I used to take heroin at every opportunity, for over 10 years, now I just take methadone which supposedly "stabilizes" me though I feel more destabilized than ever before despite having been relatively well behaved since late November/early December 2010... and VERY ANGRY about this when I let it get to me so I try not to.
I was told by a mental health nurse that my heroin addiction was "self medication" for a mood disorder that has recently become severe enough to cause psychotic episodes. As well as methadone I take antipsychotics daily. Despite my problems I consider myself a very sane person. My priority is to attain stability. I go to Narcotics Anonymous because I "want what they have" ~ Serenity.
My old blog used to say "candid confessions of a heroin and crack cocaine addict" how come that one comes up when I google "heroin blog" and not this one. THIS IS MY BLOG. I don't flatter myself that every reader knows everything about me and follows closely every single word every day which is why I repeat myself. Most of that is for your benefit not mine.
This is my own private diary, my journal. It is aimed at impressing no-one. It is kept for my own benefit to show where I have been and hopefully to put off somebody somewhere from ever getting into the awful mess I did and still cannot crawl out of. Despite no drugs. I still drink, I'm currently working on reducing my alcohol intake to zero.
If you have something to say you are welcome to comment. Frankness I can handle. Timewasters should try their own suggestions on themselves before wasting time thinking of ME.
PS After years of waxing and waning "mental" symptoms that made me think I had depression and possibly mild bipolar I now have found out I'm schizoaffective. My mood has been constantly "cycling" since December 2010. Mostly towards mania (an excited non-druggy "high"). For me, schizoaffective means bipolar with (sometimes severe) mania and flashes of depression (occasionally severe) with bits of schizophrenia chucked on top. You could see it as bipolar manic-depression with sparkly knobs on ... I'm on antipsychotic pills but currently no mood stabilizer. I quite enjoy being a bit manic it gives the feelings of confidence and excitement people say they use cocaine for. But this is natural and it's free, so I don't see my "illness" as a downer. It does, however, make life exceedingly hard to engage with...
PPS The "elevated mood" is long gone. Now I'm depressed. Forget any ideas of "happiness" I have given up heroin and want OFF methadone as quick as humanly possible. I'm fed up of being a drug addict. Sick to death of it. I wanna be CLEAN!!!
Attack of the Furry Entertainers!
Friday, May 28, 2010
History of Heroin....
I HAVE BEEN conducting research into the tale of opium and heroin production and use... what a convoluted tale it is! The following post is simply a digest of what I found out... I hope someone manages to follow it to the end!
One pattern I heard about and we can all see repeated time and time over: when America goes into drug source-countries, rather than seeing these drugs destroyed ~ what happens, but a gigantic INCREASE in the amount of narcotics sheipped west.
But not just west. Wherever these drugs touch ground, addiction follows. Cocaine addiction is rife in South America. Heroin (plus opium) addiction is now endemic on all six continents, though in descending order, the largest markets are now Asia, Europe and North America...
The oldest evidence of opium poppy cultivation goes back to Mesopotamia in about 3500BC. For centuries an opium trade flourished in Babylonia, Assyria and ancient Egypt. In later centuries trade spread throughout the Mediterranean ~ Greece, Rome and far beyond.
The first recorded narcotic prohibition dates to the Dark Ages, the era of the crusades when anything Eastern, opium included, was branded Unholy. European references to opium disappeared for two hundred years.
By the age of the Enlightenment poppy was back. Shakespeare references opium in Othello, when the noxious character Iago declares Not poppy nor mandragora Nor all the drowsy syrups of the world Shall ever medicine thee to that sweet sleep.
The Romantic poets were famously into opium. Colerage claimed to have jotted down Kubla Khan In Xanadu did Kubla Khan A stately pleasure-dome decree: Where Alph, the sacred river, ran Through caverns measureless to man Down to a sunless sea...
Analysis of the text reveals he was poetically running out of steam as the verse runs on (lines are getting shorter and shorter) but he blames an acquaintance hammering at the door on the premature end of his reverie.
Keats claimed his Ode to a Nightingale was opium-inspired: My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk, Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk...
