Drugs have long been a part of everyday culture; from celebrity scandals to national talk shows, drugs are universally understood as negative and scary things. Recently, one of the most dangerous drugs has gained popularity on the social media platform ‘Tumblr’. Specific fan pages and pages endorsing its usage have been created, posting the owners drug possessions, and in many cases, videos and photos of themselves injecting heroin. There are also ‘smaller’ pages that use the hashtag ‘#heroin’ to connect with other ‘users’ in the world – a community of addicts and recovering souls.
In the following series, I will talk to some of the largest names on Tumblr that openly post their tales and images of heroin usage and to better understand their world.
In part 4, I talked to ‘Yoshi’, a young man who has struggled with heroin usage for 6 years. He talked to me of the mental problems heroin gave him, issues with sleep paralysis and his advice for young people considering using heroin.
To get right into it, how long have you been using heroin?
I have been using heroin, on and off, since I was 15. I’m 21 now.
So 6 years? Has your body had any noticeable negative effects as a result?
Yes, it’s more mental damage than anything. It was a time that I started to use heavy, I’m talking about maybe a half a gram a day, I started to develop sleep paralysis and it’s not a ‘once in a blue moon’ thing, it happens every night now.
Can you explain your experiences with sleep paralysis?
*Ummm* well, whenever you have sleep paralysis, you think that you’re awake whilst your body is still sleeping. I can basically wake up and move my eyes, but my body feels like someone heavy is standing on top of me. You can’t breathe, or it feels as if someone is sucking your breath away. And sometimes, I see figures that my mind has made up in the shadows of my room; sometimes, I see demonic presences or a creature, etc. It’s crazy what your mind can do.
And you think that’s a direct result of your heroin usage?
Yes, because it all started happening after I started to use heavy. It might affect people differently, but for me, I can 100% say that at some point, a chemical imbalance went off in my brain after I started using heroine heavy.
Obviously, heroin is a very dangerous drug. Do you ever think of the dangers when using, or is that usually an after-thought?
Yes. Every time, but as soon as it hits my blood stream, all that is out of the window.
Have you ever had any severe reactions/ medical emergencies due to heroin?
No, I stay away from bad heroine by either testing the purity and seeing what it is cut with first, and I never share syringes. I’m not the type to think I can’t overdose, so if it’s a new batch, I do the smallest amount possible first. So no, heroine has never put me in the hospital or caused me any harm really.
That’s ‘good’ to hear. Now, heroin is very much stigmatised in the media. Do you ever feel there isn’t enough support for the issue, if you want it?
Yes, because kids these days don’t really know that this shit is not a game. I honestly believe that if heroin was showed to me at a younger age – for what it really is, I wouldn’t have touched the shit. No one really can tell you that heroine is not something that you ‘try once and never touch again’. It’s something that even the love of God can’t match. There is no drug on this earth that matches heroin. So, yeah, stop making weed seem so evil and tell these kids what the real shit will do to you.
So I found you through the hashtag ‘#heroin’. How come you openly tagged content with this?
Because other people that have the same addiction contact me just like how you did and talk about addiction and stuff.
Do you feel like it promotes heroin use, or creates a community?
Both. Some people like showing off, but I do it for the community.
Are you ever worried a child or other vulnerable person, like a recovering addict may see your content?
*Hmmm* Yeah, I guess, but I’m not here to promote drugs ‘really’. I hope that their ‘at home’ life is positive, to where they don’t fall into addiction.
But surely content like that may drive them to be curious/ think of it as glamorous?
Yeah, maybe, but like I said, their at home situation and the people around them should handle how they do, not my pictures.
Fair enough. How do you feel about yourself?
I feel good about myself. I haven’t let my addiction take over my love life, work, etc. but I know if I take it too far, it can lead me down a dark road.
Do you think you’ll go ‘too far’?
I don’t know what the future might bring, but I have a strong girlfriend and family to keep me going off the deep end.
What triggered you to use heroin in the first place?
The wrong environment. Just people that were around me got me into it.
So it was peer pressure that got you to try it in the first place?
Would you class yourself as an addict?
Yep, sure would. Not proud of it, but I’m not one of those people that to try to act like they’re not because once you fool yourself to thinking you are not, you start to do more and more.
But we as humans are creatures of habit, so we all are addicted to something.
This question might be tough, but do you want to do heroin?
Like now? No, I’m around my family and friends, so I’m just chilling. I only do heroin when I’m by myself, really.
No, I mean in general. Would you like to just never do heroin again?
Oh yeah. I would. Shit, I wish I never touched it in the first place. That drug reminds me of the story in the bible of the forbidden fruit, that shit should never be touched at all, but once you touch it, you’re committed to it. One day I’ll stop, though.
Do you feel like your heroin use could affect your chances of getting a career?
*Ummm* Depends what you do. I’m a producer and work in the music industry, so it’s not frowned upon as much, but if you’re a white collar worker, then yes, very much so.
Ah I see. What’s one piece of advice you’d offer to a young person considering using heroin for the first time?
Don’t do it, choose something more constructive to do with your time. Drugs are not cool and there’s nothing good that’s going to come of it.
Is there any reason you don’t apply that to yourself?
I do, I say it all the time to myself, but it’s an uphill battle. But, like I said, it’s like once you have touched this crap it’s very hard to put it down.
Good luck man. Thank you for speaking with me.