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chuck woolery

Crack(s) in the Veneer

by chuck woolery at 09:47 PM on February 25, 2004

Mr. Blank's last entry has left me wanting to contribute to the drug discussion because I, unfortunately, deal with the effects of drug use most of my working days.

Please don't tune out now on the basis of this being a anti-drug rant, because it isn't. Truthfully, the vast majority of drug users never come into conflict with the law, and those that do, at least in my community, are users of one of two drugs (or both), crack (freebase) cocaine, or Methamphetamine. The occasional user of marijuana that I run into is almost always a dealer, or someone found with some in his pocket when he got busted for something else. The Meth and Crack heads are something else entirely.

Below is the abrieviated story of one group of people who got into drugs they couldn't handle, and how they sunk from there. I don't pretend to say that it's representative of all drug users, in fact I'll be surprised if I ever see a soft drug user in circumstances remotely resembling these.

I recently completed a 3 day trial of a guy who was up on charges of Armed Robbery of a convenience store. I'll call him Sammy, because all his "friends" do.

Sammy was couch surfing at the place of some acquaintances, and all of them were doing crack, pretty much continuously. The place he was staying had a steady flow of drugs through it, as the occupants were acting as drug runners, running drugs from the source to customers. Most of the people in the house had been up about 9 days straight by the day of the robbery. It had been awhile since the last run, and they had been out of drugs for awhile, when Sammy decided that to get money for more drugs he'd knock over the convenience store down the street. The girl, V, got Sammy her boyfriend's (DK's) work clothes, balaclava and gloves, but passed out before he got back from the robbery. Another druggie, TT, was at home, between drug runs, when Sammy got back, carrying money and cigarettes he'd stolen.

Thankfully the store clerk down the street was alright, and seems none the worse for wear. Sammy was arrested about 10 days later (mid May 03) after his friends turned him in. (there's money in that you know) He was still in custody when the trial came up in early Feb. (9 months pre-trial custody)

He was acquitted, because, not surprisingly, the Judge didn't think it was safe to convict him on the evidence of Crackheads. After all, because of the mask V got him, I had to rely on their evidence to say it was Sammy, and not someone else.

My 3 principle witnesses lost between 6 and 10 months of each of their lives between getting into Crack and getting out. None of them had any real concept of time from the period they were doing drugs, and would often be up for a week or more at a stretch. All of them were starting over, as the drug life had taken all of their worldly possessions, her 1st child, and the trust of their families. (except one, DK, whose mother is the source of the drugs in the first place, she's still in the drug scene as far as I know)

The good side of the story is that they seem to be out of the drug world. Sammy is likely right back into it, but the experience of seeing him go away and being so close to his violent crime gave the others the motivation they needed to climb their way out.

I'm no angel, and I've done quite a few things in my life that could have kept me from being a prosecutor if I'd been caught, but with the depths I've seen people sink to, I'm really glad that I've never touched crack or Meth.

comments (23)

Crack is no different than freebase, although many a snooty white addict like David Crosby would tell you different. See my 3rd comment to Blank's post. This is bad stuff that renders otherwise strong people powerless.

by anna at February 25, 2004 10:31 PM


Crack and freebase are two terms for the same basic thing, cocaine formulated into a rock form that can be smoked. I noticed your reference to freebase in Blank's post. Freebase isn't a term used here at all. we just refer to crack.

by chuckwoolery at February 26, 2004 12:00 AM


You should read Crosby's Long Time Gone. It's a tale of his descent into drug-induced madness, but he takes time out to snipe at crack as the ghetto cousin of his drug of choice. Goddamn Marin County snob. I wonder if he ever visits the children he sired with Melissa Ethridge and her former squeeze.

by anna at February 26, 2004 7:51 AM


One of Sean's hockey teammates, who is like 40, has gotten into meth. He didn't come to their last game (to everyone's relief; the rest of them are friends that would like him off the team & don't know how to do this since he organized it), because he had gained 25 pounds in TWO DAYS. So he claimed. Can meth do this to you?

