JUNKe Life

Yesterday, today, and tomorrow
September 1, 2018, 7:25 am
Filed under: JUNKe life

Yep, I’m still alive and kicking… well, not kicking (thank goddess), but you know what I mean.  I’m still here (on Planet Person Who Uses Drugs and is a Nice Person).

Sadly, one has to confirm their continued existence as a practicing injection drug user, these days more than ever, given the new and completely disgusting Fentanyl contamination of many of our substances of choice.  As someone commented yesterday, I’m not a fanatic communist, but totally unfettered capitalism is obviously not a good thing.   Indeed, and in my humble opinion, they who adulterate with fentanyl should be forced to drink from the cup of molten gold.

toronto drug users memorial

Since my last post, more than five and a half years past, I have not missed a day (thank goddess again).  Thankfully, barely even half a day.  Oh of course, there have been some very stressful and fretful times, of course.  Yet somehow things have managed to work out, and we (sweetie and I) have been able been able to maintain.   Yes, there have been many hours passing, long desperate hours wherein we’ve begun to feel too hot or cold, and started to yawn uncontrollably, with watery eyes, with sneezing and wiping away much nasal drip, but somehow – be it luck of circumstance or far too many kilometers driven – we’ve thus far (over 15 years this run) managed to score in time and stave off the hell of full withdrawal.

And we’re still alive.  Just thought I’d let you know this.  In parting (this time) I wish you well.  Take care.

Changing times…
January 28, 2013, 11:52 pm
Filed under: Dope, JUNKe life

A completely new reality to consider when one hears “oh the kids, yeah don’t worry about them, they’re okay, they’re in the basement necking”.


Indeed the times they are a changing…

Privilege is…
April 27, 2012, 12:35 pm
Filed under: JUNKe life | Tags:

Being able to prepare your morning hit before you go to bed.

Or is it just good luck?  Good management?

Bad luck is feeling quite stumped as to where I’m going to find the next usable vein.   Or is that just the inevitable result of decades of daily injecting?

Home helps harm reduction
July 28, 2011, 12:17 pm
Filed under: harm reduction, JUNKe life | Tags: ,

Over the years I’ve lived some stretches on the streets.  Its got its good points, but if ain’t easy in lots of ways.  One of those ways its tough is in trying to keep clean; and more to the point, if you’re needing to fix a few times every day, its tough to find (or maintain) a clean place to do one’s prep and ultimately, one’s fix.  We all know dirt isn’t a good mix with whatever goes into our syringe, and therefore, having a clean place to do our thing is pretty darn important if one is trying to negotiate the risks.

daily bread

Having a clean and stable place to get things together is a big plus.  Luckily I’m managing to maintain a roof over my head, and under that roof, we manage to keep our place pretty clean.   In particular, we keep our prep area as dirt free and even sterile as realistically possible.   As well, having a stable living place that serves as one’s home means one can manage their harm reduction needs in terms of having a ready supply of harm reduction supplies.   I’m talking about a cupboard full of clean syringes, new needle tips, alcohol prep pads, sterile water, cottons, and any other tools of the trade.   Every needle exchange these days is more than willing to pass along enough supplies that one’s home can be well stocked on an ongoing basis.  As such, not only am I well prepared for my day-to-day needs, but I’ve got enough stock for that spontaneous party where suddenly there’s a bunch of folks hanging and needing a clean rig for each and every shot.

harm reduction cupboard

Having a sink and working tap is one of the luxuries that having housing also provides.   Water to use for fixing and water to use for cleaning – cleaning before and after one’s regular fix, and even during a session that’s stretching out into the new dawn.   And a counter-top to work on, something that’s easy to keep clean with a few wipes of a wash rag, followed by a good swipe down using a couple of alcohol prep pads.    And those spoons.  It’s great to have a drawer full of spoons for every need.   Spoons that are regularly washed in the sink.  Dried properly.  And in my case, carefully swiped with a new alcohol pap before every use (and then wiped dry with a clean piece of toilet paper prior to adding any “substance” into it).

Besides the cleanliness (harm reduction positive) that having a home entails, its great to be able to “hide” behind one’s closed doors and walls and relax and do one’s thing in relative tranquility, away from the prying eyes of rats or the ever-present street danger of patrolling police.

