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‘Junkie’: William Burroughs talks about his heroin habit, 1977
07:44 pm


William Burroughs

Uncle Bill ‘fesses up about his heroin habit.

This interview from 1977 begins with William Burroughs replying to a question as to whether he had any regrets in using heroin?

A writer can profit from things that maybe just unpleasant or boring to someone else, because he uses those subsequently for material in writing. And I would say that the experience I had, that’s described in Junkie, later led to my subsequent books like Naked Lunch. So I don’t regret it. Incidentally, the damage to health is minimal—no matter what the American Narcotics Department may say.

Burroughs may have been clean at the time, but he returned to using Methadone in later life, which makes parts of this interview rather poignant.

For a fascinating article on Burroughs and the history of heroin, check out the Reality Studio.


Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Facebook, Twitter and MySpace: Gateways to Heroin
12:42 pm



A perplexing 2010 anti-drug campaign from the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence.

I’m not entirely sure what you’re supposed to take away from this? First off, who still uses MySpace??? And secondly, she looks perfectly fine and healthy hooked on heroin! I don’t see a problem.

Here are some choice reddit comments about the poster:

StewieBanana: I have a Heroin account. It’s stupidly addictive and no where near as enjoyable as it used to be.

ToInfinity_MinusOne: It went downhill after my parents joined.

lllillll: Their sharing feature is really insecure and I’ve heard a lot of users end up with a virus.

Deathwave88: I went on Twitter, now I inject 5 marijuanas a day.

JammieDodgers: Jesus, this is some fucked up sensationalism. Sure heroin is bad but it’s not as bad as MySpace.

ChickenNoodle519: Yeah, it’s unthinkable that someone would go from Twitter immediately to MySpace.

Via reddit

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Documentary on heroin addiction hosted by The Velvet Underground’s John Cale

Photo: Bob Oliver

BBC news program Week In, Week Out covers the the heroin problem in Wales. Your host: John Cale.

The director of the documentary, Nick Skinner, talks about making the film with Cale:

The world I explored with John Cale was much darker. In the rundown post-industrial towns of South Wales, and the backstreets of Cardiff and Swansea, we came in contact with a the dark side of drug use. Teenagers shooting up because their mates do it, because there’s nothing else to do, because they are blocking out the pain of an abusive past. Adults trapped in a downward spiral of drugs, crime, prison and more drugs.

Heroin, Wales And Me.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Flowers of Darkness: Paul Newman narrates anti-heroin film from 1972
06:32 pm


Paul Newman
William Templeton

DM pal Mark MacLachlan passed on this oddment, Distant Drummer: Flowers of Darkness, an anti-drug film from the 1970s, which has a rather interesting pedigree, as Mark explained:

It’s 40 year old documentary on the growth of opium into heroin and how you stop it… It’s narrated by Paul Newman and directed by Glasgow writer Bill Templeton.

Templeton’s centenary is next year and nobody appears to be aware of how important a writer he was, particularly during the golden era of US television, when he penned programmes like Robin Hood, The Untouchables, 1984, Sword of Freedom, The Desilu Hour etcetera.

In his film work he wrote additional dialogue for Graham Greene’s The Fallen Idol directed by Carol Reed. All round a pretty incredible forgotten talent, whom Walt Disney fired after discovering a bottle of whisky at his desk. Inevitably he died back in Glasgow from the booze…

This was Templeton’s last film, and was originally part of a trilogy made for NBC, with Newman, Robert Mitchum and Rod Steiger narrating the different sections. It starts off even-handedly enough (nature has generously provided humanity with the means to get high) but soon falls into an anti-drug stance. However, it does give consideration to treatment and rehabilitation, rather than imprisonment, and contrasts the change in laws from 1956 to 1966. This is one for those with an interest in media and drug culture, or with a liking for quirky public service films.

With thanks to Mark MacLachlan

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Heroin: A Comic Strip
12:47 pm



This “comic strip” certainly gets its point across, doesn’t it? Yikes!  


Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Report claims Alcohol more harmful than Heroin or Crack Cocaine

The Guardian today reports that alcohol is the most dangerous drug in the U.K., beating heroin and crack cocaine into 2nd and 3rd place. This according to a study published by former government drugs adviser, David Nutt, and his colleagues from the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs. The Guardian goes on to say:

Today’s paper, published by the respected Lancet medical journal, will be seen as a challenge to the government to take on the fraught issue of the relative harms of legal and illegal drugs, which proved politically damaging to Labour.

Nutt was sacked last year by the home secretary at the time, Alan Johnson, for challenging ministers’ refusal to take the advice of the official Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, which he chaired. The committee wanted cannabis to remain a class C drug and for ecstasy to be downgraded from class A, arguing that these were less harmful than other drugs. Nutt claimed scientific evidence was overruled for political reasons.

The new paper updates a study carried out by Nutt and others in 2007, which was also published by the Lancet and triggered debate for suggesting that legally available alcohol and tobacco were more dangerous than cannabis and LSD.

Today’s study offers a more complex analysis that seeks to address the 2007 criticisms. It examines nine categories of harm that drugs can do to the individual “from death to damage to mental functioning and loss of relationships” and seven types of harm to others. The maximum possible harm score was 100 and the minimum zero.

Overall, alcohol scored 72 – against 55 for heroin and 54 for crack. The most dangerous drugs to their individual users were ranked as heroin, crack and then crystal meth. The most harmful to others were alcohol, heroin and crack in that order.

Nutt told the Guardian the drug classification system needed radical change. “The Misuse of Drugs Act is past its sell-by date and needs to be redone,” he said. “We need to rethink how we deal with drugs in the light of these new findings.”

For overall harm, the other drugs examined ranked as follows: crystal meth (33), cocaine (27), tobacco (26), amphetamine/speed (23), cannabis (20), GHB (18), benzodiazepines (15), ketamine (15), methadone (13), butane (10), qat (9), ecstasy (9), anabolic steroids (9), LSD (7), buprenorphine (6) and magic mushrooms (5).

The authors write: “Our findings lend support to previous work in the UK and the Netherlands, confirming that the present drug classification systems have little relation to the evidence of harm. They also accord with the conclusions of previous expert reports that aggressively targeting alcohol harm is a valid and necessary public health strategy.”

Nutt told the Lancet a new classification system “would depend on what set of harms ‘to self or others’ you are trying to reduce”. He added: “But if you take overall harm, then alcohol, heroin and crack are clearly more harmful than all others, so perhaps drugs with a score of 40 or more could be class A; 39 to 20 class B; 19-10 class C and 10 or under class D.” This would result in tobacco being labelled a class B drug alongside cocaine. Cannabis would also just make class B, rather than class C. Ecstasy and LSD would end up in the lowest drug category, D.

The text of the full report can be read here.

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment