Wednesday, September 21, 2005

18th Nervous Breakdown

To say that I had a bad day yesterday is an understatement. Bad in the sense that I was not too proud of my behaviour. I ended up being pretty darn rude to someone who is really no more than an acquaintance but still there is no excuse for my behaviour. We had money yesterday for dope but no connection so things were getting a little panicky by the time I needed to go to work. Called my last resort and she said that she had a couple of pills on her but that she needed a ride to get some errands done. Now Jim isn't crazy about being left with her and I don''t blame him but sometimes you know, you got to do what you got to do.

So we pick her up and we buy two pills off of her. She said that she would give us a couple more for driving around plus some money for gas. She had one more on her so I asked if I could grab that now cause I had to go to work but she came up with some lame excuse but said that she would drop something off to me in a bit. Now it is almost six and I have called a number of times and they are still not back at work so I am getting a little annoyed as well as anxious to say the least. When I was talking to Jim once he said that they had already done another hit so for some reason I pretty much freaked out cause I felt left out and forgotten at work. I literally started spinning on him and said that I wanted him to come get me right now. He hung up on me about three times but he did come to work to get me.

When they pulled up in the truck I basically said for her to get out, that I didn't want to see her anymore. She started screaming at me that she wanted the pill back that she gave Jim and I said go ahead. This whole scene was also basically right in front of my work too. I threw the pill back at her and it wasn't even a whole pill, barely half. She said that she was going to punch me and I am like go ahead which is absolutely ridiculous coming from me as I have never been in a fight in my life nor could I really ever imagine being in one. I screamed at her that she still owed me $20 so she threw this half pill back saying that this was payment. Not bloody likely. Funny thing is that we have all of her stuff in the back of our truck cause she just got evicted from her apartment and she was calling at 7am this morning looking for it. Like good luck her getting it anytime soon from me. Again though I was pretty mortified with my behaviour.

In the meantime while we were screaming, Jim decides he wants no part of this scene so he takes off. I had already put my work bag and purse in the car so now I am stranded downtown without anything. I skulk back into work to use the phone and ask him to turn around and come back. At first he is like walk but then he comes back saying that I better be waiting out in front when he gets there. I was waiting out in front but on the other side of the street cause I was still feeling kind of embarrassed and all so when he gets there he doesn't see me right away so he starts freaking out at me. The rest of the ride home is in silence. I go into the living room to watch a movie and he goes into the bedroom to do the same.

As the half pill really didn't do much for me, I resign myself to an awful night and next day as I don''t get paid until 5pm today. I lay down on the couch and decide I should try to sleep. Just before eleven, Jim comes out of the bedroom to say that *** is on the phone and he wanted to know why he hadn't heard from us today. I said that I didn't get paid until Friday but he said that was cool to come see him. Yes, my night is saved. I expected him to toss me two pills to get through the night but he gives me eight! Bless his little heart. My savior. So just when I thought my day was an absolute right off, it is saved in overtime!

I saved one until today so I am not feeling too too bad now that I am at work. Jim is going to come downtown to meet me at five so that he can cash my cheque and pick up as I am at work until 8pm today and he has the day off cause he is going to Mexico tomorrow - more on this later - and he is supposed to be home packing. OK now I must at least pretend to work.

UPDATE: I just got called into my manager''s office concerning my mini-meltdown at work last night. He was really cool about it. I guess the shift supervisor put in his summary something like I was upset and nothing else. I explained that it was a family emergency and that was good with him. He said that if that ever happens again to simply email him about the situation and he would be fine with it. Sweet. I am lucky enough here at work with what I sometimes get away with that is for sure.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Reach For The Sky

I have been with my present employer almost two years now and of all of the places that I have worked in my life, I have to admit that this is one of the nicer places that I have worked at. They have pretty decent health benefits for us and they are nothing but accommodating and flexible regarding my schedule. The pay is slightly higher than the average for the type of work that I do and it is certainly enough of an income to survive on and then some. I know that I am over qualified for what I actually do but it is a trade-off. There have been months when my attendance has been kind of dicey and when many others may have lost patience and fired my ass, this company gives another chance with no questions asked. This fact alone has made me a pretty loyal employee and I suspect that I will be there as long as they will have me.

I have also been given two promotions since starting there and both of them were initiated by management. I was told each time that I was being reassigned and given new responsibilities and a pay raise with each move. This is something else that has obviously pleased me as it is nice to be recognized and rewarded by management. This week an internal posting was advertised in a position that I would be better suited in plus it is also a position that I have lots of work experience already. Of course, I applied for it. Me and thirteen other people! Ouch! I don’t think that the company even has forty employees right now. So…Competition is going to be kind of tough. I had my first interview today out of I believe two and I think that it went extremely well. Of the other applicants, there are no other females which may bode well for me. In fact, there are only a handful of females in this company at all as it is part of the tech industry, an area which seems to attract mostly males. The two interviewers today were female, something my husband thinks will be to my advantage.

I really hope so cause I very much want this job. I would have my very own office and would work more regular hours plus it is a substantial increase in pay - about $450 per pay before deductions - which is a significant enough amount that it would be noticed. Fingers crossed that my second interview goes as well. I guess that they want to have the position filled by Monday or Tuesday next week at the latest so at least I won’t have to stress too long about it.

Monday, August 08, 2005


Am about to jump in the shower - my first in over a week, ever since my “incident”. Haven’t felt like looking after myself. My own self-imposed sentence? Don’t know. Don’t care. Don’t really feel like analysing. Not going to change anything anyway. Really kind of hating myself right now I guess. Feel dirty so what’s the point of showering. Not going to be able to rid myself of how I feel. Wish I would or could. Just fooling myself. Don’t know if this is the bottom. If not then pretty darn close. Only one direction to go from here I suppose. Ball is now in my court. Better not fumble it. Too much at stake right now. Wish I could just spit this awful taste right out of my mouth. Be done with with it. Nothing is ever that easy. If only.

Time to shake off these cobwebs and pay the piper or something like that. Take a deep breath. You are your own worse enemy and if that cross gets too heavy to bare. Well don’t waste any time, looking at someone else to take the blame. Time to suck it up and accept your dues - will make everything go faster in the end. Your problem. Your ownership. Your responsibility. Only you wil be able to fix it so stop wasting any more any more of that precious time. Just deal.

And in the immortal words of Scarlett O’Hara “Tomorrow is another day.”

Sunday, August 07, 2005

She Blinded Me With Science

It was a truly, spectacularly uneventful weekend. The only reason that I am up now is that I slept through the majority of Sunday. Spent the afternoon lounging in bed watching crappy science fiction - just downloaded the seventh season of Stargate SG-1. We are watching that series this year cause two regulars from Farscape, one of the best television series ever, are now in it. As we have never been regular viewers, we now have eight seasons of episodes to kind of catch up on. Pretty basic fodder though so it certainly is posing no real challenge. Am enjoying the second season of Battlestar Gallactica I have to admit. That show sure surprised me. If you are looking for something different to watch, you should give this one a shot. Toss out any prejudices that you might have remaining if you are old enough to remember the absolutely rotten original series. Oranges and apples, cats and dogs, no two shows could be so different.

Also a friend of ours called around 11pm to see if we could give him a lift to pick up an aquarium from another friend. The only reason that we bothered was the promise of payment. Kuching! He said that he had a couple of dilaudids that we could grab for doing this favour. As we are still nickle and diming our money, this came at the perfect time so for about 20 minutes of our time we are now sitting here quite calm and soothed after a kind of restless evening. Also got an extra for the late morning or just before I have to go into work. This too was fortunate as I had no idea what I was going to do for tomorrow. Can’t get any more credit from one of my dealers - the one that charges $20 a pill to boot. Turns out though that the guy I prefer to go to is back again holding and I am good for credit with him plus he is half her price. Kuching again!

