April 11, 2014

"Honestly, I don’t think anybody I know romanticized it as much as they liked it. It’s got good qualities."

It = heroin, described by Robert Aaron, the musician accused of selling drugs to Philip Seymour Hoffman, the actor who died of a drug overdose. Aaron, we're told, paused before proceeding to tout heroin:
"A lot of times you have a deadline and you have to work for 24 hours. This lets you do it with no pain, no tiredness.... If I have to write a book, get me high — I’ll have the book written in two weeks. You’re lucid. And emotions don’t affect you as much — your anger — it bottles up your feelings. It makes you more rational, or you think you are, anyway. You sleep wonderfully. I’m a lifelong insomniac. Everything has its good points and bad points. The bad point is the dependence."


Michael K said...

The really bad point is tolerance. It takes larger and larger does to get the same effect. Then, if you stop for a while, like prison term, you can't go right back to the same does you were using. That leads to the coroner's refrigerator. Speedballs, like the one that killed Hoffman and John Belushi are also bad news. Cocaine kills even at the usual dose.

mccullough said...

I'll have to take his word for it. But it sounds more like cocaine or speed would be the drug needed when you have to be alert for extended periods of time.

damikesc said...

Is heroin a good thing? No.

Was it anybody's job to protect Hoffman from himself? Also no.

I don't get the appeal of drugs (marijuana just made me drowzy and aroused which is a miserable combo), but the world shouldn't be based upon what I like.

Rusty said...

Having had two friends die from heroin, I'm not buying his message.

the wolf said...

The bad point is the dependence

Yes, that and the death part. There's a reason there are no 70-year-old heroin addicts.

madAsHell said...

...without heroin, there would be no Exile on Main St., and Janis Joplin wouldn't be part of the 27 club.

Will Cate said...

Right - extremely possible death. I'd say that's the really bad point.

David said...

"The bad point is the dependence."

And the premature, messy irresponsible death.

Bob Ellison said...

I recently read Theodore Dalrymple's book, Romancing Opiates. The author, a psychiatrist, writes that heroin and other opiates are not strongly physically addictive (though possibly strongly psychologically addictive) and that withdrawal symptoms from heroin and other opiates are known among medical pros to be quite mild, especially compared to withdrawal symptoms from alcohol addiction. The author pretty much says everyone in medicine knows this stuff.

When I was a kid, we were taught that heroin was the most addictive drug ever. Try it once, and you'll never get off. We saw late-night TV movies with heroin addicts in the police station shaking and begging for help.

When I was a teenager, we were taught that cigarettes are the most addictive drug ever, worse than heroin.

What will come next?

Dalrymple's book seems rather harsh. I would like to read a strong critique. But the popular meme for decades has been to jump from thing to thing as the worst thing ever.

Robert Cook said...

"There's a reason there are no 70-year-old heroin addicts."

William Burroughs lived to his late 80s, and he continued use of heroin or other opiates throughout much of his life.

There was also writer Anna Kavan, a lifelong heroin addict who lived to be 67.

If there are two, there are others.

I don't promote or applaud heroin use, and have never used it or been friends with anyone who ever used it, (though I have friends who have friends who have used it).

However, to say there are no 70 year old heroin addicts is incorrect.

Strelnikov said...

And then you're dead.

That's something of a drawback.

Michael K said...

Heroin was the best drug for labor pain until epidural anesthesia came along. The Harrison Narcotic Act allowed hospitals to use up their stocks and Johns Hopkins used Heroin for labor pain until almost 1930. There is still a lot of hysteria about narcotics and their real use in pain control.

Cocaine, however, is unsafe at any speed.

Amphetamines and the newer street chemicals are of no benefit and could never be legal.

Bob R said...

Of COURSE it has good qualities. Why else do people risk death to do it.

YoungHegelian said...

I can see why this guy's lawyer recommended he NOT speak to the press.

Howard said...

There is no Naked Free Lunch.

James said...

Oooh, this guy hasn't played with the White Witch long enough. Wait till she goes away and he gets the jones bad, then he'll know that she has no mercy.

Mountain Maven said...

Show me a healthy fully functionally Heroin Addict.

Peter said...

"This lets you do it with no pain, no tiredness.... "

I can understand the "no pain" part, but "no tiredness"? There's a reason why these drugs are called "narcotics."

Perhaps he's talking about what happens when some uppers are added to the mix?

