Sunday, 9 August 2009

Diary: What Does Heroin Feel Like? (Part I)

Diary: A pending work project was finally given the go ahead which means we might be able to buy that huge plasma TV we have wanted for so long. This makes Mrs Wright very happy. Conveniently, I am due for my next fix which is also partly reliant on me bringing in a big job. Even more convenient is that Mrs Wright has gone out tonight with some friends so I’m home alone.

Just as I finished having my long awaited fix, I suddenly had an urge to write down what I was about to experience. I thought I might just write what comes to me and edit it later. After reading what I wrote, I was a bit surprised about how little there was. It felt like I was writing non stop for at least an hour. It all seems a bit bland so I am just going to show what I wrote without editing.

It’s 8:09pm on this Friday night. I have just had half a gram of heroin.

I’m writing this out in point form and I will edit it later. I want to catch my feelings and emotions whilst high on heroin.

I’m internally calm but a little shaky on the outside.

As I start I ask myself if my mind is blank and I get a quick flash of an empty room sized skull from the inside.

As soon as I finish injecting, I start to tidy up after myself. My mind is fixed on waiting for the rush which of course never comes anymore.

First I rinse out the syringe by sucking up water and squirting it back out. I recap the syringe and put it back where it belongs. I can feel the heroin now especially in the back of my throat. Any rubbish or scraps of filter, paper, medical swabs etc. is put into the 4 tissues laid out as a mat. After rolling it up, I put it in an old cigarette packet and toss it in the bin.

I block my ears which gives me a feeling of being safe. It creates a hum which reminds me of the cold rain while being comfortably warm in bed.

I suddendly realise that this feeling is the opposite of cannabis. My thoughts aren’t deep or scary and there’s no worry about where they might lead. I simply close my eyes and stretch which blocks my ears and my mind is clear again.

I notice that my typing is faster and more accurate.

I have a similar feeling to taking speed - optimistic, adventurist (within the confines of my room), happy.

As the high wears off, I try to trigger a mini rush by stretching, blocking ears etc. I start to get a bit restless by tapping feet, jiggling my leg.

My mind wanders from time to time.


My leg is shaking up and down - like nervous energy, Now both legs.

I close my eyes and relax.

Thinking about what I’m writing and what to write next.

Time for a drink.

It feels good to get up and stretch my legs. I get a bottle of lime soft drink from the fridge and return.


Feeling good and mostly relaxed.

You have to work at it to make heroin work for you.

Close one eye and start to nod off slightly. (20 seconds)

Another smoke.Another drink.

Thinking about what to write. Sudden wave of boredom.

Holding my breath and scratching my head - seems to bring on a wave of slight euphoria(effects of the heroin). I realise I have done this quite a bit since I started.


Running out of ideas. Main effects have worn off a lot.

Slight dream about viewing space from the edge of the atmosphere in a crane like pod. With someone I don’t know.

Another drink.

Slightly dreamy when I close my eyes.

I think that’s it. I might just spend some time on the internet looking up those sites you always bookmark but never get around to visiting.

Yes, pleasantly relaxed.


After Thoughts
Sunday (2 days later): Boy, it sounds much more boring than it really was. I think I might have nodded off a few times for about 5-30 seconds which I didn’t record. I think I also better explain the “blocked ears” comments. When you yawn, your ears block which is often accompanied by a stretch when your tired. It feels like effect of adjusting to the air pressure when going on a plane or to a mountain retreat. This can be replicated by clenching your jaw which puts pressure on your throat and blocks your ears.

I must say I’m really surprised at how coherent my writing is. Since heroin is converted into morphine in the brain and morphine is well known to create vivid, intense dreams, I was half expecting to write a collage of mumbo-jumbo, morphine infected nonsense (morphine derives it’s name from Morpheus, the Greek god of dreams). The only semi-dream I wrote down sounds weirder than it actually was. Usually dreams are wrapped in emotions and that’s one of the reasons why they are hard to recall and sound so boring yet bizarre when explained to someone else.

