Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Addict, "Poor, poor soul."

We were given an assignment to read an article about opium trade in Afghanistan in my Journalism class last week. My professor showed some pictures that accompanied the article, and there was one picture of a man, staring out from a darkened building. My professor said, "Oh, and this guy, he is a heroin addict, poor, poor soul. Well, I am sure you can tell, just look at him."

And I did not see anything about this man that would identify him as an addict. No track marks in the picture. He had on a collared shirt for god sakes! And he looked clean cut. There was NOTHING that would identify that man as a heroin addict. (The poor, poor soul.)

And then I asked myself....well, what does a heroin addict look like anyway? And I thought of all the addicts I have known, and they all look very different. Some are fat, and some are skinny. Some are battered and bruised, and some hold down regular jobs wearing a suit. Some are old, and others are young. Some are dirty and homeless, while others live in a mansion on the hill. Some are men, and others are women. Some have children, while others have no one. Anyone can be a heroin addict.

It just illustrates the stereotypes I will always face, as an addict. The stigma will always be attached to heroin addiction.


  1. that sucks....that's all I can say

  2. I know what you mean.

    I'm a suit wearer - I weigh 14 stone, am balding and look like what I am, a respectable middle class professional.

    I am also an injecting heroin user.

    I only get grief really in one or two needle exchanges where users think I'm police, and staff think I'm acting beneath myself.