I have always been interested in altered states. There was a time at university when I decided it would be a good idea to experiment with the vast array of the accessible psycho-pharmacological agents which would not kill you with the first shot.
Students were experimenting with everything from mexican sage to pills, charlie, g, ket and even obscure psychedelics. The best drugs weren’t necessarily Class A, but they were the ones we were warned about the most.
Heroin was the one substance you heard little about on the student drugs scene, however as anyone who has spent any time watching the streets with two eyes to see could attest, it was definitely around. As a young person growing up in the UK, I was always told that heroin would get you addicted on the first go, if not then certainly from the second try - you would then be likely to overdose and die, but not before you had hit rock bottom, selling your body and stealing from your close family and friends. Your veins would sink into your arms, you would lose all self respect and never have any hope of anything resembling a normal life. They say it even destroyed the once great kingdom of China. A couple of pills, joints, even the odd line of charlie was ok - but a single chug of Afghan poppy resin and you are doomed to always be a junkie. White middle class heroin hysteria had definitely overtaken the heroin chic of the early 90s.
But then again, I knew that taking cannabis wouldn’t necessarily turn me into a schizophrenic or heroin addict. There was nothing about cannabis that made me want to take any other drug, since my first drink I have had a child like curiosity to experience other realms of consciousness. I had read in the papers that Switzerland actually prescribed heroin to addicts to stop them from stealing and to make sure they were injecting safely.
It sounded like it was actually working, while becoming a junkie wasn’t something that exactly appealed to me. Still I knew I would like to try heroin once, smoked not injected, I knew that using needles increased the likelihood of a bad reaction from cutting agents, it was also a line I did not wish to cross. Despite it possibly being physically safer than shoving line after line of random salts up my nose every other weekend.
One evening, no different to any other I popped over to a mate’s house with the expressed intention of taking ketamine. There had been none around in quite some time, my friend had called up every dealer he knew as well as as any other contacts he could get hold of. No luck yet. Standing in the kitchen was a slim shaggy looking man with long hair and a beard, I had never met him before, but on an acid trip I would definitely associate him with some sort of mystical carpenter. He was promising us the possibility of getting some ket through his contacts. I noticed some syringes and a spoon on the kitchen table, I knew what was going on but I’ve never been one to judge. After the syringe was prepared, he turned away from us all and injected it into his groin area. It was a combination of crack cocaine and heroin. The crack for the high and the heroin for the comedown. Jesus was speed balling. In the end we decided they weren’t going to be able to find any ket, but we were going to try some crack and heroin instead.
I had tried cocaine before and understood it to be pretty much the same drug as crack, only the way crack is taken makes the experience more intense. I popped a chip of rock into a pipe we would use to smoke weed, not before placing some ash beneath it, heated the chip and then inhaled the vapour. It certainly tasted of cocaine, an earthy flavour that numbed the mouth with a tingly feeling. My pupils were instantly dilated and I felt like the best thing on the world. Crack is a fantastic drug, I would never recommend it though. After about a minute the feeling subsided and I returned to what felt like baseline. Best not take this too often I thought. From mediocrity to jubilant euphoria and back in a minute could never be a good thing. I could see why people would keep taking it.
Next came the heroin, I parted with a tenner for my own wrap of brown. It weighed in at about 0.1 grams. I gave our new mutual friend a bit for the trouble of going to pick up. He said it would just prevent him from coming down but he appreciated the gesture. I rolled up a piece of card, he placed the soft hash-like substance onto a piece of foil and heated it from beneath with a lighter, but not directly as that would burn the drug.
As the heroin heated up, it began to bubble and let of a sweet floral smell. That must be excess poppy resin I thought. I inhaled through the tube of card which I made earlier. Following the melting blob of resin slide up and down the piece of foil. I wondered why they call this chasing the dragon. Once the heroin was finished, I felt very relaxed, not quite the same way as with cannabis, my thoughts were a lot clearer and I had no desire to do anything I would do when high. Except eat, we put some pizzas in the oven and scoffed them down but not quite with the voraciousness as being really stoned. It definitely dulls the emotions and I can totally understand why someone with problems I have never experienced may choose to self medicate with this drug.
I then walked home and went to sleep. I woke up about 5 hours later with incredibly intense nausea and ran to the toilet to throw up. For the next hour I kept running back and forth from my bed. Eventually the nausea was gone and I just slept really well till the early afternoon. I am still not too sure if the vomiting was food poisoning caused by the pizza or withdrawal from heroin. It certainly is not an experience I would like to go through again.
Heroin was nothing special, l won’t be visiting the opiates other than out of medical necessity.
My friend was continuously offered free wraps of brown and white by Jesus, eventually he started charging him. Fortunately ketamine came back and he stopped taking it. I tried crack a couple more times with him, giving myself the excuse that as I had done cocaine this wasn’t so different. I eventually acknowledged that 10 pounds for ten minutes of pleasure was not a fair trade off. I’m quite happy sticking with cannabis.