Then again, there's Dexamyl. It hasn't been available for decades, but it was once sold in huge quantities as a prescription drug by Smith, Kline, And French. And what was it? Why, a combination of dexedrine and amobarbitol. Less lethal than speedballs I suppose, but that might be just because as a legal drug it had known contents and potency.

Titus said...

Sounds gross.


Alex said...

Michael - a speed-ball is what kill River Phoenix.

Carol said...

It was common to mix heroin with some kind of speed, like the old benzadrine inhalers, then drink to take the edge off that...lol.

Years ago I worked with a pianist who told me, don't ever try smack, it was that good. He'd kicked but he seemed kind of an empty shell.

Rusty said...

However, to say there are no 70 year old heroin addicts is incorrect.

Of the 5 people I've known personally who died as a result of heroin addiction none of them died of an overdose. 3 of them were murdered two of them died in automobile crashes as a result of their addiction.

Lydia said...

Years ago I worked with a pianist who told me, don't ever try smack, it was that good.

"Nancy Reagan was visiting Longfellow Elementary School in Oakland, California, in 1982 and was asked by a schoolgirl what to do if she was offered drugs. The first lady responded by saying, 'Just say no'."

And she was laughed off the national stage.

Michael K said...

"Show me a healthy fully functionally Heroin Addict."

William Halsted, one of the "Big Four" of Johns Hopkins, the first modern US hospital, became a cocaine addict through his experiments with local anesthesia in the 1880s.

When the hospital was under construction, William Osler, chief of medicine, took Halsted on a long sea voyage which was thought for many years to have cured him of his cocaine addiction. He was the great pioneer of American surgery.

Years later, when Osler's papers were opened after his death, it was learned that Halsted continued to use morphine until almost his own death in 1926. There has been considerable speculation about the personality change in Halsted after the hospital opened in 1889. He had been a typical 19th century surgeon before, with an emphasis on speed which was important before anesthesia.

Halsted was renowned for his meticulous technique that minimized blood loss in the era before transfusion was available. How much of this was due to his use of morphine? We will never know.

Ann Althouse said...

Who knows what drugs people are on? You find out sometimes when they screw up or they decide they want to talk about it, but I assume the successful users of legal as well as illegal drugs are not talking about it publicly? Who wants "heroin" as their branding?

You can't interpret the silence.

It's disturbing to think of all the drugs people might be on, including the people who can write a book in 2 weeks.

Or prolifically blog for 10 years running and no sign of letting up.

How do they do it?

Maybe it's heroin!

Alex said...

I guess a speedball is nature's way of weeding out the idiots.

David said...

Or prolifically blog for 10 years running and no sign of letting up.

How do they do it?

Maybe it's heroin!

Heroin. Heroine. Could be either. Or both.

Jay Vogt said...

OK, there seems to be some confusion about all this, so I'll clear it up as best I can. Heroin is highly addictive. It doesn't matter what it's more or less addictive than. The risk of overdose is real and the methods of dosing are dangerous. A lot of people (especially young adults) are dying from it - and the deathstyle that surrounds it. Being a user makes you lie to yourself and others about everything. Being a functional addict is statistically next to impossible. It robs a person's soul, freedom and dignity every fucking day - every fucking day. Corporations are making even more concentrated opiates every generation even as there is clearly no reason to do so. This should scare you.

Making excuses for heroin might be fashionable, but it's lies and it's wrong. People are dying. Lives are being wasted. And, the wrong people are getting rich off it.

Because we can make it does not make it good or even morally neutral. It just means we can make it.

Can it really be that Nancy Reagan is the only one who was and is clear on this?

Penny Dreffle said...

If it wasn't illegal it would be possible to buy heroin of known quality and dose, thus reducing risk of death. Prohibition creates the problem it claims to solve.

John Lynch said...

Something Dan Carlin said on his show-

We have all these drug companies. Perhaps they should be allowed to make intoxicating drugs that are safer than the ones we have?

virgil xenophon said...

Peter@4:52pm yesterday

"Dexamyl" God yes! I found it to be a VERY effective drug in the early 60s to use for studying for finals as long as one didn't stay up for more than 24 hrs. The speed both kept one awake and highly concentrated one's focus while the amobarbitol kept one's stomach from being upset. A very useful and beneficial drug if used properly.. I usually timed my intake so I "came down" just before the test and so was relaxed but not yet overly tired. After the test I would simply sleep to recover.

ken in sc said...

It also makes you constipated. I am surprised no one mentioned that. I once knew some heroin users. Constipation was their main problem, from their point of view.