Alex Hayter's Opium and the Romantic Imagination explores the relationship between the drug and literature in depth. Hayter frequently references Thomas de Quincy's Confessions of an English Opium Eater, a tome that tells far more about De Quincy than it ever reveals about opium. Apart from this, Hayter's solidly researched tome is a core text for anyone interested in the topic.
By the Victorian era, opium use was rife throughout the West. Many patent medicines (no ingredients on the bottles!) ~ including those for teething babies ~ contained opium amongst many other things. The Opium Eater became a popular figure of revilement at the time. Opium generally wasn't "eaten" but consumed as laundanum drops. Laudanum was a tincture of opium in brandy or sherry.
In 1810 morphine was first isolated from opium. (Opium is typically 10% morphine.) In 1843 the hypodermic needle and syringe came along ~ the junkie's "works" In 1874 diamorphine was first created by heating morphine for some hours in acetic anhydride, (interestingly, this mirrors the production process for aspirin, which had been invented some years earlier) In 1893 Bayer Pharmeceuticals in Germany began production of diamorphine. They trademarked their product Heroin. Like laudanum and morphine it was sold openly in chemists' shops throughout the world.
Because morphine was refined "essence" of opium, and because diamorphine was further refined from morphine (1g of morphine converts to 1g diamorphine, but diamorphine is at least twice as potent) ~ proponents of these products naively believed each one offered a cure for addiction to the one before!
The British Government became involved in the opium trade in the early 1800s, growing vast amounts of the drug in North-Westerly India and shipping it to China, upon which they had imperial ambitions. Hundreds of thousands of the South Chinese quickly became opium addicts. The Chinese empire was not best pleased. A full-scale opium war kicked off. The Brits won and took Hong Kong in triumph.
Hong Kong would later form an important trading post for China White heroin from the infamous Golden Triangle in Thailand-Burma-Laos more than a century later.
Chinese immigrants, addicted due to the actions of the British, flooded to the United States, bringing their addiction with them. This, among other factors, was a starting point for the heroin addiction now widespread in the west.
By the early 20th century heroin and cocaine addiction were rife throughout the west. America was the first country to take action in 1905, 1906 and 1914, eventually banning all narcotics sales in 1923.
From then there was a very small, underground market in illicit heroin in the United States. In Britain, meanwhile, heroin was illegal but, like morphine, available on prescription to anyone with clinical need (severe pain). It could also be prescribed by any doctor to treat heroin addiction, as it was (to a tiny number, perhaps 200) for many years. Heroin still is prescribed to a tiny number (around 400) heroin addicts in the UK, but doctors require a special licence to do so.
World War II effectively blocked supply routes for opium and heroin to the west.
After the war European gangs set up a network whereby Turkish opium was shipped to the South of France where it was turned into high grade heroin by expert chemists. From there some travelled north. Paris became a centre for illegal narcotics. But most was shipped across the Atlantic, where it hit the streets of New York. New York City was the first western town to develop a serious heroin problem.
With the advent of 1960s' drug experimentation, heroin became fashionable for those bored of cocaine, LSD, speed and the rest. In London, a couple of notorious "junkie doctors" took advantage of the liberal British law to prescribe enormous doses of heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine to anyone who had money to pay them. According to Tony Sanchez in Up and Down with the Rolling Stones much of the heroin availble to London-based experimentors at the time was in the form of 10mg "jacks", which resembled saccharine pills. These were easily obtained either via "junkie doctors" or via groups who specialized in robbing the woefully under-secured pharmacies of the time.
Cocaine, incidentally, was often diverted from legitimate dentists' supplies. Being a controlled drug any use of cocaine had to be written up in the book. Novacaine and the alternatives were not controlled, so nobody compared drugs ordered with those seemingly used. Bent dentists simply expressed a clinical preference for treating ALL their patients with cocaine, but actually gave them Novacaine or something else. The cocaine was sold on at extraordinary profit ~ it cost several hundred pounds per gram in today's money. Hence its cachet as the "rock star's drug".
