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Opiate addiction Support for coping with Opiate addiction and Opiate addiction treatment.

 
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  #1  
Old 12-09-2013, 01:37
locket82 locket82 is offline
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Is getting clean from Heroin harder when you have needle fixation?

Hello,
Im new here and this is my first post so I hope I am doing this right! Please forgive me if there is another similar post, I have not been able to find what im looking for!

I am a non- user and I have a close friend (whom I also used to love) who has relapsed rapidly back into Heroin addition after 18mnths being clean. They enjoy using most drugs but it seems to me that they have a real love affair with Heroin. When they were clean they explained to me that their addiction was about far more than just the Heroin high but about the whole ritual of shooting up. I am health worker and couldn't even have needles in the house in my kit bag because it was hard for them. Now they are fully under the grip of addiction and it has lead to them becoming homeless and jobless. I am looking for some help and advice from anyone who has a similar fixation on injecting. They are on subcutex but they just shoot it up, so i know is not satisfying that part of their need. Would it be better for them to go onto suboxone so they cant inject it? Is it impossible to quit when your injecting? Do you ever feel like you dont want to give up and get clean because you love heroin more than you love the people in your life?

I am standing and watching their whole life crumble and seeing them change into someone barely recognisable, manipulative, horrible, mean, violent and deceitful. I dont know how to help them.....and part of me feels like they dont want to change even though they say they do. It hurts so much to see them destroy themselves and I fear the worst for them. I have no idea what to do but I feel like i cant just stand by and watch it happen. Our relationship is breaking down because i wont give them money or let them live with me, because I know I wont be able to stand the pressure of their manipulation 24hrs a day.

Please help, what do I do?
  #2  
Old 12-09-2013, 02:10
halo99 halo99 is offline
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Re: Is getting clean from Heroin harder when you have needle fixation?

the issue is likely that they are not on the proper maintenance dose... the "ritualizing" of using opiates is *very* common: the act of using in a particular way tends to reinforce the behavior because the end result is stimulation of pleasure centers in the brain. The entire point of entering a maintenance program is to get on a high enough dose to break this cycle... e.g. on a large enough dose of subutex (or suboxone or methadone for that matter) the receptors are bound and no addition of opiates will work as far as causing pleasure... once this happens the ritual stops being reinforced in the pleasure pathways and the brain starts to "forget"...

keep in mind this whole process takes time but it does work.. anyway first things first... dosage might need to be higher but this is something to be discussed with an addiction specialist.. secondly even on the proper maintenance dose it still takes time; there will be a period of perhaps many months where they may still use in an attempt to continue the cycle but it will become less and less frequent.. eventually the cycle is broken and then they can start to consider tapering off of the suboxone...
  #3  
Old 12-09-2013, 20:06
locket82 locket82 is offline
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Re: Is getting clean from Heroin harder when you have needle fixation?

Thank you so much for this Halo99. It makes a lot of sense. We actually just talked today about the pros and cons of upping their dose of subcutex, previously they were on twice the amount as now and felt fine. I think their concern is ending up needing the subs as much as heroin and they want to just be free of it all now, which is hard to remind them its not going to happen that way, because it hasn't the 2 times before. They swear this is different but I guess only time will tell. Thank you
  #4  
Old 12-09-2013, 20:53
TheBigBadWolf TheBigBadWolf is nu online
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Re: Is getting clean from Heroin harder when you have needle fixation?

locket 82,

I think there is another issues with your friend.
at first - yes there is something called needle fixation and it happens often in opiate junkies. I myself have had this most of the time I was addicted to opiates- I did even inject my methadone untilearly 2012.
Needle fixation is not easy to overcome when there is no adverse feeling inside the user against hurting themselves while at the same time awarding themselves with the rush that appears when drugs are injected. I think ithas something to do with borderline disorder in most - but thats just a theory of mine, having watched borderline-typical behaviour in myself (and others).

for me it was relatively easy to quit, being 46 then, having simply no accessible veins left for injection after shy of twenty years of regular injecting. ( I refused to take to the groin where there are well accessible big veins , that as you might know are essential for the bloodflow in the legs. when I run into a car the emergency team should have access to a vein..)

