Tag Archives | Heroin

Conversations With Stones: Lithography Helps Heroin Addicts

For all you fans of megaliths and other stone structures where humans traditionally held spiritual ceremonies, what do you make of lithography, the practice of using stones to come to terms with drug addiction? The New York Times describes the practice in heroin-heavy Kyrgyzstan:


Jengishbek Nazaraliev. Photo: Igorus77 (CC)

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan — Inside a yurt that was lavishly appointed with local prayer rugs and felt tapestries, a young man prepared for a ritual that is catching on here as a solution to a global problem but is, well, grounded in local tradition.

“Rock,” the young man said, “I admit that I am a drug addict.” On a carpet in front of the man sat the object he was speaking to: a river stone, rounded and mottled green, about the size of a loaf of bread.

A psychologist sat nearby, coaxing the addict — a lawyer who wanted only his first name, Arman, made public — to go further.

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Why The Midwest Is So Hard Hit By Heroin

The heroin problem in America’s Midwest beats anything cities like New York and Philadelphia can boast. The Economist reports:

Even street-savvy former gang members are shocked by the spread of heroin to Chicago’s suburbs. Earlier this year, when Roberto Hernández, a Puerto Rican, was in the final stages of preparation of a big push by Gangs to Grace, a church ministry on the west side, to save Latino gang members from lives of violent crime, he explained that white girls from the suburbs go to neighbourhoods even he wouldn’t set foot in to buy heroin. Many of them are as young as 14 or 15. Some prostitute themselves to fund their addiction.


“We have the worst heroin problem in the nation in the Chicago area,” says David Cohen, a recovering heroin addict who counsels addicts at Insight Behavioural Health, a treatment centre. Greater Chicago has the highest number of emergency-room visits related to heroin in the country with 24,627 visits in 2011 (the latest year for which records exist), compared with 12,015 in New York.

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The stigma against people who use heroin makes it harder for them to get help

Heroin use and dependence have grown dramatically in the US over the last decade. Between 2002-2004 and 2011-2013, past-year use increased by 62.5% and abuse/dependence by 90%. And the demographics of heroin use have changed as well. Over a decade ago, heroin was less prevalent and more specific to marginalized individuals in low-income areas and inner cities. But today, use and dependence have increased among all demographic groups. Heroin use has also doubled among those who have historically had low rates of use – women and white individuals.

The epidemic has the potential to affect anyone. I know this firsthand, not only as a drug researcher, but also from the death of my little sister, Tara, who died five years ago this week from acute intoxication involving heroin.

As heroin use and dependence have become more prevalent, the chances that each of us knows someone dependent on heroin (or opioid pills) have climbed.… Read the rest

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Heroin Use Surges, Especially Among Women And Whites

Smack is back, reports NPR, and in a big way:

Health officials, confronted with a shocking increase in heroin abuse, are developing a clearer picture of who is becoming addicted to this drug and why. The results may surprise you.

Woman injecting heroin - Warning not for everyone

Photo: urbansnaps – kennymc (CC)


The biggest surge is among groups that have historically lower rates of heroin abuse: women and white (non-Hispanic) Americans. They tend to be 18-25 years old, with household incomes below $20,000. “In addition, persons using heroin are abusing multiple other substances, especially cocaine and opioid pain relievers,” says a reportpublished Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

All told, more than half a million Americans used heroin in 2013, according to the report. That represents a nearly 150 percent increase since 2007.

Men still outnumber women, but that gap is narrowing. And 96 percent of heroin users said they’d used other drugs within the past year.

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King Buzzo Calls Bullshit on Kurt Cobain’s “Chronic Stomach Condition”

kingbuzzoTruth: I live in Seattle, was a freshman in high school right when Nirvana broke, and never thought they were anything more than a pretty good band lead by a complete fuckup with perfect cheek bones and piercing blue eyes. Don’t get me wrong, I like a few of their albums (In Utero specifically), but you know, I just always thought Soundgarden was a gajillion times better, even as an angry disaffected teenager. 20 years later, of all the platinum selling “grunge” bands, SG are the only ones I actually listen to on a regular basis. Will I ever watch this Montage of Heck movie? Probably, but I also just watched the Foreigner Behind the Music, so you know, that’s my way of saying that I’d pretty much watch any rock music docu-anything because there’s something incredibly wrong with me. Anyway, the reason I’m posting this is because as a kid I always thought Kurt’s story about being a drug addict because of his “chronic stomach condition” was a bunch of utter shite, so after all these years it’s compelling to see that, according to King Buzzo of the legendary Melvins, it absolutely was (from Stereogum):

Kurt also told me there was absolutely nothing wrong with his stomach.