I can’t remember the quote exactly, but William Burroughs wrote something to the effect that there’s no excuse for dirty junky, that there’s no reason not to practice clean routines.   I guess he wasn’t thinking about homelessness at the time.  But he’s got a good point.  It’s ignorance and laziness which keeps us from practicing the harm reduction of cleanliness when one has the advantages of a home for their shelter.

hydromorph eslon grays oranges

Lately I’ve been forced to rely on some Eslon 200’s (red/opaque cap)  and some hydromorph contin 12 mgs (orange cap) because I’m not quite making it to resupply of my regular morphine grays.    As many have discovered, the hydromorph contin (basically dilaudid) is quite difficult to well-prepare.   Unlike the Eslons (which crush up easy with each bead releasing its morphine powder), the hydromorph contin beads are very tough.   Even after crushing a couple of beads there’s hardly any powder visable so I’m starting to wonder whether the bead itself is actually comprised of the dilaudid, as opposed to contains a dilaudid powder.   Therefore, it is not enough simply to break the bead (since there’s nothing to release from inside it) but instead you need to powder the bead itself by completely crushing it down to a powder.   I beleive the failure of people to crush of the beads completely is the reason why they are complaining about the bang from them.   I spend a considerable effort of muscle power breaking down the beads and the resulting powder – when mixed with water and heated – does ultimately release its precious narcotic nectar.   I’ve found that 12 mg of hydromorph is equivalent to aprox. 100 mg of morphine, so for me, two 12 mg hydromorph contins (well crushed and cooked) provides decent relief and wellness when flooded into my vein.   But only in a pinch do I do either of these caps.   They aren’t a healthy as good ol’ morphine contins.   I’ve being doing many morphine contins per day for eons and I’m still alive and not doing too darn shabby, if I do say so myself.

Trust costs…
December 19, 2010, 1:18 pm
Filed under: Dope, JUNKe life

Who can you trust? You’re damned lucky if you have some people in your life you can trust. Dylan sings “trust yourself”. Yeah, that’s a good one. But it’s frigging fantastic when you can trust somebody else as well.

This is a little story about how trust cost us more than a loss of faith, it cost a shitload of money. Why? Because we trusted a dealer and the bastard broke his word to us because he could get himself a few more bucks by doing so. Yeah, we were fools to trust this dealer. But then again, there was a time he wasn’t just a dealer, he was kind of a friend.

young girl giving the finger

When words aren't enough

Our relationship with this dealer lasted years. We never had a problem with him. His prices were considerably less than anyone else we’d come upon. We saw him regularly for three years prior to going on methadone. Then we saw him regularly for three years after starting up again. During those times he was our primary source for morphine. And morphine was our primary drug of daily use.

To make a long story shorter (to use a common turn of phrase) the second time we started buying from this fellow he said we could run up a tab with him since, in the past, we’d always cleared our bill. Okay, that was cool. However, we’d been fucked around by this sort of relationship in the past with other dealers ending up changing the terms on us and leaving us not high and dry, so to speak. For example, suddenly stopping selling, when we owed a couple thousand, and demanding payment, which left us penniless to try and find someone else to score from. So we were fairly leery about putting all our eggs into his basket, and then having him take the basket away. Once burned, twice shy… or something like that.

We said, “okay, we’ll deal with you, but we don’t want to find ourself in a situation where we become dependent on you and then you fuck us around”. He promised that the terms of our arrangement wouldn’t change, and that he’d honour our relationship with him. We’d get a big front, and when we paid it off, we’d get another big front. The size of the front being large enough to last long enough for us to using (keep well, even high) while we took the time to get together enough bucks to go see him again. Basically we got two to four weeks worth of dope, and by the time it was about used up we’d usually always gotten enough to pay for it.

Our primary worry was we didn’t want him finding someone else who was willing to pay a couple dollars more per pill, and then switch over to selling to that person, leaving us nothing but an outstanding bill and no new front we paid it. He promised he wouldn’t do that. In fact, he said he liked our arrangement. It saved him from having to nickle and dime sell. It was worth it to him to sell to us cheap, and receive a guarentee of a few thousand on schedule, as opposed to the hassle of selling a few here and there for ultimately a bit more money. As for finding someone who was willing to have the exact same relationship, but pay more in total, he said “hey, I consider you guys friends, so I wouldn’t do that to you”.

But he did that to us. After three years (this time) of never missing a payment, never jerking him around, of basically operating with a relationship that seemed like more than just a business thing, he fucked us around. He sold us out, left us dry and not high, for a few more bucks. The fucking lying piece of shit bastard!