But I also think that your friend has chosen the wrong medication or was ill advised.
It is a known fact amongst users that subutex ( buprenorphine) as an exception case in the drugs that are used for maintenance therapy doesnt have the same effets a 'real' opioid has.
This is , long story short, due to the proprties of buprenorphine being a partial Ķ-receptor agonist AND antagonist, thus not being able to fulfill the need of having 'the hole in their soul' fixed.
Subjectively the users feel clear and alert. Buprenorphine does not give the body high full agonists do provide.
Methadone does.
This inability of suboxone makes it unusable or better not sufficiently usable for the opiate addicts who are used to that high.
This starts co-consume of other substances in some, others tend to shift the attention on the preparing and shooting up process. Altho this gives a certain improvement in general feeling as there is a rush occurring after injection, there is still this 'opiate hole' that doesnt get filled, and users tend to feel underdosed when in reality they arent withdrawing - meaning their dose is the right one, even tho they dont feel so.

One could try to get over this with using more of the medication, to which sadly the infamous tolerance puts an end - there is a known ceiling dose to buprenorphine, a dose that doesnt add to the effects of the drug- simply put,- they are at the roof and dont get thru to the sunshine..

The other and in my eyes far more effective thing would be to switch substitution medications to methadone. It's not more or less addictive than buprenorphine but has two advantages.

At first , it provides the 'filling of the hole', as it is a regular full Ķ-receptor agonist.

Secondly- as it is dispensed in a clinic setting (I now hope this is also true for GB), in any case the first few months it will not get into the user's hands - so there is the possibilty to kill two birds with one stone - they dont get the drugs in their hands and can't shoot up, AND the drug provides the safe, warm feeling (at beginners' doses which usually are relatively high) that we opiate addicts crave.

That's all from my side. In how far you can influence your friend into this I sadly don't now - but from my view this would be exactly what they need, being me, watching what went on around me, I can only advixe you to inform your using friend about these facts and see what they think .

You will possibly hear "but if I cant shoot it up I dont want it"
then let go of him, let him do his things on his own, dont get involved and at most wait for the insght to come,- there's sadly no ways to force someone to do what does good to them.

Best of my wishes to you and to your friend,

BBW

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Excellent Advice/Opinion, born of experience.

Last edited by TheBigBadWolf; 12-09-2013 at 21:01. Reason: editing out typos and mistakes, hopefully not allof them
  #5  
Old 12-09-2013, 22:31
Kaleb Kaleb is offline
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Re: Is getting clean from Heroin harder when you have needle fixation?

Yes, I second the idea to switch from subs to methadone. Much easier to find a stable dose. You just don't feel like doing other drugs because it gets you high, though not too high, just right enough that you have no cravings at all. And you get control over your life back. There is not even the slightest similarity in what your life looks like between being stable on methadone and the misery of when you're scoring illegally.

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best point ever : being stable on 'done gives opportunities a scoring Junky just dont get to, for lack of time.
  #6  
Old 13-09-2013, 01:42
DazedforDays DazedforDays is offline
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Re: Is getting clean from Heroin harder when you have needle fixation?

I too feel your friend would be better off on methadone for many of the reasons already listed by others. Just thought I should add that a switch to Suboxone would make no difference because it can be shot no problem....the naloxone in it does nothing it is claimed to and there are many people who shoot it everyday.
  #7  
Old 24-09-2013, 23:43
locket82 locket82 is offline
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Re: Is getting clean from Heroin harder when you have needle fixation?

