Saturday, June 30, 2018

When You Only Have One Syringe

From 1990-1991, I had one syringe. One.

What do you do when you only have one syringe?

I started using opioids IV in 1990. The first thing ever put in my veins was some kind of vicodin or perc shit show my friend had cold water extracted. He had one syringe. That he had inherited after a cocaine binge involving three other people. This was now mine/ours/the community syringe. He bleached it, a process that frequently dries out the runner plunger. That instrument was suspect from the day it first went in my arm. I used that same syringe for the next YEAR, unable to obtain a new one.

There was my first time trying heroin, a three day binge on morphine sulphate (involving friends), a few coke binges, more heroin. Same syringe. We would sharpen in on a match book. We would use lube from a condom. There were times we would bleach it. There were times we just cleaned it with water. It was essentially a fish hook that left me bruised and damaged. Yet it was so valuable, years later when I went home to visit, I found that same syringe hidden inside my belongings. I was THAT SURE I might never get another one. It was precious. It probably passed along the Hep C to me but I loved you gal.

It's 2018 now. In Cincinnati Ohio, where I am from, there is a very small syringe exchange program that began in the last few years. The rest of the state has limited access. BUT ISN'T IT LEGAL IN MY STATE? It might be but that doesn't mean the pharmacist is required to sell them. Hep C rates are rising all over the country. There are clusters of new HIV cases. I've been contacted by people paying $5 for a new one or more.

There is more work to do.

In the meantime, I strongly suggest buying a prepaid credit card and ordering a box online then dividing among friends if nothing else is available.

I love you. XOXO Tracey

I'm teaming up with Remio to do an overdose prevention event July 13 at Art Primo in SF


  1. I am from Brown county Ohio as of a year ago before that I lived in Adams county all my life. There is no syringes programs in the rural counties or anything pharmacies that will sell syringes to anyone who is not a diabetic. There basically community syringes. My husband (who is a friend now and haven't been together in years) contracted Hep C several years ago. There is also recent rumors that he tested positive for HIV. There is no HIPPA laws in a town of 1,000. I have men that I was seeing block me for no reason from my home town. I did my best to get clean needles from a diabetic I knew guess it didn't help him in the end. I never used a dirty needle and I'm blessed to not have anything but I wished the tree e was more I could do to get the word out that it's so important in towns so small to get a needle exchange program though they wouldn't have much to exchange. I new this woman who lived with a bunch of relatives that had a needle in her bathroom her cousin lived there recently got home from prison and through a cop I no has HIV. Everyone in the house was using that one syringe. It's essential to get some program in the area or there will be a pandemic it there isn't already.

    1. My grandparents lived in Adams county. I’m familiar w the area