Archive for the ‘Pharmaceuticals’ Category

Most of the heroin dealers in my ‘hood leave me alone since they’ve already seen me going into the methadone clinic, or have gotten the “no thanks, I’m on methadone” answer when offering chiva to me.

Yesterday someone came up to me while I was waiting for a bus and offered to sell me Phenergan.  It’s been a while since someone’s done that.  I laughed sardonically, shaking my head, and since the girl who was hawking them didn’t seem to be in a hurry, I told her why I didn’t want anything to do with Phenergan.

Phenergan – generic name Promethazine – is prescribed as an antihistamine.  The reason it sometimes gets peddled in areas known to be open-air pharmaceutical markets for the opiately-bent–like San Francisco’s Tenderloin– is that some people like to take them for potentiating the effects of heroin, morphine or methadone.

I only took it once in my life.  It was before I got on methadone, back in the days when I was still drowning in the spoon.

It was September of 1991 when I met someone who’d offered one to me since I looked a little dope-sick, and instructed me to take one the next time I had a fix.  I thought she had called them “Finnegans”.  In fact, until the internet came along and showed me the pill’s true name, I always thought “Finnegans” were a street name and that it had something to do with the obtuse, abstruse James Joyce novel  “Finnegan’s Wake”.

Of course, I had a fairly good reason to think this after the night I took one of those pernicious pink pills and what had turned out to be a large dose of heroin. Phenergan is more befuddling than Joyce, and not in a good way.

I’d been a call girl at the time and was headed out in a taxi  to the person I was going to be seeing.  I got into the back seat of a De Soto cab and THAT is the LAST thing I remember…at least in any stable sort of way.

I faintly recall some dreamlike impressions of being thrown down some stairs and then wandering around Mission Street in the area between First and Third, Fourth, maybe further downwards, and back.

I kept thinking I saw Byron, who’d been my “junk buddy” at the time. I kept wandering around calling for him.  A “junk buddy” is someone a junkie prostitute splits rent with, who helps her with the needle business and gives her a measure of safety just by being around she wouldn’t have otherwise…in return, he gets some of her dope.  However, he  is also definitely not a pimp of any sort. Byron and I had been friends who had sex occasionally, but he’d really wanted me to be in love with him, and I wasn’t. But he did look out for me.  And I thought I was supposed to be meeting him on Mission Street…

I was wandering around in the dark, calling his name.  I recall walking into a fast-food outlet and getting kicked out immediately.  I didn’t understand why.

I think I was on two distinctly separate Muni buses that night and ended up around Kearny Street at the foot of Market by dawn.  I was missing my purse and one boot. This, of course, must have been why the Mc Burger King or whatever had kicked me out. I wondered how it had taken me this long to notice that.

By the time I got back to the place Byron and I had been living I asked him “WHERE WERE YOU?!” but he was too busy asking me “WHERE WERE YOU ALL NIGHT?” to answer.  I had gotten it in my head I was supposed to meet him down on Mission Street but at no particular time for any particular purpose.  And I had never bothered to call him.

As for whatever else happened that night, there”s a damned good chance it’s a good thing I couldn’t remember it.  All things considered.

Phenergan and opiates  are a really, REALLY bad combination.  They put me on a full-blown fugue experience, the only time that has ever happened to me.

When I finished telling the girl the story, she said, “No wonder no one wants these” and tossed them down the storm drain.  It relieves me to see that apparently, the addict community is catching on to the truth about those damn things.  It’s one thing to be on drugs – whatever problems that whole mess is going to cause – but it becomes a whole new set of bad circumstances when you don’t know what you’re doing at all because of them.  That’s really hardly ever the case–most people on drugs have a sapient awareness that whatever mess they’re into, it’s drug-related when it is, and isn’t when it’s related to some other thing.  With Phenergan, that’s all out the window.

So if you’re a drug user, and you have any of them, that’s where you ought to toss them, too.


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