Maia Szalavitz [mefi's own maias] talks about her new book, Unbroken Brain: A Revolutionary New Way of Understanding Addiction on Fresh Air with Terry Gross (transcript) - "We have this idea that if we are just cruel enough and mean enough and tough enough to people with addiction, that they will suddenly wake up and stop, and that is not the case."
This is what it's like to have sex for money when you're sick from heroin withdrawal [Content warning: graphic depictions of sex acts, drug use, and other topics which may be uncomfortable to some readers]
In addition to being a talented saxophonist, the late Art Pepper was many things -- among them, a drug addict, a thief, an alcoholic and a writer. This personal film portrait (from 1981) reveals the fascinating life of a remarkable jazz musician in his own words, as he describes his dreams, his criminal past, his upbringing and the meaning of his tattoos. He died the next year. [more inside]
As Heroin Use by Whites Soars, Parents Urge Gentler Drug War Noting that “junkies” is a word he would never use now, he said that these days, “they’re working right next to you and you don’t even know it. They’re in my daughter’s bedroom — they are my daughter.” [more inside]
Once upon a time, three Australian friends decided to take their private jokes and characters and turn them into a cartoon. Then something unexpected happened: they actually did it. This is THE BIG LEZ SHOW. Here's the compiled first season - links to episodes from all three seasons are after the break. Oh, and here's a recent podcast episode about it I just discovered. Warning: series contains profanity and depictions of drug use, yeeeewww fukken druggo. [more inside]
"Dying to be free : there’s a treatment for heroin addiction that actually works. Why aren’t we using it?" -- A long-form article, focusing on heroin addiction and its "treatment" in Kentucky, by Jason Cherkis. (Huffington Post Projects) [more inside]
The darknet online marketplace Silk Road 2 has been seized. Formerly used for the online purchase and exchange of numerous illicit substances, the Washington Post argues that online reviews of your drug dealer makes the world a safer place, and law enforcement's actions against technology advancements counteracts that.
Staten Island’s Pill Problem: [The New Yorker] "New York City is the heroin capital of the country, and the epidemic has hit its most tranquil borough the hardest."
This is a collection of Francisco "Puree Tomatoes" Taccir's blog posts from Myspace and Friendster from 2005 – 2010. Tomatoes was a writer, artist, and addict who was born on February 26. 1977. He died on October 10, 2010 from a heroin overdose. [more inside]
Every Wednesday, rocker Andrew WK (previously) answers reader questions in his Village Voice advice column. He can be deep ("Ideally, life shouldn't be an ongoing struggle to see the glass half-full, but rather an appreciation that there's a glass at all") and inspirational and practical. Today, a reader asks him whether he should start using heroin.
"Everything is fine and the world is beautiful. It's raining, it's dark, I woke up at 5:30AM, I'm commuting in traffic. I would have had a headache, I would have been miserable, I would have wondered how my life took me to this point. This point I'm at right now. But no, no, everything is fine. Life is beautiful. The rain drops are just falling and in each one I see the reflection of every persons life around me. Humanity is beautiful. In this still frame shot of traffic on this crowded bus I just found love and peace. Heroin is a wonder drug. Heroin is better than everything else. Heroin makes me who I wish I was. Heroin makes life worth living. Heroin is better than everything else." [more inside]
The final confessions of a Silk Road kingpin Patrick O'Neill recently undertook an astonishingly open set of interviews with Nod, a major black-tar heroin and cocaine dealer who traded on Silk Road. By our third phone call, Steven Lloyd Sadler was a fugitive. Facing federal charges for drug trafficking and distribution, Sadler decided he'd rather skip the trial and jail sentence altogether. He was pulling away from Seattle, where he was charged, and we talked for hours. He began that particular conversation on speakerphone, attempting to circumvent the state’s law prohibiting the use of cellphones while driving, but noisy interference forced him to pick up the call. [...] "They'll be pretty pissed off at me," he said, referring to his federal public defenders.