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How A Single Yeast Cell Can Cook Up Morphine From Scratch

The economics of home brewed heroin must have drug lords quaking in their boots. This is worse than Walter White! The New Yorker looks at how a single yeast cell can cook up morphine from scratch:

For as long as humans have been farmers, we have been drinkers. Wild yeast was the first microorganism that we domesticated, more than ten millennia ago. But archaeologists believe that we have been harvesting the gum of opium poppies for even longer. Across a broad swath of the Middle East and Asia, our ancestors tapped, dried, boiled, and consumed the poppy pod’s sticky secretions. The flower provided one of the first medicinal substances known to humanity, as well as a potent high. But not even the Romantic poets, ensconced in their stately pleasure-domes and out of their minds on smack, could have imagined what a paper published today in the journal Nature Chemical Biology describes: turning yeast, a simple fungus, into a narcotics lab to rival the poppy.

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Heroin Deaths in US ‘Quadrupled from 2000 through 2013’

The CDC reports that deaths from heroin have quadrupled since 2000 and it’s way worse for males: the rate for men increased from 1.6 to 4.2 per 100,000 while the rate for women increased from 0.4 to 1.2 per 100,000. From MNT:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have reported that drug-poisoning deaths involving heroin almost quadrupled between 2000 and 2013 in the US.

Heroin aufkochen.JPG

Photo: Hendrike (CC)


The findings from the National Center for Heath Statistics (NCHS) report state that the age-adjusted rate of deaths involving heroin increased from 0.7 deaths per 100,000 to 2.7 per 100,000 during this period, with the majority of this rise occurring after 2010.

“This report provides the latest national statistics on drug overdose deaths involving heroin, highlighting the substantial increase in death rates and the populations most at risk,” the authors state.

Drug poisoning (overdosing) is the number one cause of injury-related death in the US.

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The 3 deadliest drugs in America are all totally legal

via Vox Media.

via Vox.

German Lopez via Vox:

As the US debates drug policy reforms and marijuana legalization, there’s one aspect of the war on drugs that remains perplexingly contradictory: some of the most dangerous drugs in the US are legal.

Don’t believe it? The available data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows tobacco, alcohol, and opioid-based prescription painkillers were responsible for more direct deaths than any other drug in 2011. This chart compares those drug deaths with the best available data for cocaine, heroin, and marijuana deaths [show above].

Now, this chart isn’t a perfect comparison across the board. One driver of tobacco and alcohol deaths is that both substances are legal and easily available. Other substances would likely be far deadlier if they were as available as tobacco and alcohol. (Heroin-linked deaths in particular have been trending up since 2010, topping 8,200 in 2013 and making heroin deadlier overall than cocaine.) And federal data excludes some deaths, particularly less direct illicit drug deaths, which is why the chart focuses on direct health complications for all drugs.

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Dolls on Film


This New York Dolls documentary was just uncovered by Noisey and it’s required viewing for anyone interested in punk’s early greatest days. From the site…

Directed by Nadya Beck and Bob Gruen, All Dolled Up: A New York Dolls Story is a feature-length documentary that was filmed in 1972, and sees the then-married pair follow the band from their early performances in New York at Kenny’s Castaways and Max’s Kansas City to their infamous West Coast tour. Expect to see raucous, debaucherous backstage antics, illuminating interviews, footage from the Whisky A Go Go, the Real Don Steele Show, Rodney Bingenheimer’s E Club, and much more. The documentary features the entire original lineup—David Johansen (vocals), Johnny Thunders (guitar), Sylvain Sylvain (guitar), Arthur Kane (bass), and Billy Murcia (drums)—and captures an image of the band before death, alcohol, and heroin tore it asunder. It’s an intimate look at rock’n’roll’s greatest underdogs that took in too much, too soon, but still always came out swinging.

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