Tag Archives: Drugs

The Red Pill Makes You Smaller

Whitney Houston died this weekend, just the latest in celebrity deaths caused by prescription drug abuse.
There’s nothing more hypocritical than the American War on Drugs when this parade of legal abuse deaths goes marching on. Doctors everywhere just lining their pockets from commissions based on prescribing drugs, corporations raking it in hand-over-fist as a population is encouraged to stop coping with emotions and instead just mask them with things like Xanax.
While some people legitimately need pharmaceuticals, there’s no way in hell the number of people who are doing them should require them. Life IS stressful. Life IS tiring. Sometimes we can’t sleep because we can’t sleep. That’s life — it’s tough. Get a helmet, not a pill.
But that’s not what doctors today say, think, or do. Instead of telling some folks they should exercise harder for stress management, they prescribe pills. They push pills for a quicker here-and-now solution rather than asking patients to exhaust other methods of coping before turning to chemical solutions.
Many doctors don’t care if you’re still on prescriptions or you have a backlog. I have pills kicking around that I could have one hell of a party with, since I stopped the prescription, but has anyone inquired whether that’s the case? Not really, no. And my doctor’s one of the good guys.
People legally skate through life on a 24/7 high thanks to the lack of pharmaceuticals accountability in doctor/pharmacist offices.
Seldom do these prescriptions come with active education or management. They’re handed over all casual like by doctors who are either too busy or apathetic to care.
America’s fighting the wrong war on drugs.
Big Pharma’s a part of the addiction problem. A big part of it.
Over a decade ago, a movie named Requiem for a Dream did a brilliant juxtaposition of addiction’s downward spiral — one through heroin, the other through prescription abuse. They were both harrowing in their awfulness. It’s a dark, jarring movie, and I’ve always been impressed at the similarity in the depravity of those downward spirals. Legal-schmegal — when it comes to a drug that’s got you in its grip, it doesn’t fucking matter if it came by way of a prescription pad. Ask Michael Jackson.
Prescriptions need to be doled out judiciously, and more doctors should be investigated for their keen tendency to problem-solve through pills rather than tough-love.
Frankly, laws involving all drugs need to be revisited.
No one dies from smoking marijuana, you know. Who’s the person really in danger here? The guy chewing Xanax like it’s Tic-Tacs between beers, or the fella toking off a bong and watching Harold & Kumar with a big bag of Cheetohs?
Whether it’s preppy kids in universities, housewives in suburbia, or celebrities in bathtubs, I’m getting tired of people dying from prescription drugs because doctors can’t be bothered to investigate before they prescribe.
Can we finally admit this is a problem?

Nightvisions: Of Dreams and Wakings

Dreams. I don’t remember them often. I wake to a hazy shade of blank in the morning, most days.
Not this morning. Somehow aware I was sleeping and dreaming, I couldn’t shake my disturbing visions — splicings of abuse and trauma all swirling in my head.

The Characters

Coffee shop, old-style American ’70s joint with tattered vinyl booths, a stainless steel coatrack by a jukebox, long counter filled with blue collar workers, lotsa beards. Felt like a truck stop. Waitress straight out of Alice — dark roots, blonde, overtight calves from too many long days, older looking than her years. Blue diner uniform, white apron, frequent smoke breaks.
Scene two: Junkie, rat-trap apartment with cracked plaster, taped fractured windows, bugs skittering across worn floorboards. Old furniture once-loved in better places than this — ’80s brown floral couch, round sidetables covered with threadbare cloths, wobbly coffee table, old console TV with rabbit ears. Thin woman with scarred arms from years of lesions and self-harm. Natty mousy hair, dry and dull, messy and barely tied back. Sunken complexion, decaying teeth, sad hollow eyes. Needle and pipes at couch’s end table.
There was also an old rancher in the country. Broken swingset, overgrown lawn. Guy with a penchant for jean shirts, in his 40s. Isolated. Likes working on his truck.
Dreams being dreams, mine was a swirl of childhood moments with these three. Incestuous, abuse-filled snippets, albeit somewhat stereotypical.
They flooded at me, images of things some of us should never imagine but others have tragically lived.


And that was horrifying but it was more who and what these people grew into that ate at me. How you can never undo that loss of innocence. How we get imprinted at such visceral levels as to what we feel about the world, thanks to our encounters in our youth. How cynicism and hopelessness find us through experience.

This is a "joke" picture people post to Facebook, etc, but imagine growing up with this guy as Dad. It's a little disturbing for me. Should we unsee this?

We joke about embarrassing photos of others, calling them “things you can’t unsee,” but what if an entire childhood is formed that way? With the things that can’t be unseen?
I had a nice comfortable upbringing, aside from an asshole child molesting teacher at my Catholic high school (with whom I had no contact). The rest is par for the course — adversities and challanges aplenty, just not the soul-destroying kinds.
Even still, moments with certain beggars on the street, brushes with homelessness, imprinted me deeply at a young age. And it was in passing, at best. Yet.
But this morning’s dream haunted me on waking. I realized I’m often guilty of judging people for who they are now, with little consideration of what the may have moved past in becoming who they are. What abuses, adversity, horrors may have helped shape them.
I have a neighbour, a burn-out former junkie who seems to be a pathological liar, and I’m suddenly wondering what it was that got her to where she is now. What kind of childhood did she have? Where did the wrong turns come? What could she have expected otherwise?
A cynic would say soul-crushing is a compounding experience. Every hurt adds to the last. Every layer of dejection lands atop another, slowing wrapping us up from the world, walling us off. Like the outcome is unavoidably dire, and one can’t unravel that damage.
For some, I’m sure that’s true. Adversity has the same way of affecting us. When everything keeps being hard, it’s sometimes easier to fall into survival mode than to remember that thriving can be a choice, a series of actions.
But when it comes to people like those I dreamed about, the damage is often long done. If they don’t overcome that hardship as a child, they often pay the price through lacking education, all but determining the lives they’ll live largely marginalized, paycheque-to-paycheque, unprepared for a complicated adult world.

From Whence We Came

I don’t know what it is that makes some able to fight past all that, but I’m so glad that resilience can be found in the world. I’m glad not all souls get crushed and stay that way.
I grew up in a white low/middle-class neighbourhood, a mix of kids. My days seemed fun like anyone else’s. We kept our doors unlocked, had some neighbour parties, all knew each other like you’re supposed to, way out there in white suburbia.
Now, though, I know two families had incest happening, another had violent abuse beyond the screaming fights we all heard.
Another had drug-addicted kids by the age of 15. One family had parents who were addicts. I found needle works in their sofa when I was 14 and had no idea it was for heroin then.
Sure didn’t feel like it when we were all out there on the street doing neighbourhood snowball fights. Knowing now what I didn’t know then, it sort of taints the memories on some days and makes them more awesome moments on others. For a brief time, we were all kids and having fun. For a little while, some snowballs whizzing through the air put us all on equal ground. Life could be good, even just for 30 minutes.
It’s safe to say I feel like I’m living the end of the movie Stand By Me this morning, as I remember the life we all had but tempered with the knowledge of an adult who one day learned the deep dark secrets each of us had back then.
I lived so close to darkness in some of those homes. It never touched me personally. I don’t think it ever dampened my light. I wish I could have helped them.
But deep down inside, I’m glad I was able to be ignorant of those worlds until much later. I’m sure it helped me have a wider worldview.
I’m sure the years of looking-but-not-seeing have affected greatly the way I see the world today. Knowing how “normal” people seemed, yet how they were anything but, seems to have shaped my very skeptical view of what others being what they project at us.
I guess, in a way, being raised so close to some of the things I dreamed about last night yet so insulated from all the happenings, has defined a lot of my empathy and perceptiveness in life and in writing.
It’s funny. We’re shaped as much by what we didn’t know, it seems, as what we did. What a weird world we live in.


And that’s where my headspace is this Monday morning. I wish I could better wrap it up and put a bow on it, but I can’t for the life of me figure out how this one ends. Much like my dream.

