The holiday spirits are upon us. People love the holidays and can’t wait to start celebrating – there’s a spike in church visits during Christmas and for the merchants the christmas celebrations can turn their accounts into surplus: the stores are all ramped up for Christmas and the decorations are out from floor to ceiling. In the spirit of the season, we gather the people we love the most — your spouse, your friends, your kids & families — and enjoy the most wonderful time of the year. For both kids & adults Christmas comes with great anticipation, but for these two…?
In the midst of the city’s inhabitants that are busy with their
spending spree holiday preparations and worrying about the lack of snow and the lack of butter (the Norwegian state gives the farmers quotas regulating how much milk & butter they’re allowed to produce), I came across these two fine gentlemen hiding behind some vehicles, going about their daily chores. You might wonder what they are up to and why they are hiding?
The guy standing up is injecting drugs into his own groin, while his buddy is assisting with a flashlight, making it easier for him to hit the femoral vein – one out of three compartments in the femoral sheath (the other two being the femoral artery & the femoral canal).
This method of injecting drugs have both advantages & disadvantages for the user: Injecting intravenously gives them an increased effect compared to other methods – by injecting they bypass the defense mechanisms of the body (liver, lungs etc.), creating a rush for the junkie. It doesn’t harm the lungs, the liver or the nose (like swallowing, smoking or snorting the drugs would).
The disadvantages of this method is multiple, ranging from infections due to needle sharing and/or a lack of hygiene, increased chances of overdose, arterial damages such as hemorrhage, distal ischemia, gangrene. etc, etc.
Both these guys showed signs of having been addicts for a while – their faces were worn out, their eyes shallow and soulless.
After they were finished injecting their drugs, I made sure they cleaned up their mess (which they happily did without any objections) and I escorted them from the premises wishing them happy holidays and the best of luck with their addiction.
Afterwards, on another floor, I found two younger guys that was busy injecting drugs. One which was a bit weary (I guess you could say that he looked something like “still ambulatory, but struggling”), but the other one looked like any young man out there, and I would never have guessed that he is a junkie if I had to “point out the drug addict from a randomly assembled group of young men”.
In some sense it almost felt like I was time travelling: The first two could have been the second two once, but then somewhere, sometime during the random events we call ‘life’, everything went wrong and they ended up as two weary addicts.
- From the first couple I learned that one of them used to be a musician, playing in a minor successful band, while the other had a “classical-junkie-background” – a juvenile delinquent, always in trouble with the law.
- From the second couple I learned that the normal looking young man (he had just finished the process of injecting heroin in his arm), had a daily job working as a liquor salesman in the Norwegian state-run liquor stores. The other one didn’t say much, but he was in a hurry to leave as he didn’t have the chance to “shoot-up” before I arrived.
The Junkie Career
This is normally the first step of the injection-career: after snorting and smoking the stuff for a period, they start injecting in their arms, moving on to the groin, ending up shooting the external jugular vein (which is placed in the neck).
While escorting them out, the heroin-addicted liquor salesman cracked a joke about how he keeps himself within the “intoxication-business”, both professionally and on his leisure time. I told the young couple about the older couple that I just encountered and that this would probably be their destiny too, if they choose to follow this path of destruction.
Santa’s Definitely Got A Brand New Bag for these two couples: a bag of heroin. Meanwhile, somewhere, four moms are probably busy preparing for christmas, wishing that Santa will bring them their sons back – alive and healthy.
Wikipedia: Femoral vein, Femoral canal, Drug injection, Circulatory system.
See also: http://nih.kramesonline.com/HealthSheets/3,S,88452