We also learned tonight that the guy that stole all of Richey’s tools from our truck was found murdered on Thursday afternoon. I had read about our city’s ninth murder of the year the other day in the newspaper but they had not released the victim’s name at this point. Apparently he tried to rip some young fellow off in a drug deal gone bad. Colour me shocked. Not that I would wish this on anyone, he obviously had something like this coming to him. He was always trying to rip someone off in one way or another so it was really just a matter of time before he pushed the wrong person too far.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Methadone Pretty

This week is one that I wish I could escape. Knowing in advance that I don’t have enough money to feed this monkey on my back is beyond depressing. The earliest I can see us getting any money is Thursday, maybe Wednesday night if very lucky. I did my last hit a few minutes ago and am fully expecting not to be able to do another until Thursday morning which seems an eternity away right now. This will also be the longest I have gone without in over a year. I also am not in a position to call in sick so I will also have to drag my sorry ass into work each day. The horrors.My nerves are already shot just with this anticipation. Self fulfilling prophecy perhaps. Emotionally this can take its toll. Anything warm and fuzzy about my usage disappears instantly when I find myself in similar situations. Oh the love-hate, ying-yang that is heroin addiction. I am already depressed because of what happened on Friday so this is not what I need right now. But what to do? I wish someone could send me something but that too is not about to happen either. Boo hoo…Going to have a shower now while I still feel like it because I know in the morning I will be feeling far too sorry for myself that I will end up not taking one.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Johnny 99

On Friday I ended up losing what was a fairly important post to me - for a number of reasons. This on top of what turned out to be a stupendously awful day was the proverbial straw. I stayed away from my computer all weekend. I was angry and feeling spiteful. Hated that stupid inanimate object. I am now back at work and am now typing this post in notepad and will save it periodically so if I do end up losing some of it, it will hopefully be not much of a loss. God bless cut and paste.

What prompted me to get my own journal is quite beyond me but I am so glad that I did. Then for someone who has kept uncountable secrets over the last twenty years to suddenly write about them so publicly is again another mystery but one which I have found refreshingly liberating. In many ways I still feel that this journal is part of my private personna anyway but it is actually reaching the point where I don’t think that it would bother me to be “found out”. I mean I am certainly not going to go to any extremes to be “caught” but I don’t think that I would be as shattered as I used to think I would be if someone were to discover my “dirty little secret”. More than anything I think that I am tired of bowing to society’s whims.. Why is this such a “dirty little secret” anyway? I think that society as a whole would be quite surprised to discover that there are junkies out there that by no means are even close to the perceived stereotype. This place more than anything has convinced me of this. So many educated, well spoken, erudite individuals that for whatever reason are caught up in this lifestyle. I feel part of a charmed, if not somewhat battered and bruised, group of people.

Now all of the above being said and cutting right to the chase, I found my private personna staring my public personna right in the eyes on Friday evening. For a brief moment they became one and now, because of circumstance, will probably find it difficult existing seperate from one another ever again. I got arrested for possession of a controlled substance and had the pleasure of spending two and a half hours sitting in a jail cell. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that this could ever occur to me. Why? I am not really sure. Arrogance, I suppose but no other real rational reason. As the officer said to me “Just think of the number of times that you were never caught’” No truer words have ever been spoken. Me believing that my public personna overshadowed my private never considered the possibility of an arrest. How wrong was I?

I feel somewhat humbled and shamed by all of this to be honest but what better place than here to try to come to terms with everything that happened a few days ago. It was a normal Friday evening or so I thought. I had a quick errand to run around 10pm so I dashed out of the house and jumped in the truck. Richey had to strip the carpet out of one of our rental units because one of our elderly tenants had had a heart attack early this week. After he had finished stripping all of the carpet he threw it into the back of the bed of the truck. There was barely enough to even reach up to the sides of the bed of the truck but on Friday evening when I was pulled over that is the reason the officer used for stopping me. Hmmm? I figured that I was in trouble the moment I was stopped because my license is currently under suspension but I had no idea what turn this event was about to take. First of all, there was absolutely no question as to the safety of my load nor was there a remote suggestion of me speeding, driving improperly or anything actually. I think that I got pulled over because I loan my truck to one of my dealers and she has been pulled over a few times in it and this cop just happened to recognize my truck so…No doubt in my mind this young fellow was itching for a promotion too. I could practically taste it.

So anyway, he says why he is stopping me, asks for my ownership and insurance and returns to his vehicle. A few minutes later he asks me to step out of the truck and to empty all of my pockets. OK…kind of confused at this point but I will play along. Nothing in my pockets so he starts sifting through stuff on my front seat. I ask him if he is allowed to do this and he says that he is if I am arrested. I ask him if I was arrested cause he never mentioned anything to me. He then asks me what I know about guns in this city and I reply absolutely nothing. This is the truth. He asks if I do drugs and I responded that I had done drugs before. He asked if I had anything on me right now and I said no cause I didn’t think that I did but as further searching of my truck would discover there was a glasses case with a syringe and a baggie with what looked like speed in the glove box. Not mine but that does not matter apparently. Now he had me with possession. I wanted to scream that this wasn’t really me, that my public personna would never get arrested…no, not the PTA Mom character…I couldn’t do it cause I did deserve to get nailed. I do use drugs and have used continually for the last 20 years and by shear luck have managed to escape the longarm of the law so to speak.

Anyway this cop continued to search but didn’t find anything else but what he found was enough to earn me a visit downtown. Now he was awfully nice and said that I wouldn’t have to stay the night, just the length of time that it took to process my paperwork. OK, fine I suppose. On our drive to the station, he pulls over into a parking lot and turns to me and says that there could be a way that these charges could just disappear if I kniew what he meant. I said that I did but as I was in enough trouble tonight, I didn’t feel like getting anyone else in any additional trouble. He kept asking me about my dealer that borrows my truck like how much product would she normally keep in the house, etc. He asked me about a few other people whose names I recognized but really couldn’t be of any help and why? Because I worked so hard at separating my private and public personna!!!

Anyway after what seemed liked an eternity I was released. I think in total the whole experience took about three hours. I was pretty shattered after all was said and done and I now have an appointment with the judge at the end of September plus I am not to be in possession of any drugs or paraphernalia. Surprisingly enough I didn’t get charged with driving under suspension which is such a big relief actually but I am no longer tempting my fate and have not driven all weekend and in fact until I go and get my license back and not going to drive. You have no idea how tough this is actually - almost worse than kicking dope I think. Obviously I can no longer be so carefree with the contents of my purse. The nice officers were effective in scaring me believe you me. I think that the whole thing still seems really kind of fishy but maybe that is just paranoia. I don’t know.

OK so here I be. Feeling very embarrassed and somewhat ashamed but also confident that I am among (new) friends who will not judge but who will be there with an encouraging word or thought. Thanks to all who took the time to read this.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Station to Station

Well I sure as heck felt that last one. Had my boyfriend do me this time as any of the hits that I had done on myself today seemed really lameass. Well that solves that mystery or something…I’ve done enough shit today that I should by really flying but this will certainly suffice. No question about the dope’s quality as we have only been doing dilaudid - ok mixed here and there with a wee bit of speed - since Thursday. One thing that you gotta luv and respect about pharmaceuticals is their consistency. Nobody can go mess with my Lady Di nowhere, no how…OK nodding now…

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Needle Park

I should really know better especially after the long post I just left in ’s journal about not being able to find a vein to hit in…..but no I have to go and do speed today and yesterday and go and completely mess up my arms. Well, not completely but enough to be inconvenienced and irritated by my actions. It has to be the bloody cut cause I can not associate anything else with the troubles I have shooting sometimes. It is almost always right after I have done a hit of speed that I start to have problems. At least I was more careful than I had been since my previous negligence caused me substantial pain and suffering. Last time that I wasn’t careful or aware I ended up with my right forearm painfully tender and swollen yet almost rock hard at the same time. I had to give it a good two weeks rest before I would even pretend to venture near it. The rest was worth it in that it is now completely healed but I am still having issues successfully shooting where I used to go with absolutely no problems. Oh well I still have other “favourite” spots though they are not the same. For whatever reason, I used to always feel the dope a little more intensely when I went there now I feel as if I am being ripped off. Boo hoo.

On a brighter non drug related note, I made a blind for the spare bedroom’s window to go with the current curtains that are in that room. I got a major deal on some beautiful raw silk in this dark mossy green colour. The blind looks awesome underneath the floor length sheers that I had on the window already. They are white sheers with pale green leaves. A few weeks ago I made a bed skirt from the most amazing taffeta material. It is striped with three different darker shades of green. I love the way taffeta shines and especially love the crinkly noise that this material makes. It is my absolute fave material and I would decorate my whole apartment in it if I could - no wait I have already done that!!!

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Feeling Kind of Creative

Going to take a break from my computer tonight as I feel like sewing. I want to make some tank tops/camisoles that I can wear to work under sweaters or suit jackets or to wear out for an evening with jeans. I am making them kind of dressy casual. It has been so hot recently and I don’t really have enough suitable tops for this kind of weather. I found some fabric that will be perfect. The only problem is it is such a pain to work with cause it is so slippery. It is a beautiful crinkly blue that will hang really nicely. Reminds me of the kind of fabric that the ladies wore in those old 1930’s and 40’s films, like Jean Harlow. Problem is that this fabric tends to have a mind of its own. Keeps wanting to run away on me. Oh well. It will make for an interesting evening to say the least!!!

The Return of the Thin White Duke...