Kurt Cobain, Still Dead

16 years ago today, Kurt Cobain put a bullet in his brain and robbed us all of everything that spoke to MY generation at a time when we were so fucking confused about what mattered.
We were tired of the fluff and pop of the ’80s, sickened by the everlasting everywhereness of the Oliver Stone Wall Street mentality and the increasing loss of meaning in the modern world.
Then there they were — Kurt Cobain and Eddie Vedder… specifically Kurt.
Cutting through the bullshit, discarding the pretty-boy rock images that commandeered ’80s MTV, throwing down their rage and speaking to the discontent that’d been hidden by pop-hooks and plastic performances for too long now, the posterboys of the grunge-rock movement gave the establishment the finger and we roared in approval as we lined up in droves for Lollapalooza and other epic events of festival rock that brought us all together for bodysurfing, moshing, and community.
What made Nirvana’s brand of electric-pop grunge-rock so eponymous for my generation was that it could BE EVERYTHING all at once — it could be funny, hard, soft, loud, bouncy, moody, angry, and exuberant simultaneously. It was OUR existential noise put to a bouncy beat, and it GOT us. It took our insides and folded it out, and made it fun to act out and scream along to.
Few bands can push the cathartic-heart-restart button for me like Nirvana. Maybe the Replacements or the Butthole Surfers… but nobody put a finger on it like Nirvana did, and I still feel robbed today. ROBBED. Robbed, motherfucker.
Fucking hell. I’d like to beat depression and addiction to death with a tire iron for all the people and things it has robbed me of in life, and Kurt Cobain makes that list.
I’d like to say we’ve made lots of advances in the areas of addiction and death since news of Cobain’s death sent everyone in my age group (I was 20) into a depressive funk for days — even non-fans who felt he somehow had a message worth hearing that encapsulated why our generation felt so lost, even if they weren’t into him…
I’d like to say we’ve made advances, but we haven’t. We’re going backwards — losing more soul, losing style, losing voice, losing control.
Just today are reports that more people than ever before are overdosing on prescription drugs. We’re oblivioning ourselves to death. It’s so tragically ironic. Where’s our Kurt Cobain for today? Who’s trying to snap our apathy now?
For me, Nirvana woke me up about how having more than one emotion at one time could be all right, even be a good thing, that life could be felt in different ways at any moment. I could be happy and angry, glad but resentful. I could be overjoyed but despondent. I could just feel it all. I was human and it was how we rolled — Kurt Cobain said so.
And his death? I was 20. He was my Lennon, man. I remember where I was, I remember hoping it was another hoax.

Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are.

~Kurt Cobain

My friends and I suddenly dreaded aging — 27 was the age of death now. Him, Morrison, Hendrix — all dead at 27. But Cobain was different from the others.
Cobain gave up. It wasn’t just stupidity, it was a shotgun blast. It was a willful choice that life was too much. This unassuming anti-hero we all put our hopes in, blam. Gone, dead, done. He was our voice and he just fucked off.
We had hopes for Cobain. He was like that fucked-up friend with incredible soul that you know is a beautiful person through to the core, and even in their sadness a soft sunlight pours from their insides.
Cobain was kinda like that, the tragically-beautiful big-hearted broken-souled rebel we all understood in a small way, who spoke of beauty while ripping at his existential scabs, who mostly fucked up but sometimes didn’t and THAT was awesome? Kurt was THAT guy.
Lennon was stolen by a madman.
Cobain was taken by madness.
In nearly 30 years, we’ve done nothing to change the isolation and hopelessness felt by those with mental illness. The lonely are alone by design, even now. Increasingly, now.
Medication is doled out by the fistfuls because it’s easier to mask the symptoms than it is to solve them. To solve them would be to admit that everything about our modern life — the pace, the technology, the goals, the ambition — is a sham. We can’t have that. Not now. We’re so awesomely tech-dependent that we can’t possibly admit it might not be helpful to us on some deeply emotional/spiritual level.
Technology didn’t solve your life, so, here, this pill can help you — and if that pill doesn’t work, take this pill, but don’t worry about turning in those other not-working pills, and never mind about all those processed foods you’re eating or the lack of life you live, or the fact that you think your Wii exercises you. Don’t worry about solving what really ails you — turn on Glee and take this pretty pink pill and enjoy that tasty beverage, because nothing really matters anyhow. Hey, is that a text message? Hold that thought.
We ARE the soulless society Kurt Cobain railed against… times ten. We’re so empty and vapid as we all walk distractedly through our days that Cobain’s existence seems almost a cutesy little ironic footnote in my generation’s life.
WE rebelled against it all and now we’re the expense-account smart-phone motherfuckers micromanaging our lives in a desperate attempt at the illusion of power over a very real powerlessness. We want to pretend we control our lives. It’s all a sham, but it’s one that’s just so PRETTY, and LOOK it’s so SHINY.
I’m 36. I’m not a rebel these days, per se, but I sure as shit didn’t drink the social Kool-aid yet, either. I’m not the anti-establishment type some still are, but I’m enough of one that I’m a little more broken-hearted on this anniversary.
Even today, I don’t fit squarely on the right or left, but I speak truth to power and I don’t hide behind or excuse-away my ideas.
I own how I feel, I put it out there and I don’t apologize for it. I say it like it is so SOMEONE hears what oughta be said, or at least I know I tried to speak the truth to power.
I’d like to think much of who I am ideologically comes from those early heroes I had — especially the rock’n’roll types, ones who made me realize being multi-faceted wasn’t a contradiction in terms — it was a lesson in humanity.
Cobain taught me, along with a few other antiheroes of mine, that my emotions and my anger were an important part of who I am, that they drove the art I wanted to create, that they made me a more complete person than I was when I lived under the veneer of good’n’happy little citizen. They taught me that my word choices were my weapons, and I could be more at one time than I thought I could be.
Yeah. I still feel robbed. And I’m angry Cobain’s death feels in vain. I’m angry I have so little of him to draw on after all the years that have passed — that I’ve grown in my world-view and never got to see Kurt do that in his.
Some small part of who I am today, though, was in large a part of what Nirvana tried to do. And I thank them for that contribution.
Fuck you, depression and addiction.  Fuck you hard.