Anyway, no doubt, meth & crack aren't good for anyone. I don't really recommend coke either, it's too addictive. But all drugs are not like these. Shannon's stipulation of non-addictive is a good one, in my opinion. The drugs that I feel were just good fun experiences are pot & hallucinogens IN MODERATION.

by Linz at February 26, 2004 9:07 AM


I have NEVER heard of anyone GAINING weight while doing meth. The times I did it I wouldn't eat for days. Food wasn't even a consideration. My friends and I used to call it the "meth diet" because you could shed pounds so fast. The downside is lack of sleep and paranoia. Personally, after I come down from meth or coke, I feel dirty. There's nothing more pitiful than being up for a couple of days and going to the store early in the morning. You see all of the people who are going and doing "normal" daily activities and there you are looking like death grinding your teeth. Sad. That's one reason that these substances have no place in my life anymore.

That's what i was pointing out, or trying to, in Blank's post. Marijuana, mushrooms, hash and some others should not be classified the same as coke, meth, heroin et. al. It seems absolutely crazy. That's whyI think these classifications are made by people who have no idea of what they're talking about. They should have a classification system not unlike the DUI scale. You have five classes of DUI from one to five, one being the felony type and five the least serious. That someone should get the same time for possession of mushrooms as they would get for crack is nothing short of stupid. I have a friend who was caught with some acid in high school. He's still in jail. When they weigh acid to sentence you, they include paper weight and not just the weight of the drug itself. Pretty slick huh? All it comes down to really is the "war on drugs". It's big business and none of the agencies involved are willing to give up a penny of their funding.

by Ezy at February 26, 2004 10:30 AM


That's part of why I'm glad that Canada has moved towards decriminalization of Marijuana. It just seems like the right thing to do.

by chuckwoolery at February 26, 2004 11:13 AM


I heard someone once made the arguement that, with all the advances in science, why can't they create a drug that feels as good as cocaine (Crack, whatever), but isn't physically addictive. The answer to that question is simple - if something feels as good as that, then it is automatically addictive. If you had the choice between feeling crappy (or even normal), and feeling great with no ill effects associated with traditional drugs, why wouldn't you choose to feel good, all the time. THAT is the core of addiction, and why people can become addicted to over-eating, sex, etc.

So, to say there is any real difference between something like crack, which is obviously physically addictive, and pot which is obviously pyschologically addictive, is just silly and nothing anyone can ever say will convince me that there is a difference between the physiological withdrawl an addict feels coming off cocaine, and the physchological withdrawl an addict feels coming off pot. I've seen both, and one is no worse than the other.

by mg at February 26, 2004 11:42 AM


MG, I think there are quite a few more considerations here than just the point of addiction. All things that feel or taste good, as you stated above, have a chance of being addictive to the person using them. You can become phychologically addicted to gummy worms if you make them a habit. Food, sex, drugs, alcohol, working out, dieting are all forms of that and each one can be harmful to you in excess. Since people can become physchologically addicted to almost anything, I don't think that is a fair way to judge anything. I have also seen both withdrawls and you're telling me that physiological withdrawl is comparable to psychological withdrawl? Not in my experience. Someone who can't score any weed doesn't usually need a methodone clinic.

If addiction is to be the moral divining rod then why aren't alcohol and tobacco illegal? I don't have numbers on this but doesn't tobacco kill more people per year than all other drugs combined, in the US? They have, or had in the tobacco companies case, the money and power to lobby Washington politicians. Marijuana doesn't, yet.

by Ezy at February 26, 2004 12:16 PM


I've seen people exhibit the signs of severe depression because they couldn't get pot. Don't belittle that by comparing it to not getting gumi worms.

And, addiction isn't even the moral issue here. Everyone seemed to jump on MrB. because he didn't want to do harder drugs, and felt differently about people who he found out did. You wouldn't jump on someone because they say, decided the way they wanted to lose weight through diet and exercise, not sticking a finger down his throat. My point was that just because some drugs aren't physically addictive doesn't mean they aren't harmful and a short cut to happiness, the same way that purging is harmful and a short cut to weight loss.

Tobacco does kills more people than other drugs combined. Okay, I'll agree with that. But why does it - because it is more harmful than crack, or because it is more available thann crack? Plus, the short term effects of harder drugs are such that not many people have a 30 year span doing meth. Either rehab, jail, or death stop that from hapening.