I am taking a bit of a break from my sewing which is going well. My back is starting to ache so I needed a change of position. Got one camisole all finished and it looks sweet. Wish my digital camera was working cause then I could show it off but no.........Anyway, just did a nice hit of dilaudid and am starting to feel no pain. Still have a bit of speed left from earlier tonight but I think that I might hold onto it until tomorrow cause I don't really feel as if I need it right now. We grabbed 10 #8s tonight cause it was a payday so Jim and I have been having a really sweet night. Watched Revenge of the Sith for the zillionth time while I was sewing. So far my favourite movie of the year although Batman Begins is a close second. Love Ewan so am downloading A Life Less Ordinary and Shallow Grave cause I haven't seen either one of them in a long time and for some reason don't have them. Lost my copy of Velvet Goldmine and my boyfriend will not get me another one cause he likes to bug me. Makes fun of that movie and Party Monster all the time. He can bite me - well maybe later. OK want to go on the nod for a little bit so I am out of here. My kitty wants someone to snuggle with also.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Can You Say Doormat???

Well most of my mood is my own fault but still…My head is just aching and I am really hot and sweaty right now plus I didn’t plan well enough that we have nothing for tonight. We just split an oxy 80 but until the morning, that’s all she wrote folks. Grrr. Plus I had to walk almost all of the way home after work - well, not to my home. I had to walk to my dealer’s house cause she was using my car while I was at work. So I am waiting after work for her to come pick me up and after about 25 minutes I am starting to get really pissed as this is bull. If you have someone’s vehicle, the least that you could do was to show up on time!!! I kept ringing her house and her cell but no answer so I call the cell phone of the person that she was with today when I got dropped off to work and he informs me that she is dead asleep and that he was going to go over to wake her up. Beautiful. I told him to tell her that I had started walking and to look out for me if she managed to get in the car. Of course, I see her when I am two blocks away from her house. I even was pretty restrained. I didn’t yell or even bitch. Just got in the truck. When we get to her place there are two people heading towards her house and she says to the other person to let them know that she has nothing. After they are gone I ask her if she has a half or any pills and she is like, no, I just told them I didn’t. I take a shot this time and said that I thought that she just might have put something aside for the people whose vehicle she was using. I mean, she had the car since midnight on Tuesday and we got nothing for its “rental”. I got a half earlier today and gave her $20 for it and now I have no intention of giving her the other $30.

She has been borrowing it on a regular basis for the last six months cause it is just sitting there doing nothing while I am at work so she might as well use it but lately she has become extremely presumptious with its availability and the way she treats us and it. She rarely brings it back to us at the requested time and we hardly get anything for its use. She used to at least give us a quarter or two pills each time she used it but now I have to say something each time and her weird rule is that if you ask for something then you have to pay for it. If she offers it to you that’s another story. I could really care less if she even gave us anything for it half the time either but what I really would like is to be able to run a bill until pay day. The most it ever is when we can do this is about $145 plus it is not as if she really has to track us down but she is even making a deal of this. Every time I see her when I do have an outstanding amount she asks when I plan on paying it. It’s damn right insulting. I don’t need to be reminded each and every time who has the “power”. Believe you me, I know.

So after tonight’s performance, I have decided that I am never going to loan the car again to her. It is so not worth it. If I screw up my budget and am short money then I will just have to suck it up and go a day without dope cause in the long run, that will be a whole lot easier…

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Some Particulars

I guess a little bit about myself - my current self. I have been with the same partner for just over 15 years. We have seen each other thru the good, the bad and the ugly. I truly love and adore him and trust him with my entire being. We are what I would consider reasonably successful. He owns his own business and I do troubleshooting for a software company that distributes dvd burning software. I have seven years post secondary education - an HBA in History from the University of Western Ontario and my Business Diploma - Marketing from Fanshawe College. I would like to go back to school to study some courses in Web Design also. Between the both of us, our combined take home pay each month is around $3700. We have also gotten our expenses pretty much in order as neither one of us has any credit cards or any sort of bank loan any more. Our vehicle, a 1998 Ford 150 extended cab pick up truck, is also owned outright so other than our rent and phone each month, our only bill is our truck’s insurance. When we sold our house(s) I made sure that whatever we rent includes all utilities. We currently live in what I would consider a semi-luxury high rise. Our rent is $910 a month but that includes our utilities and underground parking, a godsend in the winter. I would say that the average price of a decent two bedroom apartment in this city would be about $725 a month and I definitely consider what we have considerably more luxurious than the average. We have almost 1400 square feet plus two full bathrooms that are quite a decent size. We have an eat-in kitchen with a dishwasher, ample storage both off of the entrance and in our bedroom and balconies off of both of bedroom and our living room.

If you click right here you can actually see the floor plan for our unit - not bad at all. We live in a grouping of six identical high rises but they are situated on beautifully landscaped grounds with lots of trees and rolling hills. There is also an outdoor swimming pool which is well maintained and a sauna and whirlpool inside. Anyway, we are pretty happy with our situation right now. I had a reason for providing all of this info when I started but after a few distractions, I can no longer remember what point I had intended to make and why it was important that you understood the financial details of my life. Well, as I now have to start getting ready for work I will post this as is and hopefully by the time I get to work, I will have remembered my original train of thought!

Sunday, July 03, 2005

I Bought Furniture Finally

When we moved into our new apartment in March, I made a concious decision to leave almost all of our living and dining room furniture behind because we had been carting it around for over a decade and were long overdue for something new so...The only things that we brought with us were couch, coffee table, small side table, two floor to ceiling bookcases and our floor model tv. I was incredibly ruthless and left everything else behind. My vow was for us to get brand new furniture this year and it still is very much a priority. I found the store that I want to purchase the furniture, EQ3 - you must check it out as it is awesome. My stumbling block has been my absolute inability to commit to a specific style or colour or even a particular piece. Well, I was really bored at work yesterday so I surfed on over to their site and noticed that they were having a huge sale, huge.

I decided to stop by the store today to check out the sale and oh my goodness...I left having ordered three pieces of furniture to be ready and delivered in about ten days. I am over the moon mostly because I finally took that first step and I imagine the next one will be that much easier. I decided only to purchase items that were on sale. Luckily there were three pieces that were in the collection that I was pretty sure I wanted so I grabbed all of them. My total price including tax would have been $920 for all three. The sale price however is $195.50! Can you believe that? That is a total savings of $720. I know, incredible. Here is a sneak peak at one of the items...

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I am getting the chair and ottoman in red cause that is the only colour they have but the bookcase and cabinet will be in a high gloss laminate silver - tres cool, n'est pas?

Saturday, July 02, 2005

It’s Not a Habit…

I started methadone August of 1999. By then I was a solid year and a half into a pretty heavy opiate addiction. It had started with dilaudid but as soon as we were able we had moved on to heroin. We live in a funny city. While it is reasonably large with close to half a million, it is near impossible to find heroin here. Except for a time in the 1970's - so I have been told - it is one drug that does not seem welcome. Very white collar town so there is lots of pot and cocaine. Crack has had some effect as has speed but not like those other two. Because this is also very much a university and college town, there is also lots of ecstasy and its ilk. By the time I had even given a dilaudid a try, I was about two years deep into a large coke and speed habit. Funny can't even remember what that was like but I know that we were using every day and had been for a long time. Then along came a little yellow pill and it was as if nothing else existed. It was wondrous and it didn't take long to develop a tolerance for it. Thank heavens we knew someone that could get us heroin. He was out of town three out of the seven days and he happened to be working in a place that was literally drowning in it so every Thursday night right after getting off his bus, he would drop by our place with our weekly package. Sunday night we would wave him goodbye as his bus left town, our money in his pocket. This went on for over a year.

It started to get quite expensive as all habits tend to but this one also felt different. Where before, I may have been a bit of a bitch if I couldn't get blow or speed, I could get by at least but not this time. When I was without I hurt, I felt sick, I was in severe pain. I couldn't or wouldn't want to go to work and I had always prided myself on never letting any of my vices interfere with work and to be honest, life in general. Suddenly I had become single minded, nothing else mattered but not feeling sick anymore. I had to have a hit no matter what. Came close to bankrupting us. Sad but at least we had a house to sell to get us out of debt. And selling this one, our favourite, meant that we still had two others left although they were nowhere near as nice and they were in a much rougher part of town but that didn't seem to concern us so much anymore. We moved. We had to. We had someone else very important in our life now that very much needed to be accommodated. I had never lied before but suddenly I found myself doing just that. When my family doctor confronted me I couldn't admit it at first. I was every which way of denial until I couldn't take it anymore. This drug eventually wears you down, strips you of every vestige of dignity and self respect. I fessed up and when he started talking about getting us into a methadone program, I pretty much said yes just to humour him plus he said that as soon as we were on the list, he would be able to help us out and get us from having to buy our dope on the street at ridiculous prices.

