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I am an IV heroin user.

by Russell
(Youngstown, Ohio)

The reason I'm writing now, is to find out if there is any need for someone to come and speak or tell their story online about heron addiction... I don't know if you guys consider it a scumbag thing to do, looking to get paid for a gig like this, but honestly I am now disabled and unable to go back to my career because of heroin, and am looking for other avenues to make money at least for the time being.

I am a heroin addict. I have been for the last 15 years and I am 34 now. I am/was a tattoo artist, NOT some kitchen scratcher, I was a licensed professional tattoo artist. And as ashamed as I am to admit it, I was supporting my habit with my job, and am married still by the grace of God, and have an awesome 9 year old son, named Jacob.
I don't know how I managed to keep them in my life, because I've been pounding rock bottom for the last 4 years for sure, stealing whatever I can from whoever I can, and lying and doing pretty much every degrading thing you can think of outside of selling my body.

I am an IV drug user, meaning I shoot my heroin into my veins, and I have been since the very beginning, at first shooting OxyContin 80's, then moving on to heroin when the oxies got too expensive. I've shot pretty much everywhere, from my neck, to my groin, to my penis, to in between my toes, my toes themselves, and if you use your imagination, chances are I've used it too and have found a vein there. I've blown out everything. I wasn't able to find a vein anywhere at all, and resorted to skin popping for a while, but after the 50th abscessed and infected injection site, and the 25th hole in my body that I'm stuck with forever, I decided to use the smallest needle I could find, and start injecting into my palms, in between my fingers, and the sides of my fingers. I was very happy to learn that not only was it easy to do, but there was an abundance of veins and almost impossible to blow them out with this tiny needle. I went almost a full year without missing once or having a bad experience injecting multiple times a day.

So about three months ago, I was shooting some seriously horrible, cut up dope, and decided to go into the side of my middle finger this time. Something I've done many times before. But this time, the blood was a little brighter, and there was pressure, and it felt a little wierd, but as you know I'm sure, when your needle is sucking up blood you MUST be in a vein, so just push slowly and ignore the discomfort. Which is exactly what I did. Now, I do know what an artery feels like, and I know when to stop pushing the plunger. But this time it felt like it was ok, just a little uncomfortable. So away I pushed, and I got almost the whole shot into my finger, when all of a sudden I feel a slight "pop pop pop", like I injected bubbles or something. So I took the needle out of my finger, and almost right away I felt it start to burn, and then my hand was on fire!!! Hurt worse than any artery I've ever shot into by accident, and it was constant and unceasing. Then my hand swelled up like a balloon.

After 3 days, the swelling went down for the most part, but my fingers were all cold as hell, and grey. I went to the hospital right away. They admitted me and got me a bed, and for a week they loaded me up with antibiotics and a BUTT LOAD of pain meds - Percocet, morphine, norcos, and liquid dulaudid... Oh this is all after they installed my central line into my neck down into my heart... So for a week they treated me for pain and did nothing with my actual hand other than having an ortho surgeon come in and ask me a couple questions and leave again. After a week they released me, saying the color had come back to my hand, and what I'm seeing is bruising because of the severe swelling.

A week after I left, my hand had color again, in all but my index and middle fingers on my dominant hand. Those were turning black. I went back to the emergency room, and they admitted me again, but didn't do anything for 3 more days, in which my two fingers had turned completely black, and were shriveled and shrunken and rock hard. And dead. There was nothing they could do at that point. They prepped me for surgery, and gave me a central line AGAIN, which by the way is a very painful and uncomfortable experience..... Picture someone sticking a needle in your neck, that's attached to a wire hanger, and then try to imagine what it feels like when someone jams a wire hanger down your neck into your chest and into your heart, and then pulling it back out, and sewing the IV tube into your neck so it doesn't slip out... It SUCKS. Anyway, they cut my fingers off. 3/4 of my index finger and 1/3 of my middle finger. I am no longer able to tattoo, and I now have no clue whether or not I will be able to ever be a part of the tattoo industry again, unless I open up my own shop one day and hire people on to work for me. Other than that I can always fall back and be a telemarketer. Or work some other menial job with no promise of a future.

Now, even with two amputated fingers, a ruined career, and even with my wife and son still by my side ready to ride into hell with me if that's where I have to take them, I am still a heroin addict. I'm trying mind you, to get accepted into a REAL rehab program instead of one of these state funded places that treat you like dirt and may as well have a sign over your bed that says "START PLANNING YOUR IMMEDIATE RELAPSE HERE"... But I have Medicaid and they don't pay for the good places that give you Suboxone or Methadone and make you as comfortable as possible, and allow you to stay for 30-60-90 days or as long as you need to in order to get really clean.... The state funded stuff sets you up to fail. Now I know I will be clean soon enough, I've done enough wrong and I've lost body parts because of heroin... I'm not going to lose anything else.

But it all could have been prevented if I had just listened to myself and everyone around me and just quit back when I still had my life ahead of me. Instead now all I can do is look back at my past, and break down into tears when I do, because of what my life could have been rather than what it is right now. Make the choice to save your own life and save what your life could become. Don't just assume that it's too late, or that you're not worth it... You absolutely are worth it. You could get clean and shine in this world and you could do it for the both of us. If you can stop before it truly is too late, then you have it in you to shine bright enough for two people at least lol...

Thanks for reading this. If you can get any use from it let me know. I can give you guys plenty of pics.:..

Regards,
Russell

Comments for I am an IV heroin user.

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Posting this in case someone is looking for your services.
by: Debbie Wicker

Dear Russell,

I've posted you story on the site because occasionally we have been contacted by people who are looking for addicts to tell their story. We only have this website so don't anyone because of our size.

I'm hoping you'll consider attending 12 step meetings and working on ending your addiction. Working the 12 steps, and finding a sponsor can help you to find the resources necessary to end your addiction and live for yourself and your family. Hope is always possible, and you still have so much value for your wife and your son.

Good Luck,

Debbie

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