Now, instead of saying that because tobacco kills, and it should be illegal, your arguement seems to be that because that pot or lsd kill less people, that pot and lsd should be legal. Does that make ANY sense? If anything, I'd rather tobacco and alcohol be made illegal than decriminalization of any of the currently illegal drugs.

by mg at February 26, 2004 12:50 PM


MG, I have seen people exibit signs of severe depression when they started a diet and couldn't eat what they wanted to. I'm not trying to belittle physocological addiction. I'm just saying that, with all of the things a person can become physchologically addicted to, is it the drugs doing it or the person? I have a friend who used to freak out when weed dried up or he ran out of money. He would become agitated, restless, and couldn't sleep among other things. He never knocked off a convienience store to support his habit as I have seen other physiologically addicted people do, though. He no longer smokes marijuana. If he was physiologically addicted, I don't think he'd have been able to quit as easily as he did. I think there is a distinct difference between the two addictions and I think physiological addiction is, by far, much harder to kick and much more dangerous.

Yea, you're right. Alcohol and tobacco have nothing to do with any of this. They're legal. I'm not saying that LSD or mushrooms should be legal. I just find it ridiculous that something that is less harmful than alcohol or cigarettes (marijuana) is illegal. It doesn't make sense. The amount of money the government could stand to make through taxes would far outweigh the federal handouts to the drug warriors and they'd still have coke, heroin and the other nasties to wage combat on.

I don't think anyone here jumped on Blank for not doing harder drugs. I believe it was the comment about thinking he knew the people and now having a different view of them because they tried harder things that prompted the comments. I would never hold any pre-conceived notions about someone who had only tried marijuana or nothing at all. I just don't think it's fair for someone to have them about those who have.

by Ezy at February 26, 2004 1:41 PM


What’s ironic when it comes to nicotine vs. alcohol vs. marijuana is, as many have pointed out, that marijuana is less harmful than drugs A and B, yet illegal. I have mixed feelings when it comes to marijuana... I feel like it is psychologically addictive as well as physically addictive, to some extent. A good friend of mine smokes weed all the time, and when he came to visit me abroad a couple of years ago, he quit smoking during his visit. Food just went straight through him, and he got a couple of migraines the first week he quit. He got his hands on some weed after that first week, and all of the symptoms went away.
I do, however, feel like it has definitely medicinal value. I have another friend who has 2 diseases, both which cause pain. One affects her nerves, the other affects her muscles. When she gets an attack, she can really only function after she’s had a few hits. Otherwise, she just stays in bed in pain all day.
When the government classifies drugs in its drug schedules, they take into consideration both addictiveness and medicinal value of various drugs.... this makes me question why alcohol, nicotine and marijuana are classified as they currently are. What’s the big difference? Nicotine is extremely addictive and has very little medicinal value, whereas marijuana is a lot less addictive and does (arguably) have some medicinal value. I don’t really get it.
I also agree with some people around here that certain drugs shouldn’t carry the penalties that they do, but that’s a whole different subject.

by Leaffin at February 26, 2004 3:27 PM


This is all pretty heavy. Let me share this: MG isn't the 1st MG I've heard of. When I went to junior college in the middle of nowhere, me and Roger were experiencing similar weed withdrawal problems. Word filtered through that an old, decrepit guy named MG could fix us up. We drove down these winding country road and located his trailer. Turns out he was an old-time moonshiner who'd branched out when he realized the college could be a lucrative market. There'd be cars lined up in his driveway, and he'd hobble around making deals with the students like a hooker. If you bought more than an ounce, he'd throw in a pint of shine.

One day we showed up there and were informed that he'd been arrested by the Feds on moonshine charges. His dad, who had to be 90, sold us a bag. We dealt with him for months.

Both of them were teetotallers. No weed, no shine, no nothing. It's just business, after all.

by anna at February 26, 2004 6:37 PM


Moonshiners... awesome. Makes me think of Dolly Parton: "Daddy's moonshine still was good for nothing but to break Mama's heart and to tear our home apart, make our lives a living hell."

