I am addicted to Heroin

Now I am not entirely sure that heroin is a bio-medically recognized illness or what that even means exactly, but I do know that addiction to a substance that potent is a grave public health issue and one that requires aggressive medical intervention.  Intravenous drug spreads infections like HIV quicker than any form of transmission.  In many ways the needle is more deadly as a vessel than the drug itself.  In this sense it is not only appropriate but also responsible to treat heroin addiction as a medical illness.  The narrative used by all of the episode’s characters was chaos.  It is a tough one to watch.  In the throes of addiction, not one of them expected to recover.  The high school student told the interviewer that it was only a matter of time before his addiction got “out of hand.”  I would argue that it already was, considering he was shooting up in his room before having breakfast with his family.  A woman named chloe did a prison bid for credit card fraud after she stole money to buy heroin.  The first thing she did upon her release was head to a wal-mart parking lot to beg for change so she could get high.  The subjects of this documentary had no hope, and you can’t really blame them for that, as opiate addictions are some of the most difficult to overcome.  The social stigmas tied to this drug (illegality, etc.) make support systems hard to come by.  Nobody wants a dope head hanging around the house, so some of the subjects got kicked out.  Rehab resources were not available for Chloe while she was locked up.  Not much is afforded to these people because it seems to me that they are looked down upon.  One of our characters had to have open heart and lung surgery after an infection from a dirty needle spread throughout her body.  Stigmas tied to heroin use probably prevented her from seeking treatment before her illness got as bad as it was.  Unfortunately, the narratives of these individuals dont seem to help them too much.  Their stories seem like lost causes, and a lot of ways they are. The lecture mentioned that it is difficult to coherently explain your condition when you feel submerged in chaos.  A heroin addiction is a constant struggle, and it is difficult to step outside of that box to find a path to getting clean.


Lecture. “4.2 Illness Narratives.”

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Delisa Quayson says:

    The video I attached to his reply is much the same. It is about a middle-aged female woman who has been addicted to heroin and other drugs on and off for years. Live the individuals in the episode Christopher wrote about, her narrative is one of chaos. She has gotten herself ‘clean’ many times but can’t keep herself from going back. She has a lot of self loath and talk constantly about how disgusting and nasty she is. She mentioned that she hoped to get clean again one day but does not when this day will be and does not seem hopeful that she will be able to stay clean. Like Christopher mentioned it is one of the hardest addictions to overcome. Along with the stigma associated and the hopelessness addicts feel, it is almost impossible to kill the habit. This addiction drives people to desperation to get their next hit. Some addicts end up going to jail not for using the drug but for stealing or doing some other illegal thing just to be able to afford their next high. I believe this addiction is biomedical because it releases chemicals that affect a person biomedical but it also has a psychological aspect to it. Half the battle to overcome this addiction is the will power to resist the urge and the thought process of evaluating the effects of falling back into the habit.

    You tube video: Middle age female Heroin and Cocaine addict talks about years of abuse.

  2. Natasha Mehta says:


    I found this article written by a man who was addicted to heroin for a year before he was forced to get clean after being arrested. This is a little different to the people you described in the true life episode, who seemed like they couldn’t and wouldn’t ever get clean. This article was extremely interesting, as it also describes someone’s first hand experience with addiction, although he was able to get over it. He describes getting addicted as a gradual experience, not an instant occurrence like it is so commonly believed to be. He discusses that this is the scary part, because you can use it for so long thinking that you don’t have a problem, but suddenly your body actually does get addicted, and by then it’s too late to stop by yourself. He also discusses how things such as getting an abscess from the needles doesn’t even seem scary when you’re a user, it’s just a normal occurrence, which shows how big of a problem heroin addiction is. I believe this patient’s personal life influenced his experience with addiction a lot. He says he started using to escape problems going on in his life, but having the addiction has just made those problems even worse to deal with.

  3. Francesca Rogers says:

    The documentary I watched had to do with an increasing heroin epidemic among people in South Whales, city of Swansea. The video was mind blowing for me, very incredible to say the least. It was based off of a couple individuals that were using or wanted to stop using. My video was similar to Christopher’s True Life video by some of the individuals not being phased of their addiction. Many of Swansea people had been users since they were thirteen and later become addicted by the age of eighteen. Their illness narratives were both Chaos and Quest Narratives. Most viewed their heroin addiction as a chronic condition and saw no point in stopping. Others, like Clint Lee, wanted to get better so that he could see his baby daughter and be a part of a loving family. The causes for the epidemic of young heroin users are (as stated by the people of Swansea) boredom, no job availability, family tradition, and being sucked into the wrong circle. A major part of why these people are users are because this is all they have ever known. Their parents would use them for sex and money and buy bags on bags of heroin. They would then share the drug with their children and it would be a never ending circle. I definitely think that the user’s families and the people around them influence their narratives. For example, when everyone around you is doing it and every other door is selling it, the reasons to continue using would exceed the reasons to stop.

    Teenage Heroin Epidemic

  4. Rolando Barajas says:

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kOPOK24g9Cc&w=420&h=315%5D

    Well on the YouTube video of the people addicted to heroin they described it as completely taking over their lives and they have no control over it. One man says that the recreational use of heroin is not possible that they start off as “weekend warriors” or people that usually shoot up during the weekends (or very rarely) but end up being full blown addicts in a matter of time. The addiction consumes their lives, which are all that’s important to them. Their day revolves around how they are going to find/pay for their next fix. The one couple from the beginning of the video sold magazines in the streets in order to save enough cash to buy heroin. Much like the post the people would be consumed by their addiction, do all they could to gain money to fuel said addiction. Like the woman that went to prison for fraud by stealing credit cards once she got out the first thing she did was beg for money in a parking lot and went to get some more heroin. A lot of their experience’s stem from family, culture, and social entomic status because the guy from video mentioned that he saw that he was losing his house (by spending all his money on drugs) and family but couldn’t contain himself, he needed to fuel his addiction. That’s the story that many addicts describe; living on the streets with no family support because no one want to have a drug addict whose only goal is to get more drugs living in their homes. Culturally drug addicts are seen as almost not human because of the lengths they go for drugs and how the drugs affect ones biological appearance, it is not safe for one’s health or family thus are socially shunned.

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