Health

These Group Text Messages Nail What Heroin Addiction Feels Like

June 29th 2016

By:
Danielle DeCourcey

A nearly 3-year-old tweet about the pleasures of perfectly cutting wrapping paper sparked a conversation about how it feels to struggle with heroin addiction. 

Here's some background. 

Bryan Donaldson, who's currently a writer for "Late Night with Seth Meyers" on NBC, tweeted in 2013 that he imagined that using heroin is like the satisfying feeling of cutting paper smoothly. 

Imgur user "Neilluminate" said that he shared Donaldson's tweet with two friends who previously struggled with heroin addiction. Their responses are so illuminating that he shared the screenshots on the site. 

"I have two good friends who are both former heroin users," he wrote in the Imgur post. "When I saw this tweet I sent it to them and this was their collective response."

 "I have two good friends who are both former heroin users. When I saw this tweet I sent it to them and this was their collective response."

Neilluminate's group text involves two contacts named James and Budd. James says that heroin is even more satisfying than scissors on smooth paper, "until the opioid dependency kicks in."  

ATTN: has not been able to verify the authenticity of the text message exchange, but clinical pharmacist and author of the blog "Rxaddicton" Jenni Stein told ATTN: that this type of blissful description sounds familiar. 

 "I have heard the first time using [heroin] as described as coming home, a weight being lifted, warmth, orgasmic, comforting, and other positive feelings," she said. "I think the more positive the early experiences are with using, the more likely the person will continue to use to the point of addiction."

Budd continues the analogy saying that heroin is like an endless stream of amazing paper cutting, until it becomes harder to keep the initial feeling. 

 

 "I have two good friends who are both former heroin users. When I saw this tweet I sent it to them and this was their collective response."

Some people continue to use heroin because they "desire to capture the feeling of the first high," according to Stein. The more often a person uses, the harder it can be to achieve the same high, and then a cycle of dependency begins. 

The group text also discusses the struggle to abstain from heroin when other people around you are using it. 

 "I have two good friends who are both former heroin users. When I saw this tweet I sent it to them and this was their collective response."

The "terrible suffering" is the physical and eventually emotional withdrawal symptoms that users experience when their high ends. Physical withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, muscle aches, sweating, and vomiting, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

Stein said that people may experience withdrawal after only a short succession of uses but developing a dependency is based on a number of factors. 

"If a user uses continuously, such as every eight hours for a few days,  physical dependence will develop within those first few days. That doesn't mean they are addicted, but they will withdraw. If a user uses once a month for a year, they may or may not ever become dependent. If they start using every time they feel bad, they are likely to become dependent. Addiction is complicated."

Continuing with the analogy of cutting paper, Budd explains how users rationalize another bout with heroin. "'The paper won't pile up like last time' so you pick up the scissors," he writes. 

"I have two good friends who are both former heroin users. When I saw this tweet I sent it to them and this was their collective response."

Stein said that this conversation rings true based on her experience with drug addiction patients. 

"The feeling of quickly going from feeling amazing to in over one's head is definitely thematic of heroin addiction. The idea that the addiction can be overcome seems so overwhelming as to be impossible sounding for some. There are so many factors to battle against. The physical dependency and withdrawal is the first hurdle. Then the user is left to cope with the reasons they were using in the first place, but without help from heroin. Reasons like pain, physical or emotional, are usually harder to overcome than reasons like recreation. For some, lifelong maintenance is the closest they will get to sobriety." 

You can read the full conversation on Imgur

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