One day I might try to describe the sensations that occur after I depress the plunger and send a few points of heroin coursing off into my vein, eventually to cross my blood-brain barrier and flood me with warmth, relief, even a pleasurable rush sometimes. I might try to include the overall feeling of anticipation and excitement, and the sense of reassurance when I first “get a taste”. Some day I might try to write that, but not today.
However, I’ve found someone who has. I’ve just now, for the first time, come upon the blog of a heroin user from Australia. In one of the posts, I read this blogger’s attempt to convey what heroin feels like. The Australian Heroin Diaries is Terry Wright’s blog. At said blog, Terry describes himself as follows:
I am a heroin addict. I am not homeless nor do I live in a crowded junkie house. I dwell in suburbia with my partner, two fluffy dogs and a cat. I have a mortgage, a car and go grocery shopping on Friday nights.
I don’t break into houses or sell drugs to survive but rather I design computer information systems. Yes I work and I am considered a professional.
I was on methadone but I am now on slow release oral morphine which usually keeps me from using heroin. I don’t smoke grass and rarely drink. I don’t gamble, commit adultery or break the law (well most laws)… but I sometimes resort to heroin.
In other words, Terry and I are fairly similar in terms of not being on the street living the so-called chaotic junkie lifestyle. I’d hazard a guess that Terry has his shit a bit more together than I do right now, and that he’s probably a decade or two younger than me. But by looking at his blog, a mixture of personal and political postings related to heroin and drug policy, it appears we’re somewhat similarly motivated in regard to what we’re trying to do with our blogging expressions; even though his blog is quite a lot more newsy whereas I’ve been trying for revelations of a more personal experiential nature.
Its interesting Terry tried to describe what heroin feels like. When I first started reading his post it seemed like he was a scientist who had experimented with heroin to have first-hand sensations, as if he was doing an experiment on himself. Then this line popped out at me – “I have just had half a gram of heroin” – and I thought, that can’t be a novice scientist speaking because a half gram would be a definite overdose. I thought to myself that either the writer is bull shitting us, that he pulled the half gram amount out of the air just because he thought it sounded like a nifty amount, and he doesn’t have a clue what he’s talking about or that the writer must be a well-experienced heroin user with somewhat of a considerable habit. It turns out its the later, and of course, that’s why I will return to The Australian Heroin Diaries from time to time, to check out what Terry’s posting about.
Today Mexico’s President signed into law a bill that was passed in the Spring by Mexico’s Congress. This law allows for the decriminalization of small amounts of all drugs (pot, heroin, cocaine, speed, lsd) considered personal possession. When found with small amounts, individuals will be offered the option of treatment, but not until the third time will treatment become mandatory.
Somewhat similar to what Portugal did 8 years ago. However, in Mexico small amounts is taken very literally; in fact, almost absurdly small. For example, only half a point of heroin (50 milligrams) is decriminalized. This only makes sense for the most casual heroin user. Most long-term “addicts” will use (or need to possess) a LOT more than half a point for their daily use. For example, I use a point and a half per injection, usually three times per day, thus making my normal daily dose nearly 9 times the limit of decriminalized amount in Mexico. In other words, they haven’t even decriminalized an amount sufficient for a normal single dose for an average “addict”, let alone a day or week’s worth. For coke, its half a gram. Again a very small dose.
Portugal has much higher limits. In Portugal “Decriminalization”applies to the purchase, possession, and consumption of all drugs for personal use (defined as the average individual quantity sufficient for 10 days’ usage for one person). That is to say, the limits in Portugal are approx. 30 times greater than the small amounts decriminalized in Mexico.
Filed under: Drug Politics
The <a href=”http://www.ft.com/home/us” target=”_blank”>Financial Times</a> of London, U.K. – like most financial newspapers – is not generally regarded as a progressive paper. It is, however, regarded as one of the most influential journals in the world. Thus it is very noteworthy that the Financial Times recently published an article entitled <a href=http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/486fb0d8-7ca3-11de-a7bf-00144feabdc0.html target=”_blank”>Why it’s time to end the war on drugs</a>.
The article notes that 2009 is becoming a watershed year in terms of a growing global recognition that drug policy reform is much needed, or as the article observes, “there is growing sense that reform is possible and increasingly urgent”.
What is drug policy reform all about? As the Financial Times article accurately points out: “The argument is not that drug use is A Good Thing. It is that the collateral damage caused by the so-called war on drugs has now reached catastrophic proportions.”
Of course there are many agencies that have a vested interest in the current war-on-drugs status-quo, such as the police, prisons, courts, and most significantly, the Cartels. Opponents of drug legalization often point to the Cartels, arguing that they won’t go away just because drugs are legalized. That might be true, but whose making the legalization case on the basis of abolishing the Cartels as a primary reason anyway? The fact that the Cartels might continue to operate is not a reason, in and of itself, to say the legalization case is without merit. Of interest is the question “What Will the Cartels Do After Drugs are Legal?” and it is addressed in an article at <a href=”http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle_blog/2009/aug/12/what_will_the_cartels_do_after_d” target=”_blank”>Stop the Drug War website</a>.
The FT article came to my attention in the Transform Drug Policy Foundation Media Blog – it’s an excellent blog. Add it to your Favourites.