One thing that is hard for me to do is to pinpoint when I consider I became an “addict”. I started smoking weed when I was thirteen years old and smoked pretty much every single day until I was in college. I don’t consider that an addiction because I could go without it easily. I started doing psychedelic drugs my senior year of high school (mushrooms, LSD, DMT etc.), but I also don’t consider that an addiction because that is something that nobody can do every single day. I started snorting cocaine and molly (ecstasy) my second year of college, I’m not sure if I would consider this an addiction. I was friends with a group of kids that would do it a lot and I saw a money-making opportunity. I started selling a lot of molly. And like most other things in my life this turned out too good to be true. As soon as I started buying ounces and making serious cash, I got arrested for a DWI and I had four grams left of molly on me and also a little DMT and some Adderall pills. This is probably the reason I started doing heroin, which I DEFINITELY consider an addiction. My brother has been an opiate addict for a long time. I was and still am in school for electrical engineering, but when I was going through this case everything seemed like it was going downhill. I know that many people would not guess I am an addict at first sight since I’m and Indian in engineering school which made it that much easier. My brother finished a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering and masters in pharmaceutical engineering so why couldn’t I do it? I always hated what heroin had done to my brother and what he had become, but the way things were going I decided “fuck it”. That decision has changed my life in so many ways. Since my brother had already gone through his pill phase and was doing heroin at the time I skipped the whole pill phase. I only snorted dope twice before I decided that wasn’t what I was expecting from it and asked my brother to shoot me up. Before I knew it I was emptying my bank account, stealing, writing fake checks and forging signatures to get what I needed.
As a heroin addict I now know that it doesn’t really matter where I go or what city you throw me in, I’m going to find what I need. But at this time I had no idea how to get dope in another city or how to get it onto a plane. Thankfully my brother had experience in this area. My cousin was getting married in thesummer and my whole family was going. I am from Rochester, NY, so on the complete opposite side of the country. My brother said he had a doctor in San Francisco when he used to get prescribed Oxycontin, but we knew that wouldn’t last us even if we got it. We haven’t been to California in a long time so there was no way we were going to be sick at this wedding and in San Francisco. Luckily my brother recently got a loan from school about a week prior and there was about $1700 left of the $3000and me and him were flying separately from our parents. We bought about $150 of heroin and $100 of coke and thought that would last us the four day trip (HA!!). We diluted it all in an eye drop container and each did a shot the night before and the morning of our flight. My brother had done this before, but I hadn’t so I was scared out of my mind. Before I knew it we got through the TSA people and were boarding the flight to stop somewhere before SF (I forget which city). Oddly enough my high school economics teacher was sitting in the seat across the aisle from me. That didn’t stop me and my brother from taking turns going to the bathroom to shoot speedballs. By our next flight we were just shooting up in our seats with a blanket over us.
We met our uncle in California and by the next morning we were out of heroin and getting sick quickly. Google is a fantastic thing. We found out where to get dope, somewhere called the Tenderloin District. Even better news, our hotel wasn’t too far from the area at all. I also had no idea what to call heroin in this city, where I’m from it’s called “boy” and I didn’t want to confuse anyone. Our hotel was in a really nice area so it was hard to believe that in a few blocks I would literally see people smoking crack and shooting up in the street. I have never even seen anything like it in Rochester and I was going to bad areas every day. Me and my brother were starting to get sick so we told my uncle that we were going for a walk after thoroughly doing our research on where to go in this area. We just basically walked down California St and turned onto another street and kept walking until we decided it was a bad enough area to start asking around for heroin. The first time we tried I talked to some Asian kid that just made an obvious deal, either buying or selling. I made it clear that I want DOPE and he said “yea” and took us to some old Hispanic guy. We gave him the $40 and he gave us a bag, we walked away without looking at it. I got a glimpse and I told my brother it was crack, but he waited until we were out of the bad area to look at it. We had to try again, because there was no way we were shooting crack without having heroin by our side. The next time I just asked someone else and was successful in getting black tar. I had never had black tar, I was just used to the powder I get in NY. By the next day I had memorized exactly where to go and how to get dope.Our whole weekend basically consisted of going to the Tenderloin and back up to the nice area to attend the wedding functions. We were shooting up in the Fairmont hotel and a wedding that my aunt and uncle spent A LOT of money on.
It was clear that in the Tenderloin the people ran that area. Even if cops arrested people for drug possession or whatever that can’t even come close to stopping the drug use in this area. I even saw many abandoned cop cars that were spray painted on and broken up which was just a symbol of the fact that the people did what they want. The area was dirty and would be scary to most normal people. Most Indian kids had no business walking down these streets and would be scared shitless from these people. But me and my brother had our business here and knew that no drug dealer was going to deny our money. We must have seen at least three or four people smoking crack or shooting up every time we walked down there. I could see people hanging out with their group of friends or junkies, but I knew not to go to the junkies. Junkies will either rob you or get a cut of what you’re getting. Me and my brother have been those people before so we knew we had to find a dealer. One time we even conveniently saw a guy weighing out his tar on a scale outside. We had enough money to not be sick the entire weekend and even be high most of the time. But we had to juggle our drug-using time with our wedding-helping time.
Doing tar was so much more of a process. We had to melt it on a spoon which took forever, I’m used to not even heating the powder just throwing it in a cap and mixing with water. We had to melt so much that we basically had to use the full 10 units to get a good shot. The whole process took about ten to fifteen minutes to complete. The dope was so dark I could barely see my blood in the needle. Also the high didn’t come as quickly as the powder I get in NY, which is the reason we probably did too much and by the time I got back to the after party for the wedding I was really high. One of my second cousins (not related by blood and whom I’ve never known) even thought I was on coke (he’s done coke). And one of my cousins thought we kept leaving to smoke weed, but that was easy to dodge. I was able to even get a number and meet the guy a few times.
I still look back at that weekend and SF was definitely one of the craziest cities I have visited. I have never seen a city where there are really crazy places just a few blocks from the very nice places, its mind boggling. Drug addicts, pimps, hookers, you name it and I saw it. I’m used to being in a car when I go to pick up, but this time we were walking into the heart of the San Francisco ghetto. Heroin will make you do some wild things. I enjoyed the documentary BTH because I recognize some of those places even though I only went there a few times. I was there for a wedding, but there was a whole other side to our trip that our family didn’t know about. The drugs had made us incredible liars and master manipulators. But are those skills that will get us far in the future? Was I proud of the fact that I was able to get dope as soon as I wanted it? For a while I tried not to be, but I couldn’t help the feeling. I guess it’s just another way heroin reeled me in further, making me proud of something other people would consider repulsive. At the same time hating the fact that I would be sick without it and absolutely needed it when I was on the other side of the United States. Either way that’s a weekend I’ll never forget.
I’m glad I’m in a better condition now for the most part, I am on suboxone and it works wonders. Since I am in legal trouble and on probation, it’s an extremely dumb idea to continue to use. I’ve been an inch away from being thrown in jail by my PO, but I decided to get clean when my back was against the wall. I have never gone more than two days without taking anything so suboxone is the best choice at the moment. I don’t want to get cocky and think I can get off suboxone and end up using and in jail. I have a whole future ahead of me that include good jobs and a good degree if I can put these things in my past. My goals for the short term are to successfully and honestly complete rehab, and finish my degree. Ending the drug use is only the beginning, there is also ending the sick thinking and sick behaviors that go side and side with drug use. For now I’ve ended everything including the pot smoking and drinking. I do believe that pot has its benefits, but if it will lead me back to opiates then that is a risk I’m not willing to take.