With the tightening up of heroin prescription in the late 60s and early 70s, illicit Chinese heroin made its first appearance on London's streets, specifically Gerard Street in Soho, which was centre of the action. My friend Lucky always said she was involved in heroin supply at this time. She was the right age and did indeed have a mysterious, faded Chinese tattoo on her right hand. She said the heroin of the time was called Elephant, Rice or Three Crowns. The brands denoted varying grades of drug. It was imported via Liverpool and cost something like £100 or £150 an ounce, which sounds cheap but translates to more than £1500 in today's money ~ more than double what today's dealers pay.
Chinese heroin dominated the tiny British market until the end of the 1970s. Meanwhile in New York the French Connection fed the East Coast's growing habit.
Opium had been grown in Mexico since the 1800s. In the 1950s local drug gangs, whose main trade was in cannabis, began experiemnting with heroin production. Unable to obtain the proper chemicals they improvised their own production process, coming up with the notorious Mexican Black Tar, a low-grade mixture of diamorphine, and 3- and 6- monoacetylmorphine. Tar heroin has a low purity at manufacture (in the 80s, when tar heroin first made an impact, purity was less than 30%, it is now 40-50% diamorphine, though levels of 3MAM and 6MAM can be extremely high. This type of "heroin" still has the latexy consistency of opium and unlike ordinary heroin, a hard block, tar is often soft and putty-like. It is extremely bad for the veins and can cause terrible problems when skin-popped. Anyway, this stuff took off in Los Angeles and the Western United States in the 1980s. It is still the dominant form of heroin there today.
By the early 1970s, a 120-kilo seizure and raids on Marseilles-based laboratories, the French Connexion came tumbling down. America's war in Vietnam fuelled a new trade in "China white", to which by the war's end an estimated 15% of GIs were addicted. They returned home, bringing their taste for narcotics with them. As has happened so many times, American invasion and involvement in an area rapidly produced a burgeoning drug business. Throughout the 70s, 80s and 90s the Golden Triangle region of Burma, Laos and Thailand led the way in heroin and opium production.
Meanwhile, revolution and overthrow was happening in Iran ~ which just so happened to be a another major source and transit country for heroin (in the so-called Golden Crescent of Turkey-Iran-Afghanistan-Pakistan). Wealthy Iranian nationals fled to the west, taking with them (so it is claimed) their wealth in the form of heroin bricks.
The 1973 Afghan Revolution, where the King was deposed, marked another new chapter in the story of heroin. Opium, previously unheard of as a cash crop, began to be grown in vast amounts all over the country.
In the mid to late 1970s a new base form of heroin, known as "brown sugar" and "number three" ~ as opposed to the high-grade China white, which is heroin hydrochloride, also known as "number four" began to make appearances across Europe. It was distributed by Turkish gangs, who were far better organized than the Chinese and used land routes, rather than individual couriers (who can only carry a few kilos) ~ to deliver multi hundred kilo shipments to western Europe.
Heroin is produced in four basic stages. Stage 1: raw opium is processed, removing surplus plant matter, reducing the mass to 80% Stage 2: more easily-smuggled morphine base at 50% purity reduces weight and mass to 20% Morphine base can, if desired, be refined into morphine sulphate ~ the drug used in hospitals across the world Stage 3: morphine base is converted to heroin base ~ aka #3 heroin, which can be very easily smoked from tinfoil, making a more versatile and attractive product for those who do not wish to inject Stage 4: injection-quality heroin hydrochloride ~ aka #4
Brown heroin first hit Germany (with its huge Turkish immigrant population) in increasing amounts from the mid-1970s. Overdose deaths quickly multiplied. Though lower grade than Golden Triangle "China white", the Golden Crescent heroin was often stronger at street level (ie less adulterated). It was also cheaper. A new habit started up, starting in continental Europe, but spreading to Britain by the early 80s "golden brown" was the mystical intoxicant of the Stranglers' chart hit. 1980s "brown" was the first true heroin epidemic in Britain. Inner cities and housing estates were flooded with a constant supply. Purity remained constant at an average 40%.
In the 1990s, the Colombian Cali cartel, seeing that America was awash with cocaine and crack, began producing their own #4 heroin. By undercutting the Chinese considerably on price, they soon forced China White out of the market. New York Street heroin, which had sunk to less than 10% purity in the 80s, now soared past 60% and higher. Colombian heroin is now the dominant type in the Eastern United States. Purity, of course fell as Colombian market share strengthened. Latest figures put retail purity at just under 40%.