I had never actually intended to follow thru with the methadone. The moment we were accepted our doctor wrote us each a prescription for 30 dilaudid a week. It was as if we had hit the jackpot. Between us we had 60 pills that would normally have cost us almost $20 each - quite a savings. He said that he could keep us supplied until we reached a high enough methadone dose that could sustain us on its own. I figured that we would ride this out as long as we could. Looked like it would be at least eight weeks that we could get our prescription and I figured that was long enough for us to get our finances back in order. We would in theory save a lot by not having to buy opiods for a two month period. As it was we were spending about $700/week and that was barely keeping us from getting sick so I knew that we were living on borrowed time if we continued spending at that rate. We were long overdue for a financial break.

But a funny thing happened while we going to methadone. It started working. I stopped grieving for any of the others. I went a day without a hit, then two and then a week. A week turned into a month and then two and three and we were still going. Suddenly two years had passed and I no longer did anything except for my methadone. I didn't even drink anymore. I forgot about heroin and dilaudid and morphine - oxys had yet to make their appearance but that was only a matter of time. The methadone made me so very tired though even if it did seem to work a small miracle. I would start to nod off at the worst possible time something I rarely did while addicted to the others. I needed to stay awake. So before we knew it we were back doing speed but this time we vowed that we would keep our spending under control and we did for a long time. Speed wasn't the same anyway now that we were on meth. Yes, you could kind of feel it but you never felt as if you were way out there. Oh well, it was still better than nothing. And we were spending about half of what we used to spend on the other.

Suddenly twenty seven months had passed. We were starting to get tired of the daily grind of having to grab our methadone. Yes, for the most part normalcy had returned to our lives. We fell into our own little routine. Gone were the hours upon hours dedicated to finding that one hit that would take away the pain. I could go back to work full time, we both could. Methadone gave our life structure once again. My credit card debts were now paid off. We had sold the other two houses and purchased a three story apartment building. Our self confidence and esteem had returned. We didn't want or need methadone any more. It was time to say goodbye. I had two weeks vacation at Christmas 2001 but a week before my vacation started I got a terrible flu. I was down to about 20mg of methadone a day. I felt so sick that I just didn't feel like grabbing my methadone one day and the next and the day after that. I just stopped going and when my flu ended, any withdrawal that I may have been going thru had also ended. It was hard to tell one from the other so I kept telling myself that there was no withdrawal just crappy flu symptoms.

Fast forward three and a half years. I am once again severely dependent on that little yellow pill. Well now it is the little white pill. No more #4s for us, we now need #8s. We are back spending ridiculous amounts of money and are consumed by abject fear whenever we find that we have run out or that none of our dealers is holding. It is no longer pleasant. But what of the intervening three years you ask? Well that is obviously a story for another day...TO BE CONTINUED

Friday, July 01, 2005

Waiting for the Man

I just don't get it - it is now 3:19pm and I was dropped off to work an hour and a half ago. My boyfriend was to pick up another friend, they were to go over to collect some oxys around the corner from my work and then drop them off to me. Realistically, it should have taken no more than 40 minutes maximum and I am being way generous with my time. I made the trip last night and had to first go across town to get Jamie, then halfway across to get the pills, take him home and then take myself home. The entire trip took me one hour and 15 minutes and I had twice the amount of driving easy. I don't know, maybe she is not there today which would suck big cause I am starting to get mucho sick. My eyes have started to run, etc. And of course, I know the dip shit won't answer his cell phone cause he is way late for work already and is avoiding his boss. Guess that there is not much to do but wait....Sucks to be me right now I tell you. Two bloody days in a row now.

Happy Canada Day!!!

I can not believe that it is already morning. Happy Canada Day I guess...I still work my normal shift so I had more or less blocked out the fact that it was a holiday which may actually leave me in a bit of a precarious position dope wise today for work - I'll think about that later. On the positive side, I do get paid two and a half times my normal pay for working today so that is kind a sweet - half a week's pay for one day's work basically - not bad even if the government will end up taking most of this "extra" money. Whatever.

Today has to be better than yesterday cause if it is not, I am sure that I will end up losing it. My day pretty much went south the moment I got up. First off, my girlfriend and I were to go downtown to get our OHIP cards as both of us never did get a card with our photo's on it. Both of us had the original white with red stripe card from years and years back. We were going to bus it and had planned on being on the 11:45am bus as this would end up giving us loads of time before I had to go to work - I work at 2pm. Jim hadn't left for work yet so he said that he would drive us and even though I was a little skeptical about him getting us where we wanted to go on time, I said yes, sure, that would be nice as it certainly would save us from having to walk in yesterday's God awful humidity...Suddenly Sara is running out to me in the living room stating that it was 1:15pm, dadadadada and yadayadayada. So I hustle Jim together because I had just remembered that I had to go to the bank as tomorrow the banks were all closed for Canada Day and I still needed to deposit rent which is automatically withdrawn from our account on the first of every month. I also receive postdated monthly cheques in the amount of $275 - that is another story for another day.

Every month I end up going semi ballistic searching everywhere for these stupid post dated cheques so a friend said that I could give them to my bank to hold onto and that on the first of each month, my bank would deposit them in my account. Seemed like a brilliant solution to my current disorganization so after cashing last month's cheque, I handed the teller the remaining six post dates. Actually just before I handed my babies over I confirmed actually what was about to occur. The teller stated that they would keep my cheques at the branch and that I could expect it deposited by 10am on the first of every month. A couple of things before I continue. This was not my home branch but she said that this was no longer as important as it used to be and that you could actually go to any TD Canada Trust for any sort of maintenance of your account i.e. address change, new bank card, Visa application, you think of something, it could be done...Cool. Except for a handful of branches in this city, TD Canada Trust is open Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm and then on Saturday from 9am to 3pm. The remaining branches do not open on Saturdays and are only open during the week from 9am to 6pm. Of course, I give my post dates to one of these oddball branches and of course I want that $275 as soon as I can and as Friday is a holiday and this branch wasn't even open on Saturdays, I would end up having to wait until Monday for my money. While I was depositing the rent, I explained about these post dates and asked the teller - a different one than last month although she was also there but serving another customer - if she could just grab July's cheque for me as I would just take it to one of the other TD's that were open on Saturday.

She looks at me kind of blankly and mutters something about me putting a stop payment on it so I attempted to clarify by stating that it was not a post dated cheque that I had written but one that had been written to me and that this branch was looking after this cheque and five others for me. She then stated that they do not keep post dates on site but that they are all sent down to some central processing center or some such nonense. I tried to ask why I was told otherwise but I never actually did get an acceptable answer. I said that I would never have given up my cheques had I known that they would be leaving the branch. I asked them as they were not open Saturday and I assumed neither was the processing centre - I was right - that I would like them to retrieve the cheque and I would pick it up later in the day. They asked me how they would do that and I answered that I assumed that they used some sort of intercity courier between branches and could they not do that. Apparently not. The processing centre is located in town so it was not as if I was demanding that they courier a cheque down from Toronto or something like that.

OK I have so forgotten my train of thought cause I had to walk away from this entry for like four hours. I know that all that rambling was about to lead up to something but now for the life of me, I have no idea exactly what that something is. Oh well, as they say it must have been important. Well, as I kind of remember the mood or theme that I was going for, I certainly can share another feel sorry for me anecdote. For some reason, I got a killer headache at work. I kind of over did it the day before and I think that I ended up taking the same if not more before I got to work yesterday. I know that I felt so incredibly tired and it was a real struggle to keep my eyes open. I rarely have a yearning for it, but yesterday I wanted speed so badly that at 3:30pm I called my boyfriend to go grab me some to help me get thru the rest of my day. I am still waiting at 6pm and by this time, I was starting to do a slow boil. When I called home, he was still there. He said that he had fallen out and I have to admit that I may have over-reacted just a tad. I basically demanded that he get his ass right down here and do me that long overdue favour so he did. I gave him some money and realistically he should have been back to me within the half hour. I am even allowing for chit chat time cause she only lives about six minutes away from my work.

I ended up taking $260 out of the bank. I reasoned that if they could not deposit my cheque until after the holiday then my rent should not come out either so I took $260 from the rent money that I had deposited earlier which will then be replaced with my cheque on Monday. Seemed absolutely flawless to me. So I go back to my desk to wait. Now I have a timer of sorts on my computer here at work and I happened to notice that the counter was fast approaching an hour which meant that Jim had been gone almost an hour and no sight of him so I got up off my ass to call him. He does not answer his cell so I call TS's house. When she answers I ask if he was there and of course he was. Talked to him for a bit to ask him what he was doing and he said that he hadn't been looked after yet. Excuse me? So I said give the phone back to her and I then asked her if there was any reason that she had not got to him yet. She said yes, cause she didn't have anything. OK, so why the heck wouldn't you let him know that at the outset rather than make him wait an eternity. Believe it or not, by this time I was done work so I just told him to come and get me.