We should have seen it coming. Why? Because he started spending large on consumer shit. And then complaining to us about his bills. He bought a $25,000 Harley. He bought a super fancy high def 3-D tv. He bought this, he bought that. (Or should I say, we bought all that for him?) He was even running up his credit – the greedy prick. Here we’re handing him thousands and thousands of dollars, and he’s complaining to us about his money problems. We should have seen it coming.

motorcycle crash

All I want for Christmas

A telephone call. The bastard didn’t even have the jam to tell us face to face. He says “ah, I can’t really afford to do it this way anymore. I’m going to need the money up front… blah blah blah”. Basically he only floated us for a month max, but now a month was too long for him to wait for his paycheque from us. Why? Because he over-spent and then didn’t have the cash in hand when his monthly bills came due, and he was going to miss a couple payments and then start chaulking up interest.

So instead of blaming himself for getting in debt, he blames us. We who always paid. And on time. It’s just he needed some bucks that day, and we weren’t due to show up to pay him for a couple weeks. So instead of eating his shit, he decided to fuck us over, and find someone who would pay him, and pay him right then. And pay him a bit more per pill too. Ah sweet deal for him, the greedy lying asshole.

So here we were, out there doing our thing, working to get the money to take to him for the last front, expecting another, and he says “sorry, can’t front anymore”. So we gotta pay the bill, and then double it, all at once, to get the sufficient amount of dope to carry us while we get some more cash together. Now that just wasn’t gonna happen. We couldn’t get double the bucks together quick, not unless we resorted to some real heavy shit and we really didn’t want to go there.

Not that it would have mattered anyhow. It was already a done deal. He had already sold all his shit to the new guy who had cash in hand. Of course, he didn’t say that. He made it seem like it wasn’t his fault that we couldn’t make the new arrangement happen. Essentially telling us, it’s too bad we couldn’t pay our bill, and then afford to buy what we needed, but well, that’s unfortunate, but hey, shit happens, right?

Of course he knew we wouldn’t pay our outstanding bill if we weren’t also going to get something to take away (as had been the arrangement for the preceeding three years). But that didn’t matter to him. He’d already got the cash he needed to pay his bills, and furthermore, he’d gotten himself a new and slightly more prosperous arrangement then the one he’d had with us. So what if it cost him a bit of a conscience that it turns out he never had anyways.

All those times he promised he would never jack us around for a few extra bucks. All those times he said, “I know what its like and I won’t leave you hurting. Never!”. Ah, more the fools were we, eh? And more the wiser now.

Heroin in Pakistan in pictures…
August 31, 2010, 8:41 am
Filed under: JUNKe life

Check it out


Cooking slow-release morphine tablets continued…
January 5, 2010, 2:04 pm
Filed under: Dope, harm reduction, JUNKe life | Tags: ,

Here’s a link you won’t want to miss:

Effect of filtration on morphine and particle content of injections prepared from slow-release oral morphine tablets

Basically that’s a link to research reported in the Harm Reduction Journal about filtering out the particles from crushed morphine pills.  One big concern people sometimes have is that filtering will block out lots of the morphine along with the insoluble particles.   The good news is that filtering leases the morphine and just removes the crap particles.  In fact, even after double and triple filtering, still up to 90 per cent of the pill’s morphine dose remained in the solution ready to inject.

Morphine cooking spoon

One problem with filtering is that coarse filters, such as cigarette filters, still let through lots of small particles.  However, using really fine filters often get blocked because they remove so many particles.  But there is a sensible solution – filter twice.  The first time use a cigarette filter, and then the second time, run the mixture you got back through the cigarette filter into a very fine sterilizing filter.   Since all the big particles are already removed by the cigarette filter, the mixture can go through the sterilizing filter and get the very fine particles removed.

In the end you’ll be left with a solution which is essentially free of tablet-derived particles yet still retains upwards of 90 per cent of all the morphine.   Doubtless lots of people have been filtering this way already, but now we’ve got actual scientific proof that this method works great.  It keeps us both health (particles removed) and high (no loss of dose).

Remember a good “meal” is the result of careful preparation!  Happy cooking!