In case you were starting to miss the daily insanity that is Rob Ford, Toronto's admitted crack-smoking, tax-cutting, drunken stupor of a Mayor, your wait is over. Newly-unredacted wiretaps from the police investigation into attempts to retrieve the infamous video of Rob Ford smocking crack, calling his football team "a bunch of fucking minorities", and Justin Trudeau a "fa**ot", have re-ignited the inquiry into the Mayor's actions. [more inside]
"Hardly anyone at the time would have believed that I would still be here today." Christiane Felscherinow, better known as Christiane F., has published Mein Zweites Leben (My Second Life), the follow-up to her (in)famous autobiography, which was originally published when she was 17. Christiane's story became a sensation in Germany and a cult classic around the world (as well as the basis for a cult film, with a soundtrack by David Bowie), and has recently been republished in America in a new translation. (Previously)
***WARNING ALL LINKS IN THIS POST POTENTIAL NIGHTMARE FUEL*** Crocodile (Krokodil), the super-powerful Flesh-Eating Russian version of morphine, has been called the World's Most Dangerous drug by such connoisseurs as Vice Magazine. Last week, news broke that it has spread to the United States, and even [gasp] New York City. [more inside]
The world's most extensive study of the drug trade has just been published in the medical journal BMJ Open, providing the first "global snapshot" of four decades of the war on drugs. To sum up their most important findings, the average purity of heroin and cocaine have increased, respectively, 60 percent and 11 percent between 1990 and 2007. Cannabis purity is up a whopping 161 percent over that same time. Not only are drugs way purer than ever, they're also way, way cheaper. Coke is on an 80 percent discount from 1990, heroin 81 percent, cannabis 86 percent. After a trillion dollars spent on the drug war, now is the greatest time in history to get high.
In photographer Matt Slaby's series In Xanadu, current and former drug users in Denver describe places throughout the city where they've experienced overdoses. [more inside]
"Twelve years ago, Portugal eliminated criminal penalties for drug users. Since then, those caught with small amounts of marijuana, cocaine or heroin go unindicted and possession is a misdemeanor on par with illegal parking. Experts are pleased with the results." [more inside]
Q: What's the connection between heroin in Glasgow and a dead goat in Turkey? A: Anthrax.
"On the 28th October 1975 my mother gave birth to a heroinhead - that was/is me. My father was a young Glaswegian junkie nicknamed Puggy. I was born with heroin in my veins. 7 years after my birth, my father was brutally murdered by infamous British serial-killer Dennis Nilsen. [more inside]
While most of the attention in the war on drugs has been focused on Mexico of late, the opium trade in Afghanistan is still alive. Though perhaps not as well this year, as Tajikistan reports far less opium crossing the border, attributed to more use within Afghanistan as well as an unexplained poppy blight. With yields dropping and prices rising, US-backed efforts to encourage farmers to grow alternate crops (previously) may be derailed, despite a trade agreement with Pakistan which promises to open the country's borders to more trade in legitimate consumer goods with India. Meanwhile, people are looking into ways to turn the poppy fields into biofuels.
Swansea Love Story [Flash video, six parts, occasional NSFW, shows drug use], a documentary in VBS’ Rule Britannia series, follows young heroin users in the South Wales city, looking at their family life, daily routines and some of the changes in the community around them. Interview with film-maker Andy Capper; something on director Leo Leigh; brief write-up here, slightly longer review here.
In a recent report for the Abell Foundation, University of Maryland Criminologist Peter Reuter asks whether, in light of the evidence from Switzerland, The Netherlands and elsewhere, Baltimore might not be the best place to try the first US heroin maintenance programme?
Christiane F was a 1981 German film that portrayed the life of young heroin addicts growing up in 1970's Berlin. Notable for the collaboration of David Bowie, the film became well known for its realistic portrayal of drug use. [more inside]
The poppy is bitterly ironic this Remembrance Day. Borrowed from John McRae's classic In Flanders' Fields, the poppy has shifted from a symbolic meaning to the central subject of an ongoing conflict. As international intervention in Afghanistan continues, opium production has reached record-breaking heights, with this single country now producing 90% of the world's total supply (utterly dwarfing global licit supply). Meanwhile, the world suffers a global opiate shortage(pdf), Canada's heroin maintenance project is threatened by politics, and the National Review of Medicine suggests that prescription opiates are far more dangerous than the "usual suspects".
So how's the War on Drugs proceeding in Afghanistan? Barry McCaffrey, former drug czar, trumpets, "Opium production has been dramatically slashed by 48% just in the past year.". Oops, actually that's the acreage of opium cultivation; production went down by only 10%, due to increased yields. In any case, that's so last year. Instead of the socially detrimental policy of poppy eradication, wouldn't it be preferable to allow licensing of poppies for legitimate medical needs? The Afghan farmers agree, but some think the idea is flawed.
Fox pussies out. Recently a bill passed in mexico legalizing all drugs under certain specified quantities. The bill was promoted By Vincente Fox's party, and came from his offices. However he decided not to sign it under U.S. pressure.
There go my vacation plans.
There go my vacation plans.
Be Warned: some very disturbing and NSFW intravenous drug abuse images from Eastern Europe. [More Inside]
Lawless Iraq is 'key drug route' Drug smugglers exploiting internal chaos in Iraq have turned the country into a transit route for Afghan heroin, an influential drug agency says.
