Filed under: JUNKe life
Keeping my hand out of the cookie jar is a damn hard thing. I like cookies. Especially chocolate chip! But in this case, the “cookie jar” is actually an analogy for the dope stash. And keeping my hand out of it is damn near impossible.
In his powerful introduction to Naked Lunch, Burroughs wrote the following:
Junk is the mold of monopoly and possession. The addict stands by while his junk legs carry him straight in on the junk beam to relapse. Junk is quantitative and accurately measurable. The more junk you use the less you have and more you have the more you use.
That is so very true! At present we have a lot. Our conscious mind tells us to make it last. We know it has to sustain us for a given period of time (until the next re-supply time). Logically we should divided the amount we have, by the number of days it must sustain us, and thereby determine the amount we should be consuming each day. If we have 100 pills, and they need to last 20 days, then we should just be doing 5 per day.
But the junk reality is different. We do more than we should, much more, forever telling ourselves that tomorrow we’ll get on schedule. And then tomorrow we do the same thing. Inevitably leaving ourselves short, and desperate, and stressed out and scrambling, willing to spend every penny we have just to stave of junk sickness. And we could avoid all that just by following a logical program of moderate, sufficient daily dosing such that we would never go short.
When there’s no dope, I can go for 12 hours on the hunt. Sure, by 8 hours I’m feeling a little edgy, but nonetheless, I am managing alright. When there is dope, and I’ve already done enough, I find myself being drawn to the cookie jar at four hours – even though I have no physical need for it whatsoever at that point.
When the cookie jar is full, I use until I’m full also. And I do so in full awareness that it is completely absurd, and ultimately not in my interest to do so. Currently I have enough to last me a month. But will I make it last me a month. Probably not. In all likelihood, two weeks from now I will only have enough left for a week more, not two weeks more. In fact, it might only be take a week until I’ve gotten myself into a desperate situation.
Today I’ve already done double what I did a week ago, and I still figure I could use one more hit before I call it a day and hit the sack. I definitely don’t need another hit, but I want one. Even though part of me really doesn’t want one because I know it is a dumb thing to do more than I really need since eventually the cookie jar is going to go empty.
It takes an enormous act of will to push myself to walk past the cookie jar. I tell myself I’m full. I tell myself I’ll have to eat in three weeks from now also. I tell myself to follow the plan.
But I also tell myself, “oh what the hell. Tomorrow I’ll limit myself to two or three. As for tonight, might as well pig out just one last time”.
My sweetie pie just dropped off a bowl of chocolate ice cream. Softly singing the song by 4 Non Blondes Morphine and Chocolate – well, I know where her mind is at!
So far a third of the 150 needed have entered the trial. Recruits have to have used street heroin regularly despite being on oral methadone treatment for at least six months at the clinics. They must be over 18 and have used heroin for several years and have no serious physical or mental illnesses.
Most of the people on the trial are in their late 30s and early 40s, have been using heroin for an average of 15 years and have been through an average of 10 years treatment. Many are unemployed and without a stable home, while one or two have full time jobs and a small number are rough sleepers.
The average dose given out to injectable heroin recruits is 400mg a day, twice the average prescribed by doctors at present. The diamorphine is bought from Switzerland – a far cheaper supplier than the UK – dispensed into individual’s doses and then drawn up in a syringe. Clients can inject using intravenous, intramuscular or under the skin methods. In the clinic’s room, there is a curtain on one booth to provide privacy where necessary. People are allowed a maximum of three attempts to find a vein, if they can’t find they have to go intramuscular, under the skin or are given oral methadone to take home.
Although patients have formed a good rapport and strong therapeutic relationships with staff, the accent is on the clinical. Signs on booths read Have you washed your hands?’ and ‘Have you cleaned your injecting site?’. So where do they go after injecting? “The atmosphere of the clinic is sterile, clinical, brightly lit so they usually want to leave,” says Dr Nicola Metrebian, a senior researcher at the National Addiction Centre and manager of the trial. Metrebian is aware that the tactic of heroin prescribing has been misrepresented as handing out ‘free heroin to druggies’ by some politicians and newspapers. “This is not decriminalising heroin, this is medical treatment.”
Staff check for signs of intoxication or sedation before and after heroin is taken in order to prevent overdoses. The trial has seen one non fatal overdose which occurred after a patient missed a day’s heroin and replaced it with a large amount of benzos. He was immediately stabilised with naloxone. Staff are convinced had he not been inside the clinic the overdose would have been a fatal one.
As part of what could soon be the ‘old system’ 400 people, a tiny proportion of the estimated 80,000 on substitute opiate scripts in the UK, receive ‘take away’ prescription heroin from a small pool of 46 Home Office-licensed doctors, who actually prescribe heroin. A further 3,000 receive injectable methadone. But the heroin prescription system has had no eligibility criteria, there is little evidence of its effectiveness and no control over whether the heroin is illegally sold on. By the end of the trial in 2008, researchers hope to have come to a conclusion over whether supervised heroin prescribing is a safe, effective and cost-effective option in treating problem heroin users who have failed to respond to methadone or other heroin substitute scripts.
Well, time to take the empty ice cream bowl down to the kitchen. Hmmm, I think she’s there in the kitchen right now. Hmmm, so too is the cookie jar.
Leave a Comment so far
Leave a comment