Political upheaval and extended drought saw Burma, once the world's largest opium producer, lose this dubious honour by the early 2000s. War in Afghanistan saw poppy cultivation there boom. In 2007 world production of heroin exceeded that of cocaine for the first time. Afghanistan was producing 96% of this heroin, against Burma's 3% and 1% each for Mexico and Colombia.
Central and South American heroin supplies an estimated 95% of the American market ~ ie 2% of the world's total. With the heroin problem there as bad as it is, some pause for thought is required: where is that other 98% going?
Contrary to popular assumption, most heroin isn't used in "the West" at all, but at home in Asia. Addiction rates are astronomical in Pakistan, Iran, India, China and the "Stans" along the former Soviet Union's southern border: Uzbekistan, Kyrgistan, Tajikistan and so on.
As new supply routes target Africa as a transit point, addiction in that continent has boomed in the past decade.
Australia, famously in "heroin drought" for much of the early 2000s, once again has a constant supply of China White heroin from Burma and bordering states.
And so we come to the newest chapter in World Heroin ~ North Korea, has quietly and constantly been producing an estimated 6 metric tonnes of high grade heroin annually (as well as 15 tonnes or more of methamphetamine). Perhaps because these drugs go to Taiwan, Japan and other places, but never the vociferous United States ~ North Korea's involvement in world narcotics distribution has someohow gone barely remarked-upon... Though the climate is said not to be ideally suited to poppy cultivation, farmers have the state on their side to assist, and to refine the opium professionally in factories that otherwise make legitimate products.
There is no end to the story of heroin because it goes on and on. Here, wherever you are and in the poppy fields, where farmers, already in debt to opium dealers, say they cannot afford to farm anything else.
If the our governments wanted to stamp out opium production they would have ensured the poppy disappeared long ago from Afghanistan. Instead it has flourished. And it will continue to flourish wherever the winds of instability blow next. And the finished product ~ white, brown or a dirty tar will wend its way to a town near you, where someone like me will pick it up... and the whole nasty cycle of this history continues to roll on ...
MUSICAL INTERLUDE: THE STRANGLERS: GOLDEN BROWN
AFGHANISTAN: ADDICTION Note (about 2 mins into this) the cleaned-up addict keeps a loft of cooing pigeons who go for a flutter in Kabul's evening air ~ just like Flapper, who loves my local cherry tree!
To see this film: Fateful Harvest Afghanistan's Opium And Heroin Trade in its entirety (about half an hour) click here.
I WANT OFF METHADONE AS QUICK AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE!
METHADONE ~ A FATE WORSE THAN DEATH
Heroin Shortage: News
If you are looking for the British Heroin Drought post, click here; the latest word is in the comments.
"Wir, Kinder vom Bahnhoff Zoo" by "Christiane F", memoir of a teenage heroin addict and prostitute, was a massive bestseller in Europe and is now a set text in German schools.
Bahnhoff Zoo was, until recently, Berlin's central railway station. A kind of equivalent (in more ways than one) to London's King's Cross...
Of course my local library doesn't have it. So I'm going to have to order it through a bookshop and plough through the text in German. I asked my druggieworker Maple Syrup, who is Italiana how she learned English and she said reading books is the best way.CHRISTIANE F:
You can watch the entire 120-min movie in 12 parts at my Random blog. Every section EXCEPT part one is subtitled in English (sorry: but if you skip past you still get the gist) ~ to watch it all click HERE.
To See Gledwood's Entire Blog...
DID you find my blog via a Google or other search? Are you stuck on a post dated some time ago? Do you want to read Gledwood Volume 2 right from "the top" ~ ie from today? If so click here and you'll get to the most recent post immediately!
Most of these come from my Random blog, which is an electronic scrapbook of stuff I thought I might like to view at some time or other. For those who want to view stuff on drugs I've collected the very best links here. Unless otherwise stated these are full-length features, usually an hour or more.
