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On June 6, 2013, The Monroe County Medical Examiner’s office reported a surge in heroin related overdose deaths. Heroin is very easy to acquire, especially downtown. Due to ease of access, lack of knowledge (or caring), and the strength of the drug, use is on the up, and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Children as young as fifteen have been known to sell the drug. Those involved in selling heroin can make hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars a day. Heroin is the everyman’s drug.
Known for its incredible potency and quasi hyperorgasmic high and relatively cheap price, it can enslave the bodies and minds of the rich, middle class, and poor alike. It can be acquired on the street corner, on the bus, in school, in the suburbs, motels, hotels, and in junk houses around the city. For as low as fifteen dollars, you can acquire a point (.1 grams) of moderate to decent quality heroin, which to an inexperienced user is enough for a heavy “nod.” Heroin tolerance increases dramatically with use; by the 10th dose users may have to double or triple their dose to experience the same feeling as they did with their first. Users can be addicted on the first or second dose.
To be intravenously dosed, the user must cook and filter out the impurities. Failure to do so can lead to an abscess in the flesh, which when left ignored and untreated can lead to infection, limb loss, and death. This can still happen if it’s filtered and cooked if the vein is missed. Consistent use in the same vein or one use in an unsuitable vein can lead to the collapsing of the vein, which can rarely be reversed. Needle sharing among users promotes the transmission of HIV, Hepatitis A, B, and C, Syphilis, and many other diseases. In New York State, Rochester is second only to New York City in HIV cases. Needles can be sterilized with bleach, or properly disposed of at a needle exchange. There is one located at 416 Central Ave. Its hours are from 1pm to 4pm.
Upward quality shifts can unexpectedly raise the price leading to (further and occasionally violent) crime for those who are impoverished and addicted. Downward quality shifts lower the price, making it seem a better value. Users often buy more, and often dose more, which also can lead to overdose hospitalization and death.
The heroin micro economy is completely dealer controlled. Often when users first begin, the dealers supply them with quality goods. Once they begin to use more the quality downshifts, while prices remain the same, or go higher, making the dealer excessive amounts of money. The users remain under the dealer’s thumb. To the dealer, they’re puppets that bleed money. Heroin withdrawal can’t kill you, but it will most certainly make you wish it did.
Those detoxing experience severe nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, cold sweating, cramps, shakes, severe depression and anxiety, insomnia and delirium for up to three weeks. These symptoms can be helped with marijuana and benzodiazepines, however, users can become physically addicted to benzodiazepines, as well. Due to the severe withdrawal and emotional pain for months after the last dose, most users never fully quit. Opiate replacement therapy is readily available for those who qualify at 300 Crittenden Blvd, Rochester, NY, in the Strong Memorial Hospital complex.
“Thanks to the D.A.R.E. program, I knew how to cook before I’d even thought of using, this was reinforced through the years by witnessing use in media and films such as Requiem for a Dream and Trainspotting. The rest of the information was common sense.
There was a time when I wanted to be a medical professional, I would constantly read my outdated nurses handbook every night before bed. I learned to never inject any sort of air, that’d lead to an air embolism. (An extremely painful way to die) That’s why you tap the needle and squirt out an extremely tiny amount of fluid before you inject. You don’t want to waste any. You’re supposed to switch veins every time you inject, personally I alternated between Cephalic veins in my right and left arm, occasionally injecting into my Femoral vein when I was worried that my Cephalic might be spent. Any accessible vein can be used. I’ve known users who’ve shot dope into their penile veins, which usually caused some severe damage that has lead to actions such as amputation down the road.
Before September of 2011, I never would have thought of using hard drugs. I only delved into Benzodiazepines and moderate stimulants once or twice up to that point, and didn’t get much enjoyment out of them. In September, I had some severe emotional trauma. I slipped out of reality and sought to destroy everything, including myself. I was like this for several months, hiding my addiction from most. I quit a couple times, only to start back up a few weeks later. It was only after taking a hefty dose of LSD (800ug) that I developed an extreme desire to quit. This would prove to be the hardest two weeks of my life. With the Facebook support of K.B. and my ex-girlfriend I finally kicked the habit for good. The emotional desire still somewhat lingers, but I never see myself using Heroin again as long as I live.”