Using in your forties

felix's picture

These last few weeks I seem to have been flooded with grisly reminders that it gets harder and harder to use as you get older.

I have always wondered at the lack of junkies in their fifties or sixties - when you've been waiting an hour or two for a dealer on a street, you often get to see the other users who are getting stuffed around in the same area. They are often not hard to spot, furtive looks, twitches and sidelong glances fill the air.

I know the obvious anti-drug response is "Well that's because they're all dead", but that's not it either. I know quite a few users who were in their forties when I started, twenty years ago. They're still alive now, but they're not using the way we were back in the early nineties.

I think three main factors contribute to this decline.

Firstly, what I have been seeing the last few weeks. Friend B was in hospital yesterday with a nasty abscess on her left wrist. Our bodies give out. Skin is the largest organ in the human body, and it loses elasticity as we age. Not far below the surface of the skin are your veins, and while there are some good publications available on vein care (rotate rotate rotate!), it's one of those health areas that are undermined by sickness and desperation, which can go hand in hand with the illegal status of certain opiates.

Secondly, energy. It takes a lot of energy to run around scoring every day. Currently, I get off work at 5, and often haven't scored until after seven. That's fourteen hours a week I dedicate to scoring, additional work, and I am left broke at the end of it. Not a sustainable life in a logical frame of mind, junkies may be able to handle it for 20-30 years, but often not much longer.

Finally, availability. The drought of gear that hit Australia in January 2001 led to a lot of people making that final decision to relocate, or stop chasing on a daily basis.

What other reasons can you think of for stopping long-term use?


sayarsan's picture

The thought of stopping never entered my head until at the age of about 35 after using as much as possible for about 15 years and although i had a ready supply of cheap junk it wasn't converting to assets as i expected. Worse still the routine in winter of trying to find veins that were getting smaller and smaller brought home with graphic clarity just how much i was damaging myself. At first my concern for good health prompted me to get fussy about fits. I kept a supply of new ones for me and if someone wanted one they got a used one. Circumstances and degree of friendship complicated things but that was the general rule and once i started being concerned for my veins i think i began to wonder about the rest of my organs. Thinking now i remember another long term user who had a similar problem using a butterfly to access veins in difficult places and years later was using a vein in his forehead after losing the tip of his finger to gangrene. A horror story? Not really he had a ticket booked and put off treatment until it was too late but only for a finger tip. Junk can make the most extreme decisions seem straightforward and he died a user but not from using. Despite acknowledging all the obvious reasons to stop like the waste of money and time, and the risk of diseases like HIV and Hep not to mention the lousy career prospects, finding veins would seem a common starting point for many when it comes to realising the impact our drug use is having on our bodies. I do know someone who still has drain pipes up and down his arms and has no trouble finding veins as he approaches death in his late 50's but the general rule seems to be otherwise. I started life with the same compliment of veins and the same build as my friend but early in my using career i shot up some stuff that ruined the big ones in my forearms and that set the stage for a rapid decline. Rotate your veins and better still stay very active, keep fit and be careful about your equipment and what you shoot up are the things to keep in mind if you wish to avoid having to keep chasing your veins to extinction. If you are allready doing that remember that you get the same uptake from intra muscular injection as from IV and with speed the uptake from the gut is an astounding 90% so you can sometimes get just as stoned and more quickly by using a different route of administration without wasting time and dope by popping veins and poking around hard to get at places. Sometimes i spent hours literally trying to find a vein coz i didn't want to wait 20 minutes or less to feel it. Junk can make the most stupid decision seem quite matter of fact.