The thing about the Feds... reminds me of high school (the early '90s) when there was a lot of illegal software trafficking using dialup modem connections. You'd hear about Fed busts through Usenet or Fidonet, where the Feds come in, wreck the houses of these teenagers, and take everything, not just computers, but TVs, VCRs, even toasters, just to bully the kids and their families. Never stopped anyone from setting up a new site, though. The reward there was in the notoriety, but it's funny how these things go.

by jean at February 26, 2004 7:00 PM


what is so great about this crack junk, it takes from your emotions it takes your energy it hurts your children and the probem seems to never go away. if you can't stop for your family do it for yourself. your image decreases your ability to live a great an fun life just flys by, u lose ur teeth, your ability for sex, you become a joke to everybody, life is worth more don't you think so??? wake up guys an gals life is already to short so why help the rush..

by natasha at October 19, 2005 10:49 PM


i have been in a crisis centre in scotland for the past three days each day is trying and i have wanted to leave a couple of times but my partner is keeping my spirits high from his phone calls to be honest i dont know if it was crack or ice i have been taking mabey i will get through this but if i dont please look into and research what you are going to take because if you dont your world may come crashing in

by siobhan jaggard at January 18, 2006 10:00 AM


I need help, i've been doing crack for about 15 days none stop and before that every weekend. I am now off work on sick leave (that's my excuse) so now I have more time to sit and smoke. I am a single Mother of two boys who I have been neglecting. I have not paid my bills since Dec and have recieved dissconnetion notices on everything. I have spent $7000 since Dec and all of it is credit and now im going to lose my house, my kids, my job and the respect of my frineds and family. I look in the mirror and I still see myself and talk to the girl who 4 monts ago was radiant and beautiful fighting the guys away, now i look like a homeless person who ia about to shrivel away to nothing. It was my son's 7th b-day party last night at my parents house. I had my ex drop the kids off at my parents and then I call over to say that I was sick and couldn't make it. Meanwhile I sat here and smoked about $800 worth of crack and still want more. I need help and I don't know where to begin without letting anyone in on this. If my ex finds out I'll lose my kids forsure. But then again maybe i need too.....

by Terry at March 12, 2006 5:44 PM


Anything is possible, you just have to put down the crack pipe,be strong, and seek help and support of others. Not all is lost!

by Dan at August 29, 2007 2:34 PM


Anything is possible, you just have to put down the crack pipe,be strong, and seek help and support of others. Not all is lost!

You just have to put your mind to it

by Dan at August 29, 2007 2:35 PM


I've done crack a couple of times in the past 2 - 3 years, mainly as a recreational drug with sex. it's nice, though I have to consciously know when to pull away. I think it takes deep inner strength to know when to say no or perhaps you think I'm deluding myself and gradually getting sucked in? I don't think so, too beautiful, too vain, conscious of my looks and also I have absolutely no one, so if I fall: I'm doomed and I didn't go through all I went through in life to fall now. No - one EVER believed in me my whole life, I had to believe in myself, educate myself and made myself into the success I am today. Noticed the last time I smoked alone, I just got bored and didn't get more as I normally would've. Initially, I was afraid to try it because I was petrified of becoming an addict cos then I was a chronic smoker who had been smoking cigarrettes and theh occasional since I was about 15 yrs old. One day I woke up and said no more and quit on the 27th of May 2004 (I was 27) and I told myself, if I can quit cigarrettes, then I have more inner strength than I give myself credit for (I quit for my looks). It's bad enough we have to get old, but why push the envelope? I think the best way to stay grounded and avoid becoming an addict is to look a strong motivating factor that you know you can't give up on ; for me it is vanity, once in a while, I guess one can indulge when you just want to get kinky, wild and crazy, but the rest of the time, I'd rather shop with the money, go to the spa or just indulge my dog. I'm a Business Development Consultant today and also a writer who has suffered homelessness, rejection, neglect, poverty. So it would be foolish of me after surviving all that to now fall, by my own hands.

by Shawanga at September 10, 2007 2:13 AM


Unfortunately not all of us have the looks, skill, intelligence, self-esteem,or pulchritudinous qualities that others have and therefore, because most people tend to treat and love the attractive persons with more fondness, the support of friends is not always there. we might find ourselves alone and cocaine can bring out the negative emotions when iunder the influence or when in withdrawal from it. Then there are the drugs that mask these complex aspects of our emotions, such as heroine. However, when in withdrawal from H it causes all the emotions that were masked to rush to the surface and attack at once and overcome you. People without the support of others or the approval that some have may fall victim to that and be unable to recover as with the same ease. I have found that cocaine produces the tendency to continue without the same effects where as heroine eventually causes you to fall asleep so the excesses of the magnitude that coke may cause are not there. The day after syndrome, which with coke are overwhelimingly depressing and might cause a reluctance to repeat or start again and fall into the circle are immediately obviou. On the other hand, heroine becomes less and less effective over a longer period of time and you wind up needing more just to feel normal, without the benefit of a high. So the downward spiral may be slower than with cocaine. My main point is that people with low self esteem (and low self esteem is not always the victims fault) are more susceptible to addiction to any substance but perhaps more susceptible to the heroine high since it effectively masks the sensitivity to other people's criticisms. (It makes them self-confident in a sense)

