Heroin is supposedly taking over many towns here in the northeast. Here’s a picture of what it looks like if you want to avoid it. That’s a basic $10 bag of heroin sold in most east coast cities and larger towns. I think those bags are about 2 inches long fully unfolded like that, and they contain a relatively small dose (although it certainly varies). For a regular user, it usually takes several of those to get the effect they’re looking for.
At its most basic, heroin is a substance that when taken into the bloodstream, effects the systems of the brain involved in pain relief, and also generally slows down the workings of the body and brain. Beyond that, people attribute many psychological/emotional effects to it (those effects may not be what they seem, but that’s a whole other topic for another day).
Many users consider heroin’s effects to be pleasurable or euphoric, and believe that it somehow relieves depression, anxiety, stress, or trauma. Wanting these effects, they pursue heroin use even in the face of very high costs. Whether you like it or not, there is a rhyme and reason to why people use heroin. You may disagree with their reasons, and may disagree with the costs they pay for the perceived effects of heroin, but the fact remains that heroin users have their reasons, and they are motivated by them to pursue heroin. However, I often hear people speak of heroin as if it’s got a mind of its own, and pursues us, rather than us pursuing it. Is this really the case?
For example, I heard in an obituary one time that heroin had “crept back into” someone’s life. It certainly was a sad story. A boy of about 22 years old had gotten into trouble with drug use, gone to some rehabs, and quit for a while. Then he overdosed on heroin and died. The boy’s family was praised for being so frank in the obituary. But is saying that heroin “crept back into his life” much more straightforward than saying that he “died suddenly” or “died in his sleep”, as is often written in such obits? I don’t think it is.
That bag of heroin pictured above looks just like the thousands I bought back when I used to do it. It has no arms, and it has no legs. It’s just a lifeless rectangular envelope made of wax paper. I think legs are necessary for anything that intends to creep around. So what are we to make of the reports that heroin creeps into people’s lives? How exactly does it animate itself to do that? Does heroin have the power of locomotion? Why would that family say that heroin “crept back into” their son’s life?
And if bags of heroin don’t have the appendages needed to creep around, how in the hell are they able to take over an entire town? Is heroin really capable of waging a battle, that police and concerned townspeople everywhere claim to be fighting? Are they really fighting a battle against 2 inch long wax paper bags containing a lifeless powder–and losing???
Or is there some other way Heroin is taking over your town? Is it running for political office, waging a nasty campaign, and using backroom deals to seize control of your local government? I’m not sure how it could do that though, since it is a lifeless powder sitting in a bag. When you have these Town Hall meetings to discuss the grip Heroin has on your town, does Heroin ever show up and defend itself? If so what does it say? More importantly, how is it communicating with you? I’ve never known Heroin to have a mouth for speaking, or hands for signing. Maybe it’s using telepathy??? Please explain.
I also hear that Heroin is killing our kids and families. What is it doing? Gunning them down? Stabbing them? Remember, it has no arms. I guess the official cause of death is usually overdose/poisoning. Is it putting itself in people’s coffee? Is it jumping up their noses? Is it putting itself into a hypodermic needle and injecting itself into their veins? I don’t know how, even if you were a sentient being made of water soluble powder that you would put yourself inside of a needle and then hold that needle and forcibly stick it into someone’s vein. What a trick! It’s Houdini Heroin!
I get it though, people are dying, right? We’re up against an epidemic of heroin addiction. I’m curious, if heroin is such a dangerous virus or contagion, why is it that parents aren’t catching it from their kids? Is Heroin truly a living virus? How does it spread? Is it airborn, is it in saliva? Or can you only catch it from blood to blood contact? Personally, I spent a lot of time at methadone clinics, outpatient addiction treatment programs, inpatient detox and rehab, yet I never saw the workers there wearing masks or hazmat suits. For the most part they wore very normal business-casual clothing. Should we make our addicted kids wear those paper masks so their disease doesn’t spread to us?
I understand that much of what I wrote above will upset many readers. I hope it does. I hope that it shakes you up and sparks some critical thinking. You see, I too have known many wonderful people who have died from heroin overdoses and many more who have wasted away struggling with the boogieman of addiction. I wasted several years of my own life on that struggle and came close to death. Nevertheless, I was truly in control of myself the entire time, and my actions were driven by what I thought and believed about drugs and addiction. I thought about these things in many nonsensical ways. When I started to learn the truth and think accurately about it all, I was able to end the struggle and move on.
We constantly personify drugs and alcohol, speaking and thinking of them as if they have powers equivalent to human beings. They do not. Heroin has no motives. It has no powers to make you inject it into your veins. People have motives. People have reasons for the choices they make. As long as we focus on heroin as if it is causing it’s own usage, we are blinding ourselves to what’s really going on. People use heroin because of the benefits they see in it. When they begin to think they’re no longer comfortable paying the price for heroin use, they often quit – but if they believe that heroin has a grip on them, that heroin is something to be battled, and that heroin is an actual foe to whom most people lose, then they lose all hope that change is possible.
Stop personifying heroin.
Heroin doesn’t kill people.
Heroin doesn’t have a grip on anyone.
Heroin is not an epidemic.
Heroin is not taking over your town.
Heroin does none of these things because it is a lifeless inanimate drug.
Heroin is a drug that some people choose to use because they think it has good effects.