There actually are a couple more what went wrong stories that I could recount but I am no longer in the mood. Time to move on from yesterday cause today is not shaping up much better!!!!OK need to at least pretend to do some work.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Heroin Girl

Oh my goodness...I am at work but I am just lit. I scored earlier today and my boyfriend and I split six dilaudid #8s before I went to work. Whoa. It's warm outside on top of everything else so I am pretty toasty right about now. I just inhaled a large Tim Horton's iced cappuccino and I am still thirsty - and now a wee bit queasy. Ha, serves me right for being so greedy. Might as well go big or stay home, right? I'll probably regret it later when I start nodding off at my desk but this is not something that I do very often. OK, I have actually never done anything quite as crazy as this so...Should be great fun when I start to crash. Hopefully the one and a half pills that I have put aside should get me thru the rest of my day.. Only five hours and fifty four minutes to go!!!

Well, I might as well pretend to do some work now that I am in the office. I can barely type let alone focus on my computer monitor. I'll be shocked if this post isn't littered with typos.

I am feeling kind of silly and want to break out in laughter for no good reason - better than nodding off which is something that I am fighting with right now also.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Generation Rx

Generation Rx: Adrift in a sea of psychotropic pharmacology, it's easy for a kid to drown.

By Glenna Whitley of the Dallas Observer

You couldn't miss him: a teenager dressed always in black, with Elvis sideburns and a hard-charging way of bounding up the stairs, as if life were moving too slowly for him. In the same class as my oldest son at the Science and Engineering Magnet at Townview, occasionally at our house for all-night LAN parties, Luke Stone was likable, smart and had an appetite for adventure, the guy willing to try anything once. He was a natural leader, a person who drew people from all walks of life into his orbit with his energy and enthusiasm.

He also had a sweet side. He'd grown up going to church and carried a picture of Jesus in his wallet. He was drawn to beautiful, troubled girlfriends who needed rescuing. Luke Stone was your basic good kid.

But on May 14 a year ago, when Luke was a 20-year-old student at the University of Texas at Dallas, his daring nature killed him. The coroner's verdict: accidental drug overdose.

This isn't another "drugs are bad for you" story. It is a trip into another world, one far different from that of Luke's parents--even though they'd grown up in the '60s and '70s and had their own encounters with illegal drugs. David and Sondra Stone viewed their experimentation, particularly with marijuana, as a normal part of growing up. They didn't want their kids to become addicts, of course, but as long as they stayed away from "hard drugs" like cocaine and heroin, they figured the kids would come out all right, just like they had.

Luke Stone's parents know that isn't true anymore. They didn't realize the landscape of substance abuse has radically changed.

Today, kids Luke's age swim in a sea of psychotropic pharmacology--pills, potions and powders legally prescribed for everything from depression to attention deficit disorder. When they want to get high, they're more likely to turn to benzodiazepines, a class of drugs like Valium that treat anxiety and panic attacks. Instead of shooting heroin, they score synthetic opiates such as Vicodin, Percocet, Dilaudid or Tylenol with codeine. To get a buzz or pull an all-nighter for an exam, they pop pills like Ritalin and Adderall, amphetamines that treat ADD.

It makes sense. You don't have to find a drug dealer to get Xanax. You just have to rummage in Mom's medicine chest. You don't need to sneak around to score Adderall. A pediatrician prescribed it because you were driving your teachers crazy. Why not trade a few Adderall to your roommate, under the care of a psychiatrist for panic disorder, for some of his Xanax?

If you get caught--well, parents who discover a kid snitching a Lortab react differently from those who find a crack pipe or syringe.

The explosion in pharmaceuticals has been magnified by the Internet. Not only are there more psychotropic drugs to choose from, it's easier than ever to learn what to take, how much to take and what effects to anticipate. Luke scoured sites like"documenting the complex relationship between humans and psychoactives"--for information and "trip reports" on everything from peyote to Percocet. From there, teens are one click away from an illegal online pharmacy, a cyber medicine cabinet offering quick, discreet delivery.

A 2004 study at Columbia University found that only 6 percent of 157 Web sites selling medications actually required a prescription. And last month the DEA arrested 20 people, from Tyler, Texas, to Bombay, India, as part of "Operation Cyber Chase," targeting an illegal international ring that used more than 200 Web sites to distribute prescription narcotics, amphetamines and steroids.

Web sites to replace them will pop up overnight like psilocybin mushrooms sprouting in a cow patty.

Fascinated by illicit pharmaceuticals, Luke created a "drug log" of those he'd tried and their effects. He wasn't alone. Most of his friends at UTD used pills--in addition to the college mainstays of pot and alcohol--and turned to Luke for information. He knew what medications could be taken together and what to stay away from. "Luke was so smart," one friend says.

Intelligence, experimentation and a young man's belief in his own immortality seduced Luke into believing he knew what he was doing and could control the outcome.

But dead people don't post trip reports on the Internet.

At age 13, Luke Stone spent 17 days in Australia and New Zealand, one of the kids chosen for a "student ambassador" program. "He came home a different kid, a world traveler, you know," says his mother, Sondra Stone Fishman, who works out of her Oak Cliff home doing computer billing for doctors. Talking about Luke, Sondra flashes between pride and sudden grief, in a place she calls "beyond tears."

The older of her two sons, Luke had never been ordinary: whip-smart, reading before he went to kindergarten, playing chess at 7. They finally put Luke in a Montessori school to challenge him more. An athlete built like a brick outhouse, stocky and strong, Luke was the kid who had to be the pitcher in baseball or the goalie in roller hockey. He thrived on being in the pressure point, the one who made the difference in the game.

"Luke had tremendous drive," says his father, David Stone. "Wherever he was going, he was going there like a steam engine. I was proud of him."

But David says his oldest son was always a challenge to raise.

Luke would debate anyone about anything. "His mind was so quick," David says. "Luke believed he could outthink you. That's what got him into trouble. He wasn't as smart as he thought he was."

David and Sondra married in 1983. After Luke was born a year later, Sondra became a stay-at-home mom and loved it. Sondra--not Luke--cried the first day she dropped him off at preschool.

The couple divorced in the mid-'90s after years of discord. One conflict, David says, was disciplining their strong-willed son. David, a military veteran, thought Luke needed tough love. A self-described former hippie, Sondra believed in a softer approach.

Luke's computer and math skills got him accepted at the Science and Engineering Magnet at Townview, recently named by Newsweek the sixth-best school in the nation for its percentage of students passing Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate tests. Luke wanted to study computer science and get an internship with Texas Instruments. If Luke was a bit of a nerd, though, he was also recognized as an outspoken leader.

Girls loved him. He was self-assured, cool, the guy who would instigate trouble at the back of the room then sit back and enjoy the fallout. By ninth grade, Luke had adopted a man-in-black persona. He got a couple of piercings and spent evenings flailing away on his drum set as rap or alt-metal music by Static-X and Rob Zombie blasted from his room.

He also went to a Disciples of Christ church with his mother and younger brother every week, and it was at church camp the summer after his freshman year that he first got caught with pot. Luke claimed the marijuana found in his backpack belonged to another kid. Though their minister and the camp director vouched for his story, Luke and the other boy were charged with possession. Luke and his mother had to attend counseling sessions once a week for a while.

Sondra and David had grown up in the '60s and were no strangers to drug use. They sometimes marveled that they were lucky to have made it through their teenage years more or less unscathed. Though she was upset, Sondra's attitude toward Luke's transgression was more laissez-faire than David's, "because I did it and enjoyed it thoroughly." Luke seemed to be maintaining his grades, so if he was getting high, he was handling it well. She was more worried about him smoking cigarettes.

David, who says he abused alcohol as a young adult, took a zero tolerance attitude. "Luke knew I had smoked pot," David says. "We'd sit down to talk about it. To me, pot can lead you on to other drugs. I never got through to him." Luke's argument: Marijuana is natural, no big deal, you-did-it-so-what's-the-problem. David looked for opportunities to challenge his son about his drug use, but only once or twice did he suspect Luke was high.

"I needed hard evidence before I confronted Luke," David says. "He only responded to hard evidence." Luke always had a one-word retort: hypocrite.

Even so, David saw Luke as a casual user. Like most parents, he didn't have a clue. Besides, Luke seemed to be on track to get into a good college, especially after passing a handful of AP tests and scoring a 1380 on his SAT.