by Tony at April 6, 2008 8:59 PM


Unfortunately not all of us have the looks, skill, intelligence, self-esteem,or pulchritudinous qualities that others have and therefore, because most people tend to treat and love the attractive persons with more fondness, the support of friends is not always there. we might find ourselves alone and cocaine can bring out the negative emotions while under the influence or when in withdrawal from it. Then there are the drugs that mask these complex aspects of our emotions, such as heroine. However, when in withdrawal from H it causes all the emotions that were masked to rush to the surface and attack at once and overcome you. People without the support of others or the approval that some have may fall victim to that and be unable to recover as with the same ease. I have found that cocaine produces the tendency to continue without the same effects where as heroine eventually causes you to fall asleep so the excesses of the magnitude that coke may cause are not there. The day after syndrome, which with coke are overwhelimingly depressing and might cause a reluctance to repeat or start again and fall into the circle are immediately obviou. On the other hand, heroine becomes less and less effective over a longer period of time and you wind up needing more just to feel normal, without the benefit of a high. So the downward spiral may be slower than with cocaine. My main point is that people with low self esteem (and low self esteem is not always the victims fault) are more susceptible to addiction to any substance but perhaps more susceptible to the heroine high since it effectively masks the sensitivity to other people's criticisms. (It makes them self-confident in a sense)

by Tony at April 6, 2008 9:02 PM


Unfortunately not all of us have the looks, skill, intelligence, self-esteem,or pulchritudinous qualities that others have and therefore, because most people tend to treat and love the attractive persons with more fondness, the support of friends is not always there. we might find ourselves alone and cocaine can bring out the negative emotions while under the influence or when in withdrawal from it. Then there are the drugs that mask these complex aspects of our emotions, such as heroine. However, when in withdrawal from heroine it causes all the emotions that were masked to rush to the surface and attack at once and overcome you. People without the support of others or the approval that some have may fall victim to that and be unable to recover as with the same ease. I have found that cocaine produces the tendency to continue without the same effects where as heroine eventually causes you to fall asleep so the excesses of the magnitude that coke may cause are not there. The day after syndrome, which with coke are overwhelimingly depressing and might cause a reluctance to repeat or start again and fall into the circle are immediately obviou. On the other hand, heroine becomes less and less effective over a longer period of time and you wind up needing more just to feel normal, without the benefit of a high. So the downward spiral may be slower than with cocaine. My main point is that people with low self esteem (and low self esteem is not always the victims fault) are more susceptible to addiction to any substance but perhaps more susceptible to the heroine high since it effectively masks the sensitivity to other people's criticisms. (It makes them self-confident in a sense)

by Tony at April 6, 2008 9:04 PM


Hey all,
I can appreciate the difficulty of getting out of the habit. Some are able to manage it and still acheive success. I know a dental surgeon that parties and cokes up with the boys every weekend. I know and am related to several potheads that have done very well for themselves and are the type that can go til 4am and be ready for work at 7am. The understanding here is moderation and possibly managing timing the dosages. This is a very big responsibility that isn't taught anywhere. Well, the booze companies are smart enough to say "please drink responsibly" which is better than nothing. In the drug world, as bad as the degenerate dealers are, maybe there some level of recognition that should be passed on the ones that can see a customer going down the wrong road and step up to say, "hey, buddy, you need help." Sounds idealistic but I know a couple gents who do go the extra mile to provide such assistance. Anyways, my greatest concern is this cocaethylene that the liver produces when coke & booze are consumed together. Scary stuff that the governments should get on spreading awareness. As far as gaining weight mentioned earlier in this discussion (2004), those that are recreational users that are able to use and go many months will suffer food cravings after going a day or two of not eating and getting back on the wagon of sobriety and thus gaining weight.

Thanks for reading.

All the best to you all,

Guy

by Guy at April 20, 2008 6:26 AM



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