Thanks everyone,
After 2 weeks of freaking out that my friend is about to break into my house in the middle of the night I have decided to back off for a while. He still tells me he wants to get clean and takes the piss out of me for trying to help him....saying I should stop talking about heroin like I know about it. He says he doesnt want my help he just wants me to be a friend. I dont know how to be a friend while he is like this. I cant trust anything he says and its causing problems between my family and I. He stated point blank he will not go back onto methadone, its 'nasty'. He is increasing his dose of subcutex but I have no doubts he is injecting it and using in between.
I am realising more and more that this battle is between him and himself.......nobody else can do this for him, and if im honest, I am worried that he will love this drug more than anything else until it drives him into the ground.

Its breaking my heart and I cant watch it. I have told him I am baking off, not because I dont love him but I cant handle the way it brakes me to see him hand himself over to this. He doesn't understand why I cant just 'be his friend' without wanting to help him, why we cant 'just hang out'. He has thankfully left me alone for 4 days until he texted at 1am the other night which sent me into a panic thinking he had turned up and was trying to get in.

Thanks for this forum, its really helped me as a non user to see a little bit more into this crazy world of opiate 'romance'. I will keep reading and hope that my dear friend hits rock bottom soon, before its too late.
  #8  
Old 28-09-2013, 06:46
herointree herointree is offline
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Re: Is getting clean from Heroin harder when you have needle fixation?

yeah, there is a fine line between pushing someone to kick the habit in a good way, and pushing so much that it causes that person to do something crazy or to relapse very hard.

To be honest, I think this about the "needle fixation" is the smallest of problems.
Getting off heroin is incredibly difficult, getting off any opiate is incredibly difficult, and some never get off.... Your friend is right about one thing, methadone can be really awful too. Just about every alternative medication has the potential to become addictive, but methadone has a very scary reputation regarding getting off of it. I've had friends swear by it that it saved their life, so it shouldn't necessarily be written off for those who have developed a severe habit. I have run across people that shoot subutex as well as being users of other opiates. I hardly know any useful information considering your situation (despite the fact i read all of your posts) because its all so complicated, what's useful for one person isn't always useful for another, what i mean by saying all this is that anything I (or others - we) suggest you should think critically about in applying our advice in your own situation.

It sounds like you are a good friend, you don't want to enable your friend, but you want to help him. In the end, only he can help himself, that's something you should understand. For him to get clean, he has to have that want, he has to desire being clean really really bad to go through any of that and he has to want it even worse to STAY clean. given the severity of the situation you wrote about I'm a little at a loss as well. My first inclination would be to talk to him on a serious level (maybe in person or maybe not) and get him to think about his life, how it has been destroyed by heroin, and how he can put it back together again, but that the heroin will completely destroy him, and eventually kill him... That could inspire him to gain the motivation... he was clean for 18 months you said, so he got off it before, he can again..

whatever you do, dont write him off, don't abandon him. You always need to put yourself first, you can't sacrifice yourself to a degree that seriously jeopardizes your life, but as a society we have written off drug addicts for decades, which affects what kind of resources are put into that problem. So today we don't have institutions, medications, or methods that are actually effective or reliable. (Yes including all the most modern meds, they are hardly effective or reliable in all cases) This makes the interpersonal relationships that much more important.

when it comes down to it, he needs to stabilize his usage, and then ween down, on the subtext, suboxone, methadone, or heroin... whatever it is he is using, he needs to stabilize it.... and then he needs to get off using the needle... ideally he should get on some alternate and start to ween, but he has to WANT it... he has to realize what's happened and what his future looks like, get him to think months and years into the future.
I can't even kick my own habit, so I feel like a huge hypocrite for talking like I know what to do like i'm an expert when really i'm hardly more than a slave. Just keep that in mind too, that this person you know is literally being taken over by this disease, the effects of the drug are powerful and are totally altering his behavior, they are causing drastic changes in his brain chemistry that makes getting the drug the most important thing to him. Don't mistake that for "loving" heroin more than loving you or himself, or anyone...
After that long of that heavy usage, a lot of changes have happened already. I feel really bad for you, and I see a reflection of my future self in the story, if I can't get off this before it completely ruins my life, assuming my life hasn't been totally ruined already. Don't get hung up on the needle fixation, he just needs to stabilize and ween down, then detox, but none of that is going to happen unless he wants it. That's your only real role to play, to increase his desire to want to get clean.... and writing him off, or giving him some kind of ultimatums will not do that... in a way he is telling you what is right for him right now, be his friend, be somebody he can talk to, but don't be the person that enables him to use, don't give him money etc. i hope things get better. good luck. keep us informed.

