“We aren’t even doing dope anymore. We’re just shooting……..chemicals.”

fat curt


“We aren’t even doing dope anymore. We’re just shooting……..chemicals.”
Shooting heroin and morphine provided a rush too, but nothing like this. Opiates provide a rush that tapers into a nodding, semi-lucid dream state that lasts for hours. The good part of an opiate high lasts, and it doesn’t require anything to amplify it or counter its unpleasant aftereffects. Those effects are cumulative. You can only do so much heroin. IV cocaine, on the other hand, is short lived and expensive enough ($50 dollars for a half-gram slam) on its own, but even more spendy when you try to counter the unwanted wired and paranoid with opiates, barbiturates, sedatives, tranquilizers and alcohol. The end result is a primary addiction to the coke with multiple co-addictions to all the things required to ameliorate the downside.
One more reason for my shift in drug preferences was that heroin itself had changed. The black tar heroin that I had used for over a decade was giving way to synthetic heroin. The new stuff was essentially Fentanyl, a pharmaceutical grade narcotic painkiller that was exceedingly potent. The downside of that potency lay in the average street dealer’s inability to accurately mix and dilute something so condensed into standardized dosages. One bag might be 10 times stronger than another. Addicts were overdosing and dying at epidemic levels. This was the same drug that killed actor Philip Seymour Hoffman thirty years later, and for the same reason.
My problem with it was not so much the varying potency and risk of death as it was the fact that it was not heroin. It got you high and it got you well, but it was not the same high as tar dope. It had an empty, sterile, chemical feel to it. It wasn’t even like morphine. It was…… kissing-your-sister dope.
Years later I would hear a heroin addicted character named Fat Curt on the HBO show The Corner describe what I felt perfectly
“We aren’t even doing dope anymore. We’re just shooting……..chemicals.”
This new habit was a big shift from the heroin addiction and alcoholism that I was used to. It was a busier habit, a needier one. A $50 bag of heroin left me high and happy for hours. A $50 dollar blast of coke rang my bell for a minute, but sent me out after the next one with no grace period, no moment’s rest. I had to ramp up my income, which meant ramping up my crimes, four or five-fold as well.

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