...it’s hard to deny that something truly dire has ensnared a large chunk of the country. In a country as big, complicated, and diverse as the United States, that “something” is actually a great many things, but I would argue they can be broadly summed up by one idea: what I call the “one-bad-break test.” ... In societies that function well, there are various safety nets in place to prevent a bad break from leading to a tailspin for particularly vulnerable victims. Compared to many other rich nations, the U.S. is not such a society — all too often, when vulnerable Americans encounter a bad break, there’s nothing underneath them to stop their slide. Instead, devastation follows, sometimes in the form of bankruptcy and addiction and death.
The Air Bridge: A paid one-way ticket from Puerto Rico to mainland American cities, including Philadelphia, promises heroin-addicted citizens good treatment at resort-like estates and even jobs; but many end up at unlicensed and unregulated treatment centers and wind up addicted on the streets or even dead.
Choose life. Choose Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and hope that someone, somewhere cares. Choose watching the Trainspotting 2 trailer and talking about it on Metafilter.com. Choose your future.
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."
A NYT photo essay: "Not since the crack epidemic of the 1980s and 1990s, analysts say, have so many children been at risk because of parental drug addiction."
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]
She’s the dead hooker in the trunk. A universal cautionary tale, the drug-using sex worker is too wretched to be relatable, too scorned for even countercultural cred. She is repulsive, unclean and immoral. She is pitiable at best, inhuman at worst—dismissed by police lingo about murders whose victims are drug-using street workers: “No Human Involved.” If she’s white, she’s lucky enough to be merely an abject victim. If not, she’s a deranged criminal. She’s a scarred, blotchy mugshot in your local paper’s coverage of prostitution stings—recycled without regard for privacy by anti-drug PSAs to let kids know that that’s what they’ll look like after years of doing dope. She’s the woman I’ve heard my escorting clients joke about not wanting to fuck with someone else’s dick—not realizing that they are talking to a sex worker who uses heroin, as I force myself to laugh along with them.
Over the past year, the [Boston] Globe spent time with an East Boston heroin addict as she struggled through recovery and the prospect of losing her children to the state. Nearly every key moment was witnessed by a Globe reporter or photographer. Brave, broken, loving, at a loss, this is Raquel and her story.Warning: Does not end terribly, but does not end well.
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]
A drug mule for a Mexican cartel flies into Dayton, OH, gives up a kilo of heroin to federal agents, and provides a narrow glimpse of the current drug trade. (SLWaPo). [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 Hunting of Billie Holiday. "How Lady Day found herself in the middle of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics’ early fight for survival." [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.
You may know Neill Jameson as the frontman/honcho for black metal favorites Krieg, who have a new LP Transient for Candlelight Records, or via his involvement in Twilight, the supergroup headed up by Blake Judd of Nachtmystium and featuring members like Thurston Moore, Aaron Turner, Jef Whitehead (Leviathan), Stavros Giannopoulos (The Atlas Moth), and more. But Neill's involvement with Blake Judd goes much deeper than that: Theirs is a friendship that was initally forged based on a mutually shared interest in music many years ago. In the following firsthand account, Neill recalls the history of some of the darker moments of his friendship with Blake Judd, ones that eventually lead to him severing his ties with the celebrated black metal musician, and the stark reality of drug addiction.
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.
Staten Island, long a blue-collar bastion of police officers and other New York City workers, is confronting a heroin epidemic. Thirty-six people died from heroin overdoses in 2012, the highest number in at least a decade, according to the most recent available city health department records; the death rate was higher than the city’s other four boroughs had seen in 10 years.Heroin’s New Hometown
"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]
Alexander Trocchi—A Life in Pieces is a short biographical film about the once notorious Scottish writer, provocateur and ‘ungentlemanly junkie,’ including reminiscences from William S. Burroughs and Leonard Cohen. [more inside]
The Rolling Stones are playing at Glastonbury this summer. (Here's the full line up of the acts). Sold out. Followed by another open-air show in Hyde Park, London. On July 6. Also sold out. "So Charlie, the Stones are playing Glastonbury! Excited?" [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]
What turned out to be most notable about the operation, though, was how typical it was. (Chicago Reader, via longform.org)
Q: What's the connection between heroin in Glasgow and a dead goat in Turkey? A: Anthrax.
Who Killed Nancy is a documentary examining the lives and deaths of Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen. It features interviews with many of the people on the Punk scenes in both London and New York, including people who were in Sid and Nancy's Chelsea Hotel room on the night Nancy died.
"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]
A heroin substitute called "Krokodil" is having destructive effects on Russia's active user population. [more inside]
Meet Barrett Brown, the heroin-addicted former journalist who's the self-proclaimed face of Anonymous. [previously]
Two Christmases previously, but still a classic: Francis Coppola's and William Burroughs's The Junky's Christmas. Now on YouTube in four parts: 1 2 3 4 [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.
All the world will be your enemy, Prince of a Thousand enemies. And when they catch you, they will kill you.
This past Tuesday, China executed Briton Akmal Shaikh for heroin smuggling, the first foreigner to be executed in China since Italian Antonio Riva was put to death in 1951. Shaikh's family, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, and U.N. officials all had asked for clemency based on the fact the 53-year old, father-of-three Shaikh was a mentally ill person who believed he was a pop star on a mission for world peace and had been duped into being an unwitting drug mule. Nonetheless, regardless of international outcry, Shaikh was put to death. The outcry continues. A music video has been created for Shaikh's music single, Come Little Rabbit.
Dig! Destroy The System. The entire film about the Brian Jonestown Massacre's rivalry with the Dandy Warhols (after a 30 second ad). One week only on Pitchfork TV.
The first ever North American study into prescribing diamorphine to addicts was published today in the New England Journal of Medicine. And the outcomes are positive. This is the latest in a growing line of research studies into diamorphine prescribing. The Netherlands and Switzerland have both completed major studies that showed extremely positive outcomes in treatment resistant populations. Germany has recently begun a study along these lines, and a British study is about to report it's outcomes any minute now.
How often must a positive outcome be replicated before something becomes part of mainstream treatment provision?
How often must a positive outcome be replicated before something becomes part of mainstream treatment provision?
What happened to the Trainspotting generation? Heroin and Scotland: the relationship continues.
With inadequate access to basic health care (WHO .doc summary), impoverished Afghans turn to cheap and available opium as 'medicine' for pain relief, cough suppression and other ailments. The level of addiction among children is at a critical level. Jawed Taiman's film Addicted in Afghanistan provides some further perspective. [more inside]
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