If you have a slow connexion and are unused to viewing multiscreen films on Youtube here's what to do: click the first one and play on mute, stopping and starting as it does. Then, when it's done, click on Repeat Play and you get the full entertainment without interruption. While you watch screen one, do the same to screens 2, 3 and so on. So as each bit finishes, the next part's ready and waiting.
Classic miniseries whose title became a catchphrase for the misery of life in East Asian prison. Nicole Kidman plays a privileged middle-class girl set up to mule heroin through Thai customs with the inevitable consequences. This is so long it had to be posted in two parts. "Bangkok Hilton 1" (first 2 hours or so); "Bangkok Hilton 2" (last couple of hours).
Short film: from tapwater-clear H4 in the USA to murky black Afghan brown in Norway: "Heroin Addicts Speak"
Before his untimely death this guy kept a video diary. Here's the hour-long highlights as broadcast on BBC TV: "Ben: Diary of a Heroin Addict". Thanks to Noah for the original link.
Some of the most entertaining scenes from Britain's top soap (as much for the poor research as anything else). Not even Phil Mitchell would go from nought to multi-hundred pound binges this fast: "Phil Mitchell on Crack" (just over 5 minutes).
Scientist lady shows us how to cook up gear: "How Much Citric?" Lucky cow: her brown is 70% purity! Oddly we never see her actually do her hit... maybe she got camera shy...
German documentary following a life from teenage addiction to untimely death before the age of 30. The decline in this girl's appearance is truly shocking. "Süchtig: Protokoll einer Hilflosigkeit". Sorry no subtitles; this is here for anyone learning German who's after practice material a little more gripping than Lindenstraße!
Nosey Quiz! Have you ever heard voices when you weren't high on drugs?
Here's the 4-methylmethcathinone molecule. This is the "cocaine plus ecstasy"-style "legal high" I took that time and didn't even know what it was... After a brief but intense craze for meow, it was eventually banned in the UK in April 2010
If you wanna see what manic looks like, watch this. If this is the mood she stayed in all day she'd be moderately manic (severely manic is literally all over the place verging into complete incoherence)... I have been known to yell the same stuff over and over, which is why I like this:
Ferry Corsten remix. William Orbit performance. Samuel Barber's Adagio
DJ Seduction: Starlight August 1992
I love this style of music and WHY do kidz today call it OLD SCHOOL? MAKE ME FEEL ANCIENT WHY DONCHA! I really like that ting-ting-tong tune that comes into it about 3 mins in "release the spirit" yeah....! Respect goin' out LizzyD Yeah ;-)
Angelina Joelie: Crazy Chic
Girl Interrupted: best scenes
Mozart's Requiem Tranced Up
I like danced-up tunes now that I'm "OLD". Like this one... The actual name of the tune is "lacrimosa" which means sad. Which is weird it actually sounds uplifting. but there ya go:~~~~~~~~
THIS is classic slice-of-life video; filmed from a sushibar conveyor belt in Japan. You don't need sound for this one (unless you speak Japanese...)
Never Mind The Balearics...
LOST WEEKENDS... Lost weeks... Lost lives...
THE SPANISH ISLE of Ibiza is the "spiritual home" of much British dance music...
Eva Cassidy: Autumn Leaves
I wonder if Autumn is as miserable your end as it is here..? This song wonderfully reinterpreted by Eva Cassidy (I think) brought tears to my eyes when I first heard it. See what you think ...
("Wir Kinder vom Bahnhoff Zoo")
Berlin has long been a centre of "alternative" living, attracting the artistic and dejected. And of course heroin rushes into such a void:
You can see the film in its entirety by clicking HERE.
These are my 3 roborovski hamsters!
(And now there is one...) Itchy, Bashful and Spherical... Itchy, the scruffy, dopey (and tamest one) died a few weeks ago. I was very ****** off (no swearing on this blog (or I'd be effing and blinding all the time...)). Spherical and Bashful were the remaining "Trotters" aka Hamsta MCs, Carrot Nose and Trotter Donkey ... until Trotterdonkey died and now poor Spherical Carrot Nose remains alone ...
What name should I give to my fictional slavering English mastiff hellhound..??
Name the Uncooth Doggie...