His friends tell another story. By the end of high school, Luke was smoking pot regularly and occasionally doing mushrooms or sipping over-the-counter cough syrup containing dextromethorphan (DXM), like Robitussin. Luke loved altering his reality, not because he felt unhappy--though he was angry at his father about the divorce--but because life was amazing. He admired the edgy, dangerous life of his idols: rappers and rock stars, alive and dead. "Luke glamorized that whole lifestyle," says "Dennis," one high school friend. (All the names of students have been changed.)

"He wanted to try everything," says "Corey," another high school friend who smoked pot in high school to deal with academic pressure. "He did it first--and more."

Sometime after graduation in May 2002, Luke first snorted heroin, courtesy of "Tina," a girl he met through a friend at church.

Described as a "very hot chick" by Luke's buddies, Tina lived in North Richland Hills and was a year older than Luke. During high school, when neither could drive, they talked for hours online. After Tina got her license, she'd pick Luke up on Friday and he'd spend the weekends with her family. Sondra didn't know that Tina was a heroin addict who dropped out of high school.

"I thought she was real sweet," says Sondra, who remarried in 2002, about the time her son started dating Tina. "I thought she was a stable influence for Luke. I never suspected she had a drug problem. What I didn't like was that she wasn't doing anything. She didn't work or go to school. She lived with her parents."

Every now and then Tina dropped out of sight; Sondra would later learn her son's girlfriend had been in rehab during those times. She now believes that Luke learned a lot about drugs from Tina.

Luke didn't tell most of his buddies about trying heroin. They looked down on people who used heroin, cocaine and methamphetamines. Stuff that junkies use, that can get you addicted. Though one close friend believed Luke turned to drugs because of depression, most of the others thought he just enjoyed getting high.

"I don't think he was addicted," says "Rosemary," who dated a friend of Luke's. "I think he was bored and cocky."

Among his circle of friends at UTD, Luke became known as the expert on illegal and legal drugs, which was saying something. All of them had bookmarked, the Web site known for its broad and deep "vaults" of information on recreational drug use. Operated out of California by two people known only as "Earth" and "Fire," Erowid taps into the collective knowledge, experience and enthusiasm of users all over the world.

Plano police Detective Courtney Perot, who investigates overdoses--both fatal and nonfatal--consults Erowid regularly. "You have people using the drug talking about the effects right there," Perot says. "Some of the information obtained on these Web sites is beneficial--talking about the dangers of using various drugs. But there are so many different sites out there that advocate and encourage usage."

You can search Erowid for information on plants, herbs, psychoactives, pharmaceuticals, chemicals and new "smart drugs" that supposedly sharpen your brain. Consider this enthusiastic report from an OxyContin user: "The me the most euphoric high I've ever felt. I have had a lot of experience with other substances and none compare to OC. I never take more than one 40 mg pill crushed and taken orally. The effects usually hit around 45 minutes...The euphoric high will last until I pass out. Smoking weed while on OC intensifies the opiate 'buzz' for me. I won't take OC without weed."

Many of the experience reports, however, are warnings. And the range of substances seems endless. Take this from a guy who crushed up morning glory seeds (yes, flower seeds), mixed them with water and drank the potion: "From my experience I CANNOT recommend their use, it was probably the single most unpleasant experience of my life. Ten hours of intense panic, (imagined) suffocation, seemingly endless, painful hurling accompanied by crazy delusions that you are going to die and that your organs went through a blender are not my idea of a good time."

Other popular sites for illicit use include, which caters to the rave/Ecstasy crowd,,,,,,,, and (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies). These Web sites weren't meant to be a source of trivia. Teen users and abusers do their research here, in the privacy of their bedrooms.

In a study released in April, the Partnership for a Drug-Free America reported that, for the first time in 17 years, teenagers were more likely to have abused prescription and over-the-counter medications than illicit drugs like cocaine, Ecstasy, methamphetamines, heroin and LSD. About one in five teens has abused a prescription painkiller to get stoned. Eighteen percent reported nonmedical use of Vicodin, 10 percent admitted they'd used OxyContin and 10 percent Ritalin or Adderall.

"The current favorite is Xanax," says Gayle Jensen-Savoie, director of Seay Behavioral Health Center, an adolescent psychiatric and chemical dependency unit in Plano. "It has a numbing effect. If you are overstimulated in so many areas, with Xanax you can handle it all. In the last three months, for the first time we had to detox several kids of Xanax, which we never had to do before. They were probably taking 16 a day. That's a huge amount. That's deadly, and then they drink."

In 2004 there were 10 fatalities from mixed-drug overdoses recorded in Collin County, surpassing those from cocaine or heroin.

One fascinating source of information is posted by the Drug Enforcement Agency: the Microgram Bulletin, which for 36 years was secretly published for forensic chemists and narcotics officers ( The monthly newsletter issues intelligence briefs and alerts describing seizures of street drugs, as well as methods of manufacture and smuggling.

The DEA decided in 2003 to make the Microgram Bulletin public after recognizing the explosion of information and misinformation about illegal drugs on the Internet. The DEA now advertises on Google. Plug in Percocet or Valium, and a sponsored link to the DEA pops up: "Read Our Consumer Alert Before You Buy Drugs Online. Learn The Law!"

Luke scoured the Internet to study medications and their effects and interactions. "If you wanted to know something, you asked Luke," says "Roman," a business major. "He was always known as the experimenter among us."

Luke's first introduction to pills apparently occurred between high school graduation and the start of his freshman year in college, when he got a job at UPS. It was hard physical labor with attendant muscle aches; Luke hated the work but liked being around the blue-collar guys who he thought were tough, real, ghetto. UPS cohorts introduced Luke to Percocet, a combination of acetaminophen and oxycodone, an opiate-based painkiller.

Oxycodone has been around since the '20s, but its use exploded after 1996, when Purdue Pharma began producing the controlled-release pill OxyContin, which is highly addictive. (In 2003 talk-show host Rush Limbaugh went public with his addiction to OxyContin after his name surfaced in a narcotics investigation.)

Percocet quickly became Luke's drug of choice. Though Luke was still dating Tina, he quit using heroin--cold turkey. He was proud of his willpower. And the pills allowed him to rationalize, minimize and justify his use of narcotics. Percocet isn't as bad as heroin. I'm not addicted like Tina. I need something to handle the pressure.

Like Luke, who was majoring in electrical engineering, his friends at UTD were very smart, pursuing degrees in physics, math, engineering and computer science. All of them popped Adderall, an amphetamine, to stay awake through marathon study sessions. Despite its image as a study drug, no more potent than No-Doz, Adderall is a psycho-stimulant, says Jenson-Savoie of the Seay Center. "It increases heart rate, increases blood pressure. If you are snorting it, it goes right into your blood. You could blow your heart out."

"Jason" says "you don't do Adderall for fun. It just helps you concentrate and stay up two days, drinking energy drinks." But after the tests were over, Luke had to take something to bring him down enough to sleep. For many of the students, that was the major appeal of the drugs that offered sleep such as Soma and Ambien.

Corey, a physics major, was prescribed Adderall in high school for ADD but rarely took it then. "I hated the way it made me feel," Corey says. "It deadens the creative side of you but sharpens the analytical side. I need it to do things like physics, but I hate having to do it. For AP [test] week, I took it and stayed up for three or four days straight. Then I wouldn't take it at all."

During his freshman year at a college out of state, Corey quit taking Adderall, but he filled his prescriptions and sold or traded them to other students. A three-month supply netted 100 pills that he could sell for $3 each. Adderall was more highly prized than Ritalin. "Adderall lasts six or seven hours," Corey says. "It gives you a little high, which can be dangerous if you like it. Ritalin lasts two or three hours and doesn't give you a high."

When Corey moved back to Dallas and enrolled at UTD, the pills went for only $2 each. "The market's so saturated," Corey says. He sold it to his buddies for $1 apiece.

Luke was getting a variety of pills from several UTD students and a Dallas drug dealer whom everybody called "Porn": Percocet, Valium, OxyContin, Xanax, Lortab, Soma. He preferred opiates and benzodiazepines (sedatives, muscle relaxants and anti-anxiety medications), but Luke would try almost anything once.

"If you wanted it," Corey says, "Luke could get it." Luke wasn't trying to make a lot of money, just support his own use. "He wouldn't give us anything he hadn't tried himself."

Pills had several advantages over cocaine, heroin, meth and other drugs: easy to take, easy to hide and relatively cheap. Xanax and Valium could be purchased for $2 to $3, with the higher-dosage pills going for a few dollars more. You could buy an evening of Percocet euphoria for $5, though some pills could cost more, depending on supply and demand.

At first, Corey was afraid of the pills Luke was using, which often had been cut with filler and repackaged by his dealer into generic capsules. "Then I tried Percocet," he says. "I really liked it. You take it and there's no grogginess. I could forget about the anxiety, the depression. That little thing in the back of your head goes away."