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Very supportive post, showing insight from own experience to a non-user. Well done post.
Excellent post, i agree with everything you have written
  #9  
Old 29-09-2013, 09:52
TheBigBadWolf TheBigBadWolf is nu online
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Re: Is getting clean from Heroin harder when you have needle fixation?

Quote:
Originally Posted by herointree View Post
I can't even kick my own habit, so I feel like a huge hypocrite for talking like I know what to do like i'm an expert when really i'm hardly more than a slave. (...) I see a reflection of my future self in the story, if I can't get off this before it completely ruins my life, assuming my life hasn't been totally ruined already. Don't get hung up on the needle fixation, he just needs to stabilize and ween down, then detox, but none of that is going to happen unless he wants it. That's your only real role to play, to increase his desire to want to get clean.... and writing him off, or giving him some kind of ultimatums will not do that... in a way he is telling you what is right for him right now, be his friend, be somebody he can talk to, but don't be the person that enables him to use, don't give him money etc. i hope things get better. good luck. keep us informed.
^^ emphasis mine BBW
Herointree,
(and of course for locket)

Who is the experts in this fight if not those who are in it , go through it (and have the means to be informed and take educated decisions).
There is nothing hypocritical in telling others about what we addicts feel inside, what is what is moving us , most of the time against all what is called 'normal' and "sensible"

Once you reached the stage to be fed up it is always posible to leave the circle of thoughts drugs leave us in.
I know. I was going through that - and there is no need to wait for "rock bottom" cause it is there as soon as you have developped an addiction. The change in thinking is what makes recovery processes the basis of your future development. Once you truly believe that it has been enough of this life, when you take all your decisiveness and begin to walk the way, there is a good chance for anyone to break their cycles.

It is only this step it takes to lead youto a different view of your situation and the 'deliverance from the darkness that surrounds us '.
It is hope that lead our steps away from the cycles of addiction. a Hope we have the right to bear inside because the possibilities to leave are there and they are very real. it's just the damn brain chemistry telling you to stay inside your misery.

Locket,
I believe it is right for you to back off, you cant be drawn into someone elses addictive cycles - when your guts tell you to keep a distance and that you aren't able to be his 'friend t hang out with' then its the only right thing for you to listen to them.
Nonetheless Herointree is right with what they say - we are backed off by the world watching us what with all the drucs policy and stuff, I dont want to begin a socio-cultural discussion on your thread - if you want my thoughts about that, please write me a DM and I'll happily write what I think, and we need a friend or twop. to refelct our actions and thoughts, to be corrected 'again and over again , and time again' until we DO have the power to step aside and let the cycles roll on on their own.
A man without a friend is lost, Heroin cant give friendship, in the end it's loneliness in chemistry.
Having someone 'just to hang out and be friends' is important. in our own minds there lives an addiction which will take over leadership when we are on our own, inside ourselves, caught in the process of scoring, cooking, shooting up, nodding, coming off, scoring, cooking ...

It is completely okay and understandable not to want to be forced to watch someone's decay..

Helping is sometimes just hanging out and talking small things, to make us addicts feel that we are not alone.
Company is the best means against loneliness - and the decision to leave the route of this is the part of the addict, those around can but give them support - and simple friendship.

BBW

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Very helpful and supportive to OP and HeroinTree.
  #10  
Old 17-10-2013, 00:29
locket82 locket82 is offline
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Re: Is getting clean from Heroin harder when you have needle fixation?