NOW I'M PUTTING UP A NEW POLL...My forthcoming fiction shall feature a giant, ill-tempered slavering hellhound of an English Mastiff who spends her time savaging pram wheels, dolls, etc; pulling soft toys apart... growling at houseguests, baying at the light fittings etc etc. She has a total personality change, however, when she gets "raped" down the park by a local rottweiler... leading to a howling, baying, snaggle-toothed litter of puppies!Anyway, which of these three names do you think fits best?(In alphabetical order)GwendolinaPansyTinkerbelle???Vote now ...!!
GMT (aka "Universal Standard Time"):
ahead of the Americas; behind everywhere else...
Trisch & Jen on the phone
Real life spooky phone call. Trisch Li is speaking to her friend Jen, who has a stalker sneaking round the side of her house. I Love the film exposure. I love the funky background. And I love Trisch. She had bipolar. She died. She left some amazing stuff behind ...You can see Trisch manic here.
Anyone who was a Twin Peaks fan will know this tune: the in-sequence floaty tune played in-episode (not the theme tune) that made that tellyprog so dreamy.
This tune is something else:~~~~~~~
Future Sound of London: Papua New Guinea
THIS tune is transcendently beautiful.
Thank you to Lizzy who reminded me:~~~~~~~
The Orb: Little Fluffy Clouds (Danny Tengalia)
Archetypal triphead/herb-tokers' tune ...
Urban Shakedown: Some Justice
One of my all time favourite "hardcore" rave tunes. The "woman" singing "we live as one family" is actually a man speeded up. The primal line "Now eeeee-yeah-oh-eeeee-yeah we live as one family," sounded to me like the sun rising at psychedelic dawn. For a long time there was forever a part of me left from this 1991-1992 era, still out there, tripping in a certain corn-on-the-cob field at dawn...
Praga Khan: Injected with a Poison
Sums up what my attitude used to be and is once again to gear. That because, "There's a rainbow inside your mind ... Injected with a poison.... we don't need that any more."
Scott McKenzie: San Francisco
I really used to believe all this crap with all my heart. Peace and love and chemical dreams. If you've ever tripped out high upon higher and sublime upon sublime there is no way of bringing the beauty of the experience back with you... I once had a friend down who brought some cocaine. I did some lines and was soon stuck to the ceiling. I had tickets for a rave in south London. He was too wasted to go. So I had to negotiate an hour and a half nightbus ride all the way down. By Trafalgar Square I was eeing out on 2 pills as well and my eyes such massive discs I couldn't read the bus time tables and had to tell passers-by I'd "forgotten my reading glasses" (how embarrassing)... then I arrived around 3pm. DUR! Not pm (wasn't THAT late 3AM): though these pills didn't wear off till well after 11am which made them superstrong... anyhow... Security let me straight in I'd obviously taken all my drugs (indeed I had: felt like I was flying by this point)... first person I encountered was a middle-aged woman in a ball gown swaying back and forth in the foyer (Brixton Academy: a venue for 5000) I told her: "you are so cool". We subsequently made friends. Watching this video and seeing how stuck in the neverending moment of bliss some "flower kids" are I remember this lady having to tell me: "there's the party. Then the party's over. You have to accept that." But I never could. I wanted happiness to last for ever...
SCOTT MACKENZIE HAS GONE (copyright reasons)
HERE'S JOE BELTRAM 1990 ENERGY FLASH
38 year-old guy, 6 blogs (the main one is gledwood vol 2 so go there for new postings: blogs are linked via my sidebars), I also have 3 video blogs. One mainly music vids, the other random "novelty" clips from Youtube/etc. The third is my Fabulous Celebrity Blog for fans of trash culture. Unfortunately addicted to drugs - yes it was my own fault but what can I do about it now? Addicted means trapped & can't stop. That's how addicted I am. But that's not ALL I blog about. Apart from drugs I love drink. Apart from drink I'm into little furry animals like Pingpong, my Chinese hamster, and my 3 roborovski hamsters: Itchy, Bashful and Spherical... and ... er, food. Lately there has been a drought of the substance that enslaved me for so long. Will I clean up? Only time will tell...