By the middle of their freshman year, many of Luke's friends, even high school holdouts, were smoking pot, eating 'shrooms, drinking alcohol and doing pills. Luke only rarely drank. The same bottle of Chivas Regal sat in his refrigerator for months. Luke knew the dangers of mixing pills and booze.

"We all researched drugs," Corey says, "but Luke was especially vigilant about it. There's a whole underground, really, of Internet drug users who give their opinions. You learn to trust each other, because they are usually right."

After injuring his hand at UPS, Luke was out of a job. His mother gave him $100 a week for spending money so he wouldn't have to work; his father was paying his tuition and rent. Though he bought Luke groceries, David resisted giving his son money, trying some tough love to get him to buckle down.

"He wasn't going to class," David says. After getting his grades, David tried to take Luke's car away from him. When Luke refused to give him the keys, David grabbed his son from the front seat and tried to pull him out. Luke backed down. David made Luke sign a contract that he would take at least 13 hours and pass 10, or Dad was ending the room and board.

The ugly confrontation distressed Sondra. "It got his attention," David says. "But Sondra thought I didn't love Luke."

Luke used his father's supposed stinginess as an excuse when he bumped up his sales of pills and weed, mostly schwag, low-grade pot purchased through a guy at UPS. Then Luke converted to selling hydro; one ounce of the high-grade pot could sell for $350 to $400. It meant higher profit and lower risk. (Possession of less than two ounces is considered for personal use, not distribution.) But pills were the most profitable.

Luke and all his buddies heard they could buy pills on the Internet, but none of them did it. "Anthony" once ordered pot on the Internet from Canada; it worked, but he didn't repeat it. He didn't want a drug charge on his record.

A business major, Anthony finally tried Percocet out of boredom. "It didn't seem to be hurting Luke," Anthony says. "He said it made you feel great. He was so knowledgeable. He'd rattle off bad combinations and chemical structures. He was a walking pharmacist. That was part of the appeal to him. The other appeal--you're not supposed to do it."

But Anthony didn't want to get in too deep. "People aren't meant to feel that good all the time."

Luke at first struck "Christopher," an art and film major who transferred to UTD in September 2003, like a character in a comic book: larger than life, with a goatee, spike earrings, sideburns and an "I'm-a-tough-drug-dealer-don't-mess-with-me" pose.

"Then I realized he was a pretty smart guy," Christopher says. Luke could talk about anything, tailoring his conversation to whomever he was with: art, music, traveling, math, film and computers.

Luke turned Christopher on to Percocet. "I took my first one and painted for the better part of a day," he says. "It was like being stoned but not lazy." A day and a half later, Christopher took another one, but his body's reaction turned sour. "The entire world felt like different shades of gray, like a dull ache in my head."

He kept using it anyway. "It was almost like a ritual," he says. "You smoke pot, you do Adderall to study, then do pills, then alcohol on top of it." Nobody worried about overdosing, Christopher says. "Anyone in command of their faculties can keep from overdosing."

After partying his way through freshman year, Luke had focused on his studies with the help of Jason, a highly motivated student who tutored him in calculus and several other courses. "He was very intelligent," Jason says. "His only delusions were chemical."

By the end of 2003, Luke started making good grades and liked the feeling. Before winter break, he broke up with Tina for good. She'd been in and out of rehab, in and out of jail. "She used to love me," he told one friend. "Now she loves heroin." (Again in jail for possession of narcotics, Tina was unavailable for comment.)

Luke and a friend from high school spent a week over winter break in Amsterdam, stoner Shangri-la for its shops where pot and mushrooms are legally sold. Luke thought it would be fabulous to travel to a place where he could openly indulge in his favorite pastime. His mother knew that was one reason he was going, but thinking it was a once-in-a-lifetime travel experience, she gave him money anyway. She didn't want Luke smoking pot in the United States because it was illegal, but in Amsterdam, that wasn't an issue.

At the time, neither Sondra nor David saw any sign that Luke had a serious drug problem. When he told his mother about Tina's addiction, Sondra asked point-blank if he was using hard drugs. He denied it.

From Amsterdam Luke brought back photos of rainy streets, bars, old buildings and some of their purchases--leggy 'shrooms and marijuana buds with names like Super Silver Haze, Poison, AK-47 and Buddha's Sister--to show the guys back home. He wasn't scoring any pills, though: too risky, he thought.

A vacation video shot by a friend shows Luke firing up fat blunts, smoking and laughing, smoking and laughing. He seems to be having a great time, except for a hacking cough and one vomiting episode. Too much booze, or withdrawal symptoms? In Dallas, Luke was taking two to four Percocets a day. When he couldn't get the drug or something similar, Luke experienced bouts of vomiting, stomach pains, cold sweats and migraines.

When he returned to Dallas, there were other signs that his pill habit was getting out of control. "He'd start gradually and take one Xanax," Rosemary says. "Now one doesn't feel as good, so he'd take two." Rosemary noticed that Luke was popping different drugs at the same time to see how they interacted with each other. He once passed out with a cigarette in his mouth and burned himself and a couch.

Still, none of his friends confronted him. Their attitude was: He's Luke. He knows what he's doing. "I don't think any of us felt it was our place to say something," Jason says. "Luke was going to do what he was going to do."

And most of his friends were doing it, too.

When Luke asked his father for funds to go to Mexico over spring break, David refused. "The only reason to go to Mexico," David told him, "is sex and drugs." Luke responded with "Well, why did you let me go to Amsterdam?" David had no answer.

"It hit me like 'wham,'" David says, hitting his forehead with a smack. "I knew we had a big problem."

Christopher remembers thinking sometime after spring break in 2004 that Luke, Jason and "Shelley" were taking so many pills, it was like they were in a "race to see who would screw up first."

Shelley had been Luke's close friend for four months before they started a romantic relationship in April. Drug use brought them together at first. On Friday nights, everybody would hang out, pop Percocet and play video games like City of Heroes. Shelley liked Luke because he was so straightforward and happy-go-lucky. But like some of the drugs they'd tried, Shelley and Luke were a volatile combination.

From a small town near Austin, Shelley had struggled with depression most of her life. When she was 9, her mother shot herself to death, leaving Shelley to discover the body.

Though very anti-drug in high school, Shelley had since struggled with addiction. During her first semester at UTD, she and her roommate smoked pot one night. "That's what started it," Shelley says. "I have an addictive personality."

That led to a brief fling with cocaine abuse. In 2002 Shelley, her roommate and their boyfriends were arrested and charged with possession. The terms of her probation--monthly drug tests, staying away from other users--kept Shelley sober for almost a year.

But when she started hanging out with Luke in January 2004, Shelley was again using multiple drugs--some illegal, some prescribed for her by a psychiatrist. Diagnosed as bipolar at the beginning of her sophomore year, Shelley was taking Xanax for panic attacks; Lamactil, a mood stabilizer; Ambien and other sleep aids for insomnia and night terrors; and a high dosage of Seroquel, an anti-psychotic. Sometimes she took them as directed; other times she would crush a pill and snort it for a more immediate reaction. If she had a month before her next drug test, Shelley might smoke pot.

"I used to have hallucinations," Shelley says. "I kept darting my eyes around because I was seeing things. There were times when I had to throw away my car keys or I'd fly away."

When she got to know Luke, he was regularly using Valium, Percocet, Adderall, Xanax and, of course, smoking pot.

"I saw him take at least nine Adderall a day," Shelley says, "some in the morning, then a couple of Valium, then more Adderall." Luke used some of Shelley's medications, too. And when no Percocet was available, he sipped liquid codeine, the active ingredient in prescription cough syrup, sometimes called "sizzurp" and popular in hip-hop culture. One night before they hooked up, Shelley saw Luke crashed on his couch during a party, wiped out by Valium and sizzurp. The next day he didn't answer his phone. Shelley finally drove to his apartment and pounded on the door until he answered.

"He was so white, so pale," Shelley says. "He looked terrible. I think that was the first time he might have accidentally OD'd."

Shelley later urged Luke to go to the university counseling center. He brushed her off. "I don't think it was a physical addiction that drove him," Shelley says. "It was psychological. Stopping would bring him down, so that he'd think there was something wrong with his head. He thought he might have a disorder like mine."

Both knew they needed to quit. Adderall suppresses the appetite, so they weren't eating, and their sleep schedule had turned upside down. If they could just get through the end of the semester, then they could make some changes.

In early May, Luke took Shelley to a doctor's office for a routine appointment. After grabbing a bunch of cards from a Rolodex-type dispenser that described various medications, he cut and pasted the cards into a flip-type notebook, creating a log of seven drugs he had taken and more he wanted to try, complete with each medication's purpose, dosages, dangers and how they affected him.

