This is a true story, as relayed by a couple of people who heard about it from someone who was there and somehow lived to talk about it, just before he died.
It is, perhaps, the best explanation of addiction I have heard so far.
It also has no chance of making anyone understand it any better than they already do.
There’s a strong chance you will read this story and say, “Now, I know I really don’t understand. Why would anyone choose to do that?” Or, you might read it and say, “I never knew ...”
Draw your own conclusions, but please take your time doing so.
The story begins with seven people, all addicts, sitting in a room in Huntington, West Virginia and waiting for a batch of heroin to arrive and be imbibed.
There was some sort of a system involved which dictated which of the seven people waiting for the heroin to arrive actually got to shoot up first.
My friend was #7 of the seven in the room.
He said they all waited together, trading stories of incredible scores and fantasy set ups and even quick tales of dabbles into rehab, jail and prison and back.
After an eternity known only to those seven people, the dope quietly arrived.
It was all calm and orderly, despite the demons screaming hell’s fury inside everyone there possibly excluding the person who was recognized by all as first in line.
#7 watched with intense jealousy as #1 cooked up a shot, worked it up and injected it as quickly as he could, then died.
#2 stepped up and did CPR until #1 was revived, then picked up the dope and injected it, then died.
#3 stepped up and did CPR until #2 was revived, then picked up the dope and injected it, then died.
#4 stepped up and did CPR until #3 was revived, then picked up the dope and injected it, then died.
#5 stepped up and did CPR until #4 was revived, then picked up the dope and injected it, then died.
#6 stepped up and did CPR until #5 was revived, then picked up the dope and injected it, then died.
At this point, most people would say “Six people in a row just died. There is no way I’m doing this.”
My friend was # 7. He stepped up and did CPR until #6 was revived.
He later told family members he could not wait to be the next to put the needle into his arm. And that is exactly what he did.
Despite expectations, however, he did not die. Instead, he said he was severely disappointed that he did not “fall out” and need to be revived. His brother recalled he said he was mad, “because they all got a better buzz than he did.”
A few weeks later, my friend’s father found him on the floor with 2/3 of a dose of uninjected heroin in the needle which remained in his arm. Officials suspect the batch of heroin included an unknown amount of the drug carfentanyl, which is a familiar killer in this area.
Even if he had somehow known to cut his dose in half, he still would have been dead before he could have pulled the needle out.
My friend leaves family and many friends behind. We will surely tell stories about him for the rest of our lives.
More than anything, we will all wish he were still here with us.
Memory Days await
On a considerably more cheerful note, Grayson Area Chamber of Commerce officials have selected a theme for this year’s upcoming Memory Days celebration and now ask anyone with an artistic flair to design the official T-shirt.
Robert Caummisar submitted the winning theme suggestion, “Grayson – Growing but still remembering!”
The rules state, “Must be original work of Artist/Designer; All 2D mediums eligible, (Example: pen, pencil, ink, painting, graphic and computer design); Size maybe 8 ½ X 11 to 14 X 17; Up to 3 submissions per Artist; Up to 6 colors maybe used; Final Design/ approval by Memory Days Committee will become exclusive property of same; Design will also be used by the Grayson Area Chamber of Commerce.”
The winner will be awarded $25, a copy of the T-shirt and recognition during opening ceremonies. The deadline to enter a T-shirt design is noon, Feb. 18.
The annual Memory Days Parade will be May 25.
Tim Preston can be reached at email@example.com, or by telephone at (606) 474-5101.