The Australian media is calling them the 'Bali nine'. Nine young Australians are being held in Bali under suspicion for attempting to smuggle 8.3 kg (or 11.25 kg depending on what you read) of heroin through Bali's airport. They were caught with the drugs allegedly strapped to their bodies while accomplices were apprehended at a nearby hotel. Most of the nine Australians are now cooperating with police enquiries even though they fear doing so will further endanger the lives of their families (e.g. drug lords punishing them for talking). Don't get this latest case mistaken, however, with the other high-profile Australian drugs case in the Australian media right now. Beauty therapist Schapelle Corby, 27, is also being held in Bali for the 4.1 kg of top-notch marijuana found in her bodyboard bag some months ago. Prosecutors in that case have asked for a life sentence to be handed down to Corby. She has supposedly escaped death by firing squad. Her legal team and family, though, say she was a victim of dodgy baggage handlers and an Australian interstate drug smuggling operation that uses unknowing interstate Australian travellers as drug mules. Most Australians are worried about this, too. Of course, the strain of the case on Corby is beginning to show. But getting back to the 'Bali nine'. What will their fate be? Another Australian was just given an execution order in Vietnam for also smuggling Heroin. It's all nasty stuff, hey. News reports indicate that Australian officials will seek clemency for those involved in the latest Bali bust. Yeah, but how much good will that do? Indonesia is well known for enforcing strong anti-drug laws. And who can blame them?
Well known for speaking the truth about governments and getting pressured for it [7th paragraph from the top], Alain Labrousse recently published his Dictionnaire géopolitique des drogues [Geopolitical Dictionary of Drugs]. I don't think it's been translated in English yet, but all his previous works have, so I'm sure an English version is on the way. His latest book is being well received by everyone who's interested in "open source" information about drugs, particularly how the various national economies profit from them. A recent review [in French], cites one example of twisted international relations concerning drugs [my translation]: Europe speaks no evil about activities in Morocco, the most important source of cannabis in the world, or in Turkey, where scores of laboratories transform afghan opium into heroin, simply because these two countries provide a frontline of resistance to radical Islam. In North America, in Mexico, the United States tolerated for 70 years the Institutional Revolutionary Party (Partido Revolucionario Institucional - PRI), even though its leaders supported, and even chose mexican drug cartels. Geostrategic interests outweigh the most basic needs of the war against drugs.
Drug War roundup. The US will end drug-related sanctions against Afghanistan and Haiti. Neither country stopped producing drugs, they need loans sanctions stop them from receiving. A British journalist compares the drug policies of Holland to Britain. Noteworthy: despite heroin being half the price, there are 25% fewer Dutch addicts. The FARC and Columbia are openly warring again. So far, only civilians have been killed. The California Medical Association voted to lobby the state government to raise the smoking age from 18 to 21.
Rapid Detox "In the world of addiction medicine, no technique for treating heroin users has ever been more controversial" According to the article, in the US, 980,000 use heroin, 175,000 are enrolled in government programs receiving daily dose of methadone, and only 1,000 rapid detox procedures are done a year. "Patients want it" Dr. Gevirtz says, "because it gives them a compassionate and comfortable way to get clean." Shouldn't they get it?
A one year old article about evidence of anthrax found in victims of a mysterious disease that has killed 10 Scottish heroin addicts. Does anyone know more about this?
D.A.R.E Essays: 20 Years In the Future. "After getting addicted to marijuana, I tried angle dust, heroin, and other dangerous drugs that could kill me. A couple of days after my 17th birthday I joined a gang. Well anyway, the way I got killed was in a gang fight. P.S. If you ever read this I hope that you never go down the same path I did. You should stay in school and don't do drugs." Right.
You mean there's a war, and people on drugs are winning it? The latest additions to the Gruaniads special report on drugs are interesting. In the top story Scotland Yard is endorsing a more relaxed attitude towards cannabis possession. Nick Davies has written a series of two articles, mostly focussing on heroin, about how drug prohibition actually increases the spread of illegal drugs and causes most of the related health problems. Looks like legalisation is good for everybody.
Memorial to those who died of heroin. This is what I got in email today, after, I guess, they found my half-completed story on such a topic: "I was looking on the internet on Google for heroin drug overdose. You can see my daughter's before and after picture on www.ourwall.net. Click on Cheryl Dean born July 11, 1979 overdosed on Oct 5, 1997. Cheryl didn't die but she can't walk, talk, move legs arms or hands is blind and on a feeding tube. She had a cardiac arrest and didn't get enough oxygen to the brain in time."