Saturday, March 16, 2013


A reader asked a question the other day about the type of housing that is available here for addicts such as the rooms featured in Black Tar Heroin. The main type of housing is single room occupancy hotels or SROs .

I am not sure of the going rate but one hotel I stayed in was $35 a rate plus a $5 fee to have anyone visit your room. The hotel was over run by rats and roaches. Cockroaches are curious and if you leave meth out, they come in droves to get a whiff.
I had an albino rat in my room. We used to keep the balloons of heroin in our mouth. If the police stopped us, we would swall the drugs. Then we would have to throw them back up in the sink. I was always in debt to Flacco. I would use up more than my share of heroin so I would need to account for every single bag. We took the sink apart to find a missing balloon and mr rat appeared.
Man people would use the bathroom in the sink because the bathrooms were so dangerous hence the term "piss in the sink" hotels. People would pay $5 to come in and stay in the bathrooms. I would take over the shower room with syringes scattered on the floor as I tried to use steam to make a vein appear.
"Check out time" banging on the door at 11 am. The hotels hated to rent to single women as residents but in the worst hotels they would bring tricks to your room if you were late on the rent. No thanks. Some hotel managers were also loan sharks, others bought stolen property.
There were a few that tried to keep their hotels safe and clean. I never could afford those places. The city of San Francisco has taken over many of these hotels because they were unfit for human habitation. The few hotels that are left can be $75 a night and much more dangerous.


  1. Thanks for posting this, because I was wondering. I recall in BTH, Alice's and Jessica's room looked really messy, with things all over the floor, and Jake's was totally neat, I think there were even books lined up on a desk, and the bed was made.

    1. Actually Jessica had an apartment. That was an apartment in the film on Ofarrell street. I had been there a few times. It was a shooting gallery - place to use drugs- and the "ho stroll" was right at the corner. The corner there is where younger looking hookers stood. There was a youth center up the street and men were hoping to catch vulnerable s