Hooked on Heroin: Drugs and Drifters in a Globalized World
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Alarmingly, heroin is growing in popularity amongst young people. This is despite the fact that it is - more than any other drug - associated with failure, death, misery and poverty. This book explores why people are tempted by heroin and how globalization has played a key role in increasing the number of abusers. Rather than offer lofty and abstract theories on addiction, the author grounds his study firmly in the day-to-day lives of heroin users themselves. Norrkping in Sweden is a mid-sized former industrial city like countless others throughout the world. It has suffered high unemployment as a result of its rapid decline as a hub of commerce. Once well known for housing the giant telecommunications company Ericsson, it sadly gains more notoriety today through its associations with heroin, which continues to be the drug of choice for Norrkpings young people. Through privileged access to users themselves, Lalander is able to show us the real motivations and lifestyle choices behind addiction. Personal testimonies candidly expose the underground activities of a thriving subculture and spark vexing questions as to why these young people choose to flirt with fatality. What media representations influence heroin users? Is this phenomenon the inevitable by-product of modern life? What are the root causes at play? Lalanders in-depth investigation overturns many of the stereotypes associated with heroin use. Accessible and gripping, Hooked on Heroin brings a disturbing reality closer to home and shows how global and local practices are intimately linked.
response, provide affirmation and thereby proof of existence. What is done has visible consequences in the surrounding world. Hanna remembers the first police intervention as an ‘event’, and as a proof that she had strayed into society’s margins. A transgression of the boundaries is hardly interesting unless there is awareness that the boundary that is crossed is actually such. The outsider identity is reinforced, while knowledge of society’s various boundaries is increased. – 17 – Hooked on
they try to sell the goods for money, or otherwise they may do jobs on order from the dealer. If the dealer wants a stereo he can, together with the customer, pick out the one he wants. Crispin, a small-scale dealer, explains how it is done: ‘They go to someone who has the stuff and say, “Four pairs of Levis, you can have them for £10 a pair, can I have a bag for four pairs?” They maybe already knew what size you took, so they stole four pairs in your size and came here with them.’ The price is
any weights given. Even if the police listening could possibly draw the conclusion that the conversation was about drug dealing, it is not enough to use in a court of law. The word ‘help’ is frequently used in the culture and if someone who didn’t know anything about drug dealing should hear such a conversation they would probably believe it was about help in moving home, or getting a lift somewhere, which is the point with the coded language. The police, however, know what it’s about, it’s just
overdose – that someone who overdoses hasn’t learned how to dose properly. The following three reasons for overdose, according to the young users, can be given: those who overdose (1) are unaware of their own tolerance (like those who have been off heroin for a while, or haven’t yet learnt to dose properly) (2) have obtained extra pure heroin – the overdose can be the result of a change in dealer, where the new dealer is more generous with the heroin and doesn’t cut it as much, or (3) a longing
used in the subculture’s terminology to describe the feeble and weak, whereas the male stands for the strong and the solid. Enrique relates that after he had taken a break from the circle of dealers and using heroin, he came back and smoked with them. As he hadn’t used for a while his body was no longer as tolerant and showed it. He says: I felt really high, but they, they thought like this, ‘Fuck it, have you become a wimp?’ and they just sat there on Monday night; ‘Have you become a weakling?’