Thanks Herointree & BBW

Its all become very complicated since my last post. I did what you suggested herointree and talked to him seriously about his life. He responded amazingly, he is totally broken and he knows it too. he cant see a way out of his life and he is insisting he wants to change. He seems like he is in total denial about his addiction as he said 'I just slip up a few times' but in that same week I knew of at least 4 occasions that he used, and one of them was 'snowballing' or 'speedballing' or something like that. I feel like this is really risky and he wont admit that he is not just slipping up every now and then......He is using everything and anything he can, crack, heroin, coke and sleepers. A few times when he described using he said things like 'I got thing's ready just the way I wanted it' ........Its like some kind of ritual for him, I dont understand it all......

To add to it all he has also told me that he is in love with me, and that he always has been. He wishes he could turn the clock back to have me and not turn me down like he did previously. I have no idea whether to believe him or not as he is a total womaiser and I know he understands how to push my buttons. Do people talk the truth when they are high??

For this reason I have had to cut him off completely. I am finding myself searching the streets for him when im out incase he is dead in a ditch, every ambulance I see in town I worry thats its him, I hide stuff when he is around and its just consuming my head. I have tried to figure out a way for us to run away and get him clean, cold turkey......he wants to do it, but I am afraid that even if he deals with the physical stuff, (i know he can do it) its in his head.....he says he wants clean but the way he describes being on H tells me he still doest see it as the enemy. Now with this whole, 'when i am clean I want to marry you' thing its screwing with my heart way to much.

I love him deeply, God knows why......but from all the threads I have read it seems like the key to change is that HE needs to desire it.....he says hes desperate to change but his old rehab wont take him back because he keeps going and then leaving early to use.....

I feel like my heart is torn in half......I want to help him but I know he has to do this on his own....

im doing the right thing arnt I??
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Old 17-10-2013, 01:58
Scared Wife Scared Wife is offline
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Re: Is getting clean from Heroin harder when you have needle fixation?

Locket82

I am kinda in the same shoes as you. My husband after 30 years of being clean of heroin started snorting opiates. He has been lying to me for 2 years. He has cirrhosis of the liver stage 4. All he has done has slept and is super thin now. I thought that he would never going back to drugs an after such a long time who would of thought it. I thought is was all due to his sickness, but I lost it when he dropped it in the house and I found it.

I gave him a month to figure out what he was going to do or I was going to leave him. Every time I look at him it breaks my heart. He has lied so much to me I cant believe anything he says. I leave sometimes just to get away from him. He said he was trying to cut back but it was going to take time. We have been together for 28 years and its hard just to walk away.

After 2 months of crying on Saturday I finally said to him that he is so disgusting that I cant stand to look at him and I was done with him and all his lies. On Sunday he decided to quit. He is having withdrawls so bad so I know he is trying. I love him with all my heart.

We have a 22 year old daughter who doesnt live with us and is doing great and has no idea what her father is doing. She knows he is sick, but not the drugs. It would kill her if she finds out.

Im here if you need somebody to talk to. Im new on here also and it has helped me.

Good luck!
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Old 17-10-2013, 06:42
Candy9801 Candy9801 is offline
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Re: Is getting clean from Heroin harder when you have needle fixation?