When Will It Change?

I work a couple blocks away from one of the nastiest parts of my beloved city, Vancouver, Canada. It’s like a whole other world when you stumble into the Downtown East Side, just two blocks east of my office, a place that held, in the early ’90s, the highest urban rate of AIDS and HIV infection on the globe.
People like me who’ve lived in this city our whole lives know more about the disenfranchised in that area, and I have my own speculations on how it’s gotten so out of hand, but I’ve never looked into it all that much.
Suffice to say that at that two-block point east of here, it’s like an invisible wall has gone up. People sleep on streets, heroin is shot in alleys, fights break out over drugs, and everything’s out of control.
This area houses most of the prostitution and all of the meth and heroin junkies in the city. The mentally ill who are deinstitutionalized run rampant in this hood, and I’m faced daily with heartbreak and hopelessness when I see how much work is left to be done to help all these impoverished, seemingly forgotten members of our city.
We’re beginning to get a reputation internationally for what’s largely gone unchecked in this city, and that saddens me, considering all else this city has to offer — the natural beauty, the unforgettable cuisine, the multicultural population, the sports, and more. What the world doesn’t see and doesn’t seem to understand is how stacked against success the odds really are in dealing with this travesty.
This city is a magnet for the nation’s homeless — even for America’s homeless. They all want to be here because the climate is so tolerable year-round and because the cops tend to empathize rather than penalize these impoverished people. After all, if you’re homeless, where would you rather be in the winter, the snows of Toronto and Montreal, where it can go far below freezing every winter, or in the temperate climes of Vancouver?
Add to that the fact that so many drugs land here in Vancouver, where an average of 150 million massive cargo freights pass through annually, where we barely have the staff to search them, and where drug laws are so much more relaxed than in America, and you have a ticking time bomb that no easy solutions will patch.
The world’s about to hear more regarding this harrowing part of Vancouver, though, with the release of a controversial new “fictional” horror film by Australian filmmakers that focuses on one of the most legendary bastards ever to live in this province. Robert “Willie” Pickton is facing trial for the brutal murders of 26 Vancouver-area prostitutes, but is suspected of killing more than 125 of these women over the course of 20 years. A pig farmer by trade, Pickton covered his ass well by having his pigs devour the corpses of these women. As a result, little DNA evidence was recovered by what was the largest criminal investigation in Canadian history.
I’m saddened by the news that the families of these missing and dead women will have to endure a film that will probably sensationalize these brutal murders. And while I’m further saddened by the continuing downward spiral of this incredible city’s reputation, perhaps international attention will finally convince both the British Columbian and Canadian governments that this absolutely is NOT a problem that can be solved by Vancouver’s government alone. Our cops are stretched as thin as cellophane and there’s no money to be had.
In less than four years, the world will be on our doorsteps when the 2010 Olympics unveil. And what will have happened to the disenfranchised and forgotten by then? God only knows, but many, including myself, suspect they’ll be shifted out of the downtown core, pushed off to the side just to become some other neighbourhood’s problem. Out of sight, out of mind, and, possibly, out of hope.

