A 24 year old man from one of Hartford’s suburbs had his life saved by a newspaper.
He got into heroin five years ago through, in his own words “stupidity.” While many get into it through injury, a doctor’s prescription exposing them to opiates, taking too many, becoming addicted, getting cut off or needing more than the doctor will give, having to buy pills on the street, then transitioning to the cheaper heroin, he got into the deadly opiate through partying. Hell, try Heroin, why not? Rock on, Dude!
He comes down to Hartford and buys on the street. A two bundle (20 bags) a day habit. He doesn’t inject, he sniffs. He just walks down Park Street and the dealers know what he’s looking for. Pale white guy with tattoos, wearing a hoodie. We know you’re not here to sample the empanadas at Aqui Me Quedo. KD? KO? Fasttrack? Night Owl? High Power? We got what you’re looking for.
He got caught up in a drug sweep once, but hadn’t bought his drugs yet, so after being frisked, they let him go. He nearly Oded one time. On the nod on a park bench. The ambulance came, but he woke up, and refused transport. He’s been to rehab once, and was on suboxone once too. He didn’t like it. A couple weeks ago, he came into the city, bought his heroin and drove home. His parents don’t know he is still using. His friends don’t know either. There is no Narcan in his house. He sniffs alone. He prefers to be by himself.
Before he goes into his room to use, he picks up the newspaper his father had left in the bathroom. There is the story about the triple overdose on Green Street, including a fatal. He sees the pictures of the bags found at the scene. Skull and Bones and some fancy black design on the other bag. He doesn’t even know the design is RR Rocafella, an upscale Australian apparel company. But the stamp catches his attention. It is the exact same design as on one of the bundles (10 bags sold for $35) he just bought in Hartford. Whoaa!
You or I might immediately find Jesus, take it as a sign from above and flush the white powder down the toilet, but he is a heroin user and he needs his fix to fight off the sickness. He does what he does if ever he hears of a dangerous batch. He just does a little sample. He doesn’t do the whole bundle. He just sniffs half a bag at first. Shit is STRONG! Finish two bags and he is down.
No knock on the door in the morning. Son, are you okay? You’re late for work! No knocking the door down when his Dad finds it locked, and hears no answer after shouting. No hand on his cold neck. No call to 911, saying my son is dead.
When he comes around in the morning, he is still in his room. No pearly gates, no fires of hell. Just his life. And hey, he’s still got some heroin to get his day started.
That was a couple weeks ago. Today, he’s sick. He hasn’t used in three days, and he wants help detoxing. He knows if he doesn’t get help, he will use heroin again, and one of these days, he’s going to meet the batch that will kill him. We put him in the ambulance and take him from the health clinic to the hospital, and it is on the ride he tells me his story. “I’m looking at the paper and I recognize the bag. I just bought that brand. I think, I got to be careful. I don’t want to OD. If I didn’t moderate I would have died.
Kudos to the Hartford Police for getting the word out and the Hartford Courant for putting it on the front page.