At their Mother's Day lunch on May 9, Luke gave Sondra a lovely vase filled with yellow roses and a sweet card. Happy and full of enthusiasm, Luke talked about changing his major to law. With Jason's tutoring, Luke was making better grades.

Sondra saw no sign of drug use. But finals started the next day, and Luke was popping Adderall like M&Ms.

David Stone got the phone call from a Dallas police detective at about 2 p.m. on May 14. "You've lost your son," said the officer, calling from the Collin County Medical Examiner's Office. "It's a drug overdose." David had no idea what he was talking about.

"It's not Luke," David insisted. "How do you know it's my son?" The officer had found a drivers license in a Richardson apartment. The photo of Sean Lukas Stone, age 20, matched the body found there.

Still in disbelief, David called Sondra, who was in her car, and asked her to pull over. When he told her, Sondra's reaction was the same: "It can't be Luke."

David picked up her and their younger son, and they drove to the medical examiner's office in McKinney. Seeing Luke's body on a gurney through the morgue window, Sondra screamed. She refused to believe Luke had accidentally overdosed. Someone must have done it to him.

Over the next few weeks, his parents heard more details from Luke's friends and pieced together what had happened in their son's final days.

On May 12, Corey, Jason, Roman, Anthony and Luke had lunch together at The Abbey, their favorite pub. "We were talking about graduating and what we wanted to do," Corey says. "Luke was serious about [Shelley], as happy as I'd seen him in months. A real happy, not an opiate happy."

Luke pulled an all-nighter, studying with Jason for his calculus and history exams. In addition to Adderall, Luke was using Xanax and Valium. His on-campus connection hadn't been able to get Percocet for weeks.

"You could tell he'd been studying and was strung out a little," Jason says. "At that point, you see shadow people." Recently Luke had been acting paranoid, saying that three undercover cops lived in his complex.

The next day, Luke aced his calculus final. He made two trips to Wal-Mart, the second with Shelley. His mother had given him about $180 on Sunday. They bought some cleaning supplies, a small table and some DVDs. Late that afternoon Luke dropped Shelley at his apartment and apparently made a run to see Porn.

While Luke was gone, Shelley cleaned the apartment--it was the end of the semester, and Luke's lease was almost up--then took a Seroquel, her prescribed medication for bipolar disorder, and zonked out.

She was still asleep on the couch early that evening when Christopher and several other guys dropped in. Luke had returned with lots of weed and three fat gel caps of morphine, a drug he didn't much like because it gives a "dirty" high, making him feel rotten after it wears off. But morphine was the best his dealer could offer. He later told Shelley it took his last $30. No matter; he'd recoup it quickly by selling the pot.

Wearing a black tank top and deep into the game City of Heroes, Luke looked gaunt and hollow-eyed. "He had been on Xanax the entire week," Christopher says. "He had gone from swallowing it to dissolving it in water or snorting it. It hits your bloodstream all at once." Christopher bought some weed but declined Luke's offer to share the morphine.

At 10 p.m., Shelley woke from her nap. Luke emptied one gel cap of the morphine and separated it into two lines. He snorted one, and Shelley snorted the other. It hit Shelley hard, and she stumbled to bed.

Shelley roused around 9 a.m. on May 14 and found Luke half on, half off the bed. She pushed him back onto it and draped his arm around her. It fell limp. Alarmed, Shelley pressed her ear on his chest. His heart was beating, faint and slow but not irregular. She went back to sleep.

Later that morning--she doesn't remember the time, but it was probably close to noon--Shelley got out of bed and started to tidy up. They were going to UPS that day to look for work. A few minutes later, when she tried to rouse Luke, he didn't respond. Shelley pulled the covers off the bed, joking around. She saw with a shock that the top of his body was deathly pale and the bottom half looked bruised. Shelley flashed back to discovering her mother's body; her blood had settled on the side where she'd fallen, making her appear bruised. Shrieking, Shelley ran through the apartment and found the three gel caps on the counter, empty.

Hysterical, Shelley called Jason's cell phone. When he didn't answer, she dialed his roommate Christopher and screamed at him to wake Jason. "He's not breathing!" she sobbed to Jason. "Get over here now. Luke's dead!"

Jason raced to the apartment. One look was all it took. Weeping, incoherent, Shelley insisted they had to get all the pot and paraphernalia out of the apartment. She didn't want his parents or the police to know Luke was dealing drugs.

"Luke's dead," Jason told her. "He's not going to jail." He realized, however, that Shelley's probation could be revoked for being around illegal drugs. Jason gathered up the dope, bongs and scales--inadvertently leaving behind a tube containing mushroom spores from an unsuccessful attempt to grow 'shrooms--and carted the stuff out.

Shelley called 911 about 12:30 p.m. Two Dallas police detectives arrived in minutes with the paramedics.

The news of Luke's death flashed through cell phones, leaving his friends shocked and bewildered. With their limited knowledge of pharmaceuticals, they debated the cause. Did the Adderall, an amphetamine that can cause heart irregularities, interact with the morphine, which can suppress respiration? Finally aware how little they really knew, the tragedy snapped them out of their own pill habits.

For a while.

As they awaited the autopsy results, Luke's parents lived in a kind of suspended disbelief that lasted seven weeks. "I couldn't fathom that it was a drug overdose," Sondra says. "Luke was so smart." She was convinced there had been foul play.

Sondra agonized that Luke might have survived if Shelley had immediately called 911. Shelley's grief and drug use had resulted in different stories. There's no doubt, however, that when Shelley woke up the second time, Luke was beyond rescue.

The autopsy results surprised everybody.

Dr. William Rohr, the Collin County medical examiner, ruled that Luke died of mixed-drug intoxication--the combined effects of morphine, amphetamine and at least three benzodiazepines. While the morphine alone wasn't a lethal dose, the chemical cocktail in Luke's body shut down his respiration.

Rhor noted that Luke had an undiagnosed disorder called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, which affects hormone production. The disease was “significant,” he said, but he couldn’t quantify how much it had to do with his death. According to Dr. James Griffin, an endocrinologist at UT Southwestern Medical School, it probably played little role. But it illustrates how people who seem healthy and robust, oblivious to underlying health problems, can be playing Russian roulette with their lives by taking powerful medications.

Luke’s blood also showed traces of diazepam (Valium), temazepam (a sleep aid) and oxazepam (anti-anxiety). Had he taken the benzos that day? The night before? Perhaps Luke had gotten to the point where he couldn't remember what he took when, and even his carefully organized drug log couldn't save him.

Six of Luke's longtime friends served as pallbearers at the funeral. After Tina told Sondra the name of one of Luke's suppliers, she was shocked to find the dealer's signature in the funeral home guest book.

Luke's drug-using friends were there, too, and some of their lives have changed. In the last 12 months, Shelley has moved to a university out of state. Using journal entries from their month together, Shelley wrote a short one-woman play about falling in love with Luke and then finding him dead and performed it for her theater class. She no longer takes any psychotropic medications. "When I stopped abusing my prescription drugs," Shelley says, "I was able to stop using them [altogether]."

Most of Luke's friends say they've stopped using illicit medications. "None of us ever thought the pills were that dangerous," Christopher says. "I didn't want to be part of it anymore."

Corey says he's stopped smoking pot but still does Percocet. "I think we're all more cautious," he says.

Jason was scared, but also angry. "It seemed like such a waste," he says. "It scared me, and it still does. I have a lot of friends who are doing what he was doing. They moderated it at first. But Luke understood. Moderation isn't possible."

Anthony feels like he grew up a lot in the last year. "It was like I left 'La La Land'--drugs are fun, they won't hurt us, we're so young--and realized death was real," he says. "I think about Luke every day."

Monday, June 27, 2005

Teenage Hipster in the Modern World

For some reason, I decided to try my mainline - by that I mean the vein where your arm bends. I haven't gone there in years - maybe five or six cause way back when I was having so much trouble that I kind of gave up on it. I guess that it has had long enough to recover cause got it first time I tried. After that I was feeling kind of arrogant so I thought that I would give the dilaudid a shot and lucky me got that on my first go as well so I am now back to work feeling exactly like I want to and the stress has completely disapeared. The next two and a half hours should now go by sweetly. Amazing how ten seconds can pretty much change your day - pretty pathetic too when you really think about it so I am not going to...

Got a great book last week by Marc Jacobson called Teenage Hipster in the Modern World. It is a collection of the best of his writing over the last thirty some odd years. He has written for Rolling Stone, Village Voice, Esquire and many others. The description on the cover is "from the birth of punk to the land of Bush: thirty years of apocalyptic journalism". Sweet...