For SOME, yes, it's more the needle that turns them on rather than just the drug alone. My cat, Sassy, has been IV using for almost 2 years, Heroin being the drug of choice. She has shot the drug with the needle & has also snorted it, it's not the same. People with the "needle fixation" yearn for that "push". No matter how bad their veins look, no matter how swollen their arms are, they will continue to search for that next spot. She really can't explain it completely, but it's there, & once you start & it grabs ahold of you, 9xs out of 10, there's no turning back. I have seen Sassy sit on the edge of her bed & cry tears of frustration because she can't find a vein...literally bawling people; the "needle fixation's" grip is so tight that Sassy will shoot up just about anything: Heroin, Oxys, Morphine, even so far as Ritalin which will do great damage to your veins & ofcourse SWIMS will come up with excuses why they choose to use the needle (not that doing drugs period isn't bad enough)...some will say, "well, I get high faster", that being the #1 excuse, others will say, "there's no waste of the product when u go the IV route", & there's many more, but in all reality, it's mainly the needle itself thats the FIXATION, most of the time it comes along with the RITUAL itself of preparing to shoot up...(for SOME, not all). Sassy advises & warns anyone even THINKING about turning to the needle...DON'T!!! Ofcourse don't do drugs at all, but we're not here to preach, just give friendly advice; but seriously, once u start folks, more than likely, there's no turning back. We know most have u have seen & read this poem already but Sassy does like to share it often in hopes that even just 1 person will take it to heart & hopefully it scares the shit outta them! Sassy still IV uses but is trying her very best to overcome her addiction...she starts rehab next week...wish her luck! God Bless

*DRUGS*
I destroy homes, tear families apart, take your children, & thatís just the start.
Iím more costly than diamonds, more costly than gold; the sorrow I bring is a sight to behold.
& if u need me, remember, Iím easily found; I live all around u, in schools & in town.
I live with the rich, I live with the poor; I live down the street, & maybe next door.
My power is awesome; try me ó youíll see; but if u do, u may never break free.
Just try me once & I might let u go, but try me twice, & Iíll own your soul.
When I possess u, youíll steal & youíll lie. U do what u have to just to get high.
The crimes youíll commit, for my narcotic charms, will be worth the pleasure youíll feel in your arms.
Youíll lie to your mother, youíll steal from your dad; When u see their tears, u should feel sad.
But youíll forget your morals & how u were raised, Iíll be your conscience, Iíll teach u my ways.
I take kids from parents, & parents from kids; I turn people from god, & separate from friends.
Iíll take everything from u, your looks & your pride; Iíll be with u always, right by your side.
Youíll give up everything, your family, your home; your friends, your money, then youíll be alone.
Iíll take & take, till u have nothing more to give; When Iím finished with u, youíll be lucky to live.
If u try meĖ be warnedĖ this is no game; If given the chance, Iíll drive u insane.
Iíll ravish your body, Iíll control your mind; Iíll own u completely, your soul will be mine.
The nightmares Iíll give u while lying in bed, the voices youíll hear from inside your head; the sweats, the shakes, the visions youíll seeĖ I want u to know, these are all gifts from me. But then itís too late, & youíll know in your heart, that u are mine, & we shall not part. Youíll regret that u tried me, they always do, but u came to me, not I to U. U knew this would happen; Many times u were toldĖ but you challenged my power, & chose to be bold. U could have said no, & just walked away; If u could live that day over, now what would u say? Iíll be your master; u will be my slave; Iíll even go with u, when u go to your grave. Now that u have met me, what will u do? Will u try me or not? Itís all up to U. I can bring u more misery than words can tell; Come take my hand, let me lead u to HELLÖÖ
  #13  
Old 23-10-2013, 00:05
ak2Ut ak2Ut is offline
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Re: Is getting clean from Heroin harder when you have needle fixation?

If your friends are serious about quitting and its not just talk when they are messed up then Yes, without a doubt it can be done. I would suggest a medical detox, most big cities will have a hospital that provides this free of charge if they say they cant afford it. After that, rehab for at least 60 days if that is not possible then they will need to find things they enjoy to do to occupy their mind and body, I didnt go to rehab but used many other tools to help me get through and friends/family were a huge support.

The ritual seems scary to break I too injected heroin for a few years and now I look at it negatively, I dont glamorize drug use in any way so I know a turnaround is possible. Methadone and suboxone are just a crutch and will keep the brain in active addiction, if they are serious they can get it done without those and will be much happier people. Good luck you are a good friend.

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