Love Will Conquer All, Baby

I was reading something just before bed, stated by the venerable clothing designer Karl Lagerfeld, in answer to the soon-to-come fashion onslaught of heavy, dark clothing that’s to be replacing the light, fun, and airy lines we’ve been enjoying of late. Lagerfeld said, “If you read the daily papers, you are not in the mood for pink and green.”
If you are what you wear, are we as a society becoming depressed? Valium and Lithium and Prozac, oh my.
I’d lay my cash on a big, fat yes, but hey, what do I know? I’m just a formerly depressed not-even-yuppie who’s an observer, not a player.
Depression’s out there. Hell, even the upcoming ankle-length hemlines are screaming it. We’re depressed. As a people, we need to get happy. This war shit’s bringing us all down. We got Vice Presidents running around shooting good citizens. Gas prices are nuts. The Canadian economy’s strong enough to be a steamroller. Clearly, it is the end of times, and our nerves are a tad frazzled.
Me, I say the cure is sex.
Okay, let’s look at this, then. Stress and self-esteem issues, as well as external factors (thus the stress) cause depression, as do biochemical issues. Right? Sex is good for the nerves, great for the self-esteem — (especially if you can get ‘em to scream your name. Hmm. I really have to stop falling for the strong, silent types. My ego’s taking a hit.) – and releases endorphins.
In all seriousness, studies have shown we’re all at an all-time touch deficit. I’ve been hooking up with some guys of late, lots of great dates, no seconds, but I’ve kissed (uh, to coin a phrase) every one of ‘em. Life’s too short not to share a kiss (or something) or stretch it out over three or four hours. Sex? Nice but not needed. Making out does wonders for the self-esteem. Gets the juices flowing, the pulse racing. It’s the very definition of alive. No one should have to go without. I’m going into withdrawal, days without a kiss. A necking session would hit the spot, but I know what else would, too.
In a world where there’s famine and war and natural disasters and poverty and stupid religious extremism and pettiness… shouldn’t you at least be getting laid?
I for one applaud the relatively recent revival of the “Make Love, Not War” campaign. I need to get me a button, man. I’m willing to sacrifice myself to the cause. I will have sex in the name of peace, and soon. Afterwards, we’ll spoon, smoke a joint, drink some absinthe, and listen to Imagine, followed by White Rabbit, and some Dark Side of the Moon. Is there anybody out there?
Maybe this whole Iraq thing was just what the Sexuality Movement needed. Drop some bombs, shed some innocent lives, get the tempers flaring back home, have the pacifists realize they’re really pissed off but since they’re pacifists, they can’t go out back and shoot beer cans off the fence, so, instead, they smoke fatties and fuck.
Who knows. Maybe Bush did the right thing after all. I don’t fucking know. I do know that everyone getting a little more action would probably be not such a bad thing. Me, I always liked the fact that Clinton was getting head in the Oval Office. I figured he’d at least be relaxed enough to make the rational choice in any scenario that unfolded.
I think anyone in power with lives in their hands should absolutely be on a sex quota. They must be gone down on once every eight days, minimum, and are entitled to sex twice per week, minimum, with no less than 28 minutes foreplay each time. Sure. As a start. With time on the job, age, and increased responsibility, the sex allotment increases. Like a health plan or any other benefit.
Yeah, I don’t know what the hell the problem is, but I know sex is the solution.
Pity the new fashion scene’ll be here soon and skin will be a thing of the past. But, brothers and sisters, we shall overcome. Right?
*Yeah, I’m a pinko lefty with a loathing for the war and a disdain for both the American and new Canadian regimes. I mean, does it sound like I have conservative sex? C’mon! Get real. You knew this. You like me anyway. I’m the good kinda libertarianish type.

A Detour: Acquisitions

Normally, I tend to write about sex on this blog. At the beginning, though, I had said it would be frequently about sex, but occasionally I might write about something else that was possibly inappropriate for my other blog.
So. This is one of those times. Certain people read my other blog.
Some of us are fortunate enough to have steady, reliable drug dealers. Now, me, I only do dope. I’m mostly well-behaved. Recently, though, I had a stoner concert to attend and thought I should acquire some… inspiration. I found out then that my formerly regular dealer is, get this, on “hiatus.”
“They give you those, do they?” I asked.
“When you ask ’em nicely, yes,” he said.
Deciding that This Concert was worth the effort, I figured, “What the fuck? Let’s see what I can do.”
So, without ado, I decided to negotiate an acquisition on the streets. I headed to Vancouver’s primo chemo district to get me some cheebah. Now, keep in mind, I’ve done this once in my life. I’ve somehow always had connections — a variety thereof. Buying on the street has never been required.
How does one tactfully approach someone and, essentially, ask, “Say, are you a dealer?” Why not just tack onto that, “And hey, I have a family of four that needs killing. You up?”
But this is how you do it. Find a way to observe the street for a few minutes. Walk up it, then down it. Make note of who’s stationary, and better yet, leaning on a wall. Find a way to keep an eye on the scene for a few. Who stays put? Who crosses a sidewalk to talk to someone, then crosses back? Do they use hand gestures? Do they keep looking around, twitching?
Now you walk back towards him/them, and making eye contact, you raise your eyebrows.
That’s it. You’ve done it. Easy as pie. Now: “Holdin’?” “Whatchoo need?” “Weed.” “Yup. How much?” “20.”
Next thing you know, you’re holding two dime bags. Go home. Get happy.