Earlier post about filtering and injecting

Merry Ho Ho Hoe
December 3, 2009, 11:17 pm
Filed under: JUNKe life, Stuff

Christmas comes but once a year and thank goodness for that. Christmas is such a tough time for many, and for junkies and tweakers it is doubly tough. Its rough and tough and all too much for some. So much of the expectations of society come crashing down on a drug user at this time of year and if they don’t watch out they can get flooded with feelings of uselessness, failure and self-disgust. Not only can’t they afford to buy presents for loved ones, a major reason for their immediate poverty is that every last penny goes to dope for themselves. That sort of realization, in the light of Christmas and its family values perspective, can be a heavy load to hoe.
Families (many of them anyways) get together at Christmas. But woe is the strung out junkie. They don’t feel like going on dismal display for relatives to appraise critically. Even if a user can find the money to make it back home, and get enough of a stash together to make it through the holidays, they know that they’ll likely stand out like a sore thumb amidst the yuletime cheer. Yet if they phone in some bogus excuse for why they won’t be coming home for the holidays, that too is just another reminder of their failure in the eyes of their family. They know there will be gossip about why they aren’t wolfing down the turkey with the rest of em.
Sadly a lot of suicide is brought on by the pressure of the holiday season. And a lot of depression. And a lot of over-using just to try and blot out the sadness and worthlessness one feels as a junkie during Christmas.
Even for those users who have come to accept themselves and have developed a pretty thick skin in the face of societal condemnations, making Christmas happen is quite an effort. Money is always so hard to come by to begin with but a user has to dig pretty darn deep to manage to get presents for the essential relatives and keep themselves well in terms of their habit at the same time. It takes a lot of planning to pull off a reasonably successful Christmas at the best of times but for a user they’ve really got to have things will thought out and have a bit of luck thrown in as well. It isn’t easy to get together enough drugs in advance to sustain oneself throughout the entire family affair that often takes place in a city which the user isn’t familiar with so that they could score easily in an emergency. Nothing is worse than needing to get well and having to make excuses to a living room of celebrating relatives about why you’re got to borrow someone’s car so you can go downtown for awhile just as the turkey is bubbling away in the oven. Yes, of course I’ll be back before dinner… yeah right!
Somehow thousands upon thousands of us manage to make it through the holidays without a major bummer. You can be damn sure a lot of work went into pulling that off. Right now we’re planning for the family visit and trying to make sure we don’t find ourselves short at precisely the wrong time. That’s a whole lot of stress on top of the normal stresses of this season. Here’s wishing well to all those users out there struggling to pull off another Christmas for themselves and the sake of those they love. And a remembrance for those who won’t be making it home for Christmas.

(Part 2) A hit to die for… on close circut tv
September 24, 2009, 11:29 am
Filed under: JUNKe life, Stuff | Tags:

… previously was Part One

The bus doors opened outward and out stepped Mr. Dealer Man. He saw me immediately because I had begun moving toward him, quickly and aggressively, the second I saw him leave the bus. I could see a perplexed fearful look come to his face, not surprising since my body language clearly announced “Danger!” and my eyes surely were firing with a violent intensity. Baring down upon him I was as focused (and fucked up) as a desperate coke fiend trying to do their fifteenth fix of the evening. Before he’d taken a dozen steps I was upon him.

“What’s going on?” he asked, cautiously, obviously recognizing I wasn’t my normal mellow, even docile, junkie shows dealer deference, self.

“What’s going on is you’re going to front me a couple of pills and you’re going to give them to me right now!”

“What? Why? Just a sec..”

“No just a sec! I want those friggin’ pills and I want them right now. You know we get our money tonight [everyone knows when welfare day is] and you know I’ll be by tonight to pay you. So just give me the two pills now! You know its my sweetie’s birthday and we just want to chill at home. We’ve bought tens of thousands of dollars of dope from you. You know I’ll pay you tonight. So I want a two pills front. Give me the pills now and lets be done with it. I’m not fuckin’ kidding!”

As this conversation unfolded we were still standing near the bus stop, directly in front of his apartment building. He was beginning to regain his bearings, no longer looking so nervous, and I knew from experience with him that he was starting to try to figure out some way to weasel his way out of upping me those pills. I was having none of that crap.


“What the fuck man! I said I want a two pill front, just two god damn pills. I’ve told ya I’ll be back later with the money. You know me man! We always pay on time, and we’ve never ripped you off. Never! So quit stalling and give me the pills! I’m serious man! I want those pills, fucking NOW! I’m not asking anymore man, I want those pills.”

