Posted by
Jim Goad
• 08.20.12 11:00 am

If you’re going to do a drug that can kill you, shouldn’t its effects at least feel exciting enough to kill you?

Last time I scanned the list, I’d tried every illicit drug that The Man’s Chemist has concocted to keep us all craven and drooling and compliant, and nearly all of them were more enjoyable than heroin.

I’ve never been that keen on ups and downs, on so-called “drugs” that only key you up or softly cocoon your nerves. I don’t even consider it a “drug” unless it’s a hallucinogen, unless it makes you feel like you’ve stepped into a waking dream. The only intoxicant on the whole up/down spectrum I honestly thought was fantastic was the one that killed Michael Jackson.

Not that hallucinogens have always been a Louisiana Hayride for me either, considering I once got the shit kicked out of me while on acid and once did enough ketamine that I played slot machines with aliens in hell’s funeral parlor.

Still, William S. Burroughs did what Keith Richards and Johnny Thunders were unable to achieve—he made me want to try heroin. Just like 700 million other people, I read Naked Lunch and Junky while in college, but it wasn’t until much later that I finally chased the dragon’s tail around a Walmart parking lot.

I’ve done it twice—once in New York and once in Chicago—sniffing it both times. In Chicago it did little more than make me feel warm and queasy, while in New York it actually made me, of all people, feel for a fleeting moment that maybe there wouldn’t be a World War III after all. But I didn’t laugh my ass off like I was on mushrooms and I didn’t want to eat tall buildings as if I was on meth. It was no more or less nice than a slightly agreeable cup of tea on a pleasant afternoon. Even some of its legal equivalents such as Oxycontin, Percocet, and codeine felt better—but still, not by much.

I hate, hate, HATE (H-A-T-E) the word “meh” and will often punch people who use it, but that’s the best word I can use to describe how heroin made me feel. It didn’t feel like I was stepping into an everlasting DayGlo fantasy cartoon arcade and it didn’t terrify me so much that I started believing in Jehovah God. All it did was make my soul shrug its shoulders and think, “THIS is what makes people sell their parents’ record collections to get more of it?”

Heroin is like cigarettes—I realize that it’s addictive, but I have no idea why.



William S. Burroughs takes a peek at The Redneck Manifesto shortly before his death in 1997. Photo by Rod Pitman.


  1. I thought that stuff was supposed to make you shit your pants and see a vision of jesus shitting his pants. Oh well.

  2. Pilpoz says:

    I never tried heroin, but I too don’t understand why cigs are addictive.

  3. notajunkie says:

    you sniffed it, you didn’t shoot it which has a lot to do with what you’re talking about. you didn’t get the immediate “rush” that makes it so addictive.

  4. Nicotine is a nightmare drug. It gives you less of a buzz than a cup of coffee, but it’s physically addictive as fuck.

  5. “You just didn’t do enough of it, Jim.” – Sincerely, Jehovah God.

  6. heroin town says:

    there’s a reason junkies shoot up brah.

  7. Jew Barrymore says:

    I’ve tried everything except for Heroin. Crack was the only drug on my no-go zone that I tried and for me, that was “meh”, and not worth having a psychotic episode and losing my job the next day over.

  8. lester says:

    I’m experimenting with not doing drugs. so far the results have been mixed

  9. Billy says:

    WOW, you think a drug commonly thought to be hardcore is no big deal! Much impressed, you are super cool. I mean, it’s not like you merely said you were disappointed. I can peek inside your soul with and realize you were doing it to be cool, because the purpose of your entire life has obviously been to impress idiots like me, because that’s what all your actions obviously demonstrate. I have magical powers of discernment and am not merely a stupid clone.

  10. Billy says:

    How did you know my name’s not Billy? How can I send you my money?

  11. unclaimed smegma says:

    You’re just not the type of guy that story was meant for, Jim. Heroin’s for folks with mommy issues who want to experience the consciousness of, say, lichen, or lizards sunning themselves on rocks.

    You sound like more a stimulant kind of guy to me. Some folks do heroin to feel like the world isn’t going to murder them, and others do meth so they feel like they can eat the world. The issue is seeing your subjective experience of your body chemistry as the ultimate arbiter of everybody else’s experience.

    Though, that sounds just like you, so, you know. Carry on.

  12. icantslowdown says:

    Maybe you should have read “Queer” in college.

  13. CJ says:

    I’m just confused by the post by “heroin town.” I thought junkies shot up heroin, or various downs they cook on a spoon. What’s brah?

  14. Tripster says:

    Sounds to me like you didn’t get good stuff and snorting it especially if it’s of inferior quality won’t do it. Now I have been off heroin since 1988, but if it didn’t make you all warm and cozy plus nod off into a dreamland so real you to you, then you were not on heroin. Opium gives much of the same effects. Keith Richard’s said in his book that he believes the reason he is still alive is that one he had access to the purest heroin ( it’s really the cut that ruins your body ) and as important he only took what he needed he didn’t look to get that bigger bang. Anyway, be thankful you didn’t like it, because it will control you at some point.

  15. woah says:

    you didnt shoot it! amateur!

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