The one comment that stands out to me is, “You have to work at it to make heroin work for you”. Heroin is not like other drugs that completely overtake your senses and there is nothing worse than someone or something disturbing your experience. Using heroin mostly requires peace and quiet to get the most out of it. This makes heroin an anti-social drug for regular users. Alcohol, amphetamines, cocaine, ecstasy etc. are much more fun with other people and a social event to attend. I could think of nothing worse than being in that situation when taking heroin and it would just be a waste. The added difficulty for me was my heavy dose of prescription morphine. My opiate receptors were already full of morphine and the heroin had a hard time breaking through. It is the same for those on Methadone Maintenance Treatment(MMT) or buprenorphine. An often used workaround is to postpone your substitution medication until the afternoon and use the heroin in the morning while your brain is almost free from yesterday’s opiates. Heroin crosses the blood/brain barrier much faster than other opiates like morphine and especially methadone. This is why heroin gives you a rush. When you’re mostly free from other opiates, heroin works particularly well but other slower working opiates, take much more time to cross over from your blood to your brain and linger around without much of the high. I suppose it’s somewhat like eating. If you’re really hungry, food tastes so much better but if you have been snacking all day and you don’t have much of an appetite, food will not taste as good. Ideally, you would fast all day and when you finally got to that favourite restaurant, the food will be delicious.

The next day(Saturday), Mrs Wright asked out of politeness, if I had a good night. Normally I would dodge the subject and mumble something about being “just okay” but this time I told her it was very pleasant. And it was. It was the most relaxed I had been for months. After the first hour or so and the feeling of heroin bliss subsided, I actually got to feel human. It was a just like taking a night off from my tense, always compromising life.

Related Articles
Diary: What Does Heroin Feel Like? (Part II)
Diary: What Does Heroin Feel Like? (Part III)


The Editor said...

That was an interesting read. Very revealing and honest. I thought half a gram would have more effect for longer. Makes me wonder if it is worth all the trouble?

Anonymous said...

Always good to have some personal insight. Thanks writer.

Victor said...

Its really great blog so truth full things i really got it thanks for writer

Duncan said...

"I thought half a gram would have more effect for longer"

It depends on what sort of tolerance you have got, how opiate soaked your receptors are.

Half a gram would put me in a pine box!

Terry Wright said...

Thanks for your comments.

I mentioned in the article that because I am on such a high dosage of morphine, it is hard to feel the heroin. Since I take my meds early in the morning, I have to wait until at least after dark to get some effect.

Editor. I wonder the same every time I do it!

Anonymous said...

I personally like mixing the ice with the heroin, Like having a few puffs of the ice when stoned, not to many just one burn. It makes me go totally psydways

Nigel B said...

Just interested in the cleaning the needle process. This is of course something most injectors do as standard but is (hopefully) mostly out of habit.

I'm assuming that you have a needle programme near you so you have good access to clean works, so there is (in theory at least) no need to clean the used kit.

If its because you are concerned that you might get to the needle programme and it be closed, or that you might run out of kit late at night it might be an idea to keep a few sets of emergency works (I wrote an article on my blog for harm reduction workers explaining to them its important to talk about this idea).

I'd be really interested to hear if this is more a habit (the pin cleaning) or a real need.

BTW have you seen the great film from the Harm Reduction Works campaign on pin cleaning?

Anonymous said...

thanks Terry, i am on methadone but always feel like topping up now and again.

Terry Wright said...

Hi Nigel.

Thanks for the great link, Cleaning works: how to clean a used syringe.

I notice your website is all about this subject so for the readers, here it is: Injecting Advice

Please check it out everyone. It really is the most authoritative website I have seen on cleaning injecting equipment.

Gledwood said...

I used to be totally addicted to heroin/coke snowballs and had this compulsive urge to write the xperience down... time and time again it read sommething like SNOWBALL ~ in shaky writing and blah blah blah blah blah blah blah the writing spidering on getting smaller and smaller and eventually dying out into a wavering line as I conked out. Same thing happened every bloody time!

Dale said...

I don't ever feel stoned on heroin. I just feel normal.

When is heroin going to be prescribed to people like me who live in hell 24/7? Don't I deserve to feel normal like everyone else?