I really didn’t give a fuck. I didn’t care that we were standing on a fairly busy street, in front of an apartment with balconies with people on them, or with open sliding glass windows, standing and yelling where any number of people nearby could hear us. I was at the point where I didn’t care about anything about being cool or keeping a low profile. I didn’t care about nothing but getting those couple pills so my sweetie didn’t have to run the streets, scrounging for scratch, on her birthday. In fact, as crazy as it is, I was quite prepared to kill him, right then and there, if that’s what it took to make sure I got those pills. Stab him multiple times, and rob him right there in broad daylight, if he didn’t cough up the pills.

“Fucking now man!” I literally screamed.

Finally the arrogant prick perceived that I was about to do violence. Finally he realized that he was going to be hurt if he stalled any longer. He was scared. Finally he submitted.

“Okay, okay, okay. Not here.” he said and started moving toward his building’s front door.

In my mind I figured he might actually be thinking of unlocking the apartment’s front door, slipping in, and pulling the door shut, trying to lose me. He probably wasn’t, but I wasn’t taking any chances.

“I said NOW man, I said fucking NOW” I yelled, and grabbed his shoulder, and spun him backwards.

We were now standing at the apartment’s front vestibule, where the apartment residents are listed on the wall, beside the two way speaker system you use to get buzzed in. Up in a corner was a security camera pointed at whomever is standing at the front door. Lots of the building’s residents defaulted their tv’s to the channel that security camera appeared on whenever they weren’t watching any particular show – particularly the druggies so they could see cops at the apartment door or get a clear visual of who might be buzzing their apartment. So this altercation was on candid camera and we definitely had an audience.

“One last time man”, I said with clear menace, “I am not fucking kidding. Give them to me now or I’m fucking taking them from ya!”.

The all-purpose multi-tool knife, all-purpose except unintended for the lethal purpose I was sickenly close to using it for, was still clenched in my fist. I had not forgotten about it in the least. I had clearly run over in my mind, many times, how I would hold the tool, and stab with the solid pliers end because it would do the most damage.

Finally he exhaled and shook his head in resignation, “Ah fuck” he sighed, and began undoing his belt. I knew then I was getting the pills. This dealer always kept his stash in a bag, tucked down beneath his bag. So there he stood, at the front door to his apartment building, in direct view of the security camera and all who might be watching, pulling his pants down to his knees, and withdrawing his stash bag from within his briefs. You know I’ve had a good laugh about this many times since.

Out came the plastic bag from within the stash bag. It contained literally hundreds of pills of dozen different shapes and colours, several half-point flaps of junk, plus a couple baggies of coke powder. He was the kind of small time dealer who spent most of his earnings on dope and often dropped by his coke dealer after his selling downtown was done to get an eight ball for the evening. Altogether it was a pretty considerable stash that he’d exposed, along with his bare butt and nuts. Looking truly pathetic, he held forth the baggie and pleaded, “please don’t take it all”.

“Please don’t take it all. What the fuck man. I told you I just want a couple pills. A couple pills and I’ll pay you for them tonight. Fuck man, you know me. I’m not going to take your fucking dope. I don’t do shit like that. I just want a couple pills”.

He picked out two greys and handed them to me. Then he looked at me, like some kid who standing before a teacher at detention. He wasn’t going to do anything, he just stood there, pants around his knees, he wasn’t going to move until he was certain I was satisfied.


“Okay” I said, and turned to leave. After a few strides, I stopped and looked back. “I will be by just a bit after midnight to pay for these”.

He was bent over, wiggling his pants back up to his waist, and I don’t think he even heard me.

“Fucking asshole” I muttered to myself, and started hightailing it outta there. Mission accomplished. My sweetie wouldn’t have to hit the streets on her birthday.

Later, after midnight, i phoned him to say I had the money and would be by in a couple minutes to pay him. Not too surprisingly, he said I shouldn’t bother coming by because his old lady was pissed at me for yelling at her over the intercom when she’d turned me down for a front earlier in the day. It was that b.s. which drove me to start stalking the front of his apartment waiting to confront him when he got home.

“Sure thing man” I replied, “Just don’t forget I was willing to pay you tonight. You don’t want my money now, okay, but know I would have come and paid you for those two pills just like I said I would” and I hung up.

What a day! That bastard had come so close to dying. And I was insanely close to spending the rest of my life in prison because I had reached the snapping point with dealer power tripping. And the day wasn’t over yet. I had intended to buy several more pills when I saw him that evening. Now that he wasn’t letting me come to his place I had to hunt down someone else to score from. Fucking hell! Does the shit ever end?

What does heroin feel like?
August 26, 2009, 8:40 am
Filed under: heroin, JUNKe life | Tags:

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.