ago. She can’t understand why anybody would become a heroin addict, and I can’t understand why anybody would become an alcoholic or a speed freak. Obviously, other people get different effects from various drugs … except for nicotine, which I believe is addictive for a much higher percentage of the population.) My experience is that about 33% of people get highly euphoric feelings from opioids, and I’ve seen that figure tossed around elsewhere, so I tend to go with it. If you aren’t susceptible to addiction, you won’t become an addict no matter how much heroin you use. You might become physically dependent on it, but that’s not the same as addiction. Then again, you probably wouldn’t be a heroin user if you didn’t enjoy it, so …

Thirdly, heroin and alcohol are usually administered in vastly different ways and concentrations. People usually don’t drink so they can get rip-roaring drunk; if you drank until you became severely inebriated every time you drank, I don’t think it would take very long to become completely dependent on alcohol. Heroin, on the other hand, is usually taken for the purpose of becoming immediately and intensely intoxicated. It doesn’t have to be, however. I tend to feel this is more a consequence of prohibition than a characteristic of the drug itself. It’s similar to cocaine: there are plenty of people in South America who chew coca leaves and thereby take cocaine, but the amounts are so small, and so slowly released into the bloodstream, that it doesn’t cause a big problem. People do it for their whole lives without it becoming a problem – sort of like people in America use caffeine regularly. The problem with cocaine (and opioids, I believe) is when they are taken in (relatively) huge doses all at once. Then, the feelings produced (in susceptible people) are so intense that it becomes easy to become an addict.

It’s true, of course, that in reality drug users do take huge doses of concentrated cocaine or heroin, and most people don’t do the same thing with alcohol. But I don’t see this as such a big difference in their addictive potential. If you see what I’m saying.

Just to clarify, 80 and 81 don’t mean that 80%/81% of people who use them become addicted. It means that heroin and alcohol are (supposedly) 80% and 81% as addictive as nicotine. Not sure whether chorpla’s post was clear or not.