What is a “junkie”? Where did that word even stem from you may ask. Well it originated back in the early 1900's when people called heroin “junk”. The word “Junkie” is defined as a drug addict, someone with a compulsive habit or obsessive dependency on something. It’s also defined as a person who gets an unusual amount of pleasure or interest from something. The term “Junkie” is also used as a derogatory lable for some a person who is a IV heroin user, (uses needles).
It is said that “junkies” fall into a unique drug user classification. It’s been said that junkies are addicts who use and manipulate others to further benefit their own habit. Some say a “Junkie” is just a chaotic mess with whom nobody in their right mind would wish to be seen with. It is said that a “Junkie” has no friends and burns bridges left and right. That may be true, but in all reality there are people who aren’t “junkies” who don’t have any friends, maybe from a social fobia, and bridges are burnt between people and relationships even when drugs aren’t involved. It has been said that all “Junkies” are “addicts” but not all “addicts” are “junkies”. Their logical reasoning behind that is that an “addict” is somebody whose issues cause them to suffer when their drug of choice is withdrawn from them. Many think “Junkie” are poly drug -abusers, someone who uses multiple drugs such a heroin, Xanax and meth, opposed to most “addicts” who have one drug of choice. I have known many, many users who are poly-users, probably more then users who use just one substance.
The media has done a fine job in exploiting the image of what a “Junkie” is, but only for its own advancement and benefit. You see ads posted on social media stating how chemo isn’t free for cancer patients but Narcan is free for opioid users aka “Junkies”. Truth is, Narcan isn’t always free. Yes it is handed out on the streets at no cost, which is part of today’s harm reduction coalition, but what people don’t understand is we have an epidemic on our hands that is killing more people then gun shots and Vietnam war combined .
Every 12.5 minutes someone overdoses and dies. If that “Junkie” who dies isn’t your loved one, you wouldn’t understand the true importance of making sure Narcan is readily available at all costs. That “Junkie” isn’t deserving of a life saving antidote, they made the choice to use and so let that “Junkie” die. But have you ever stopped and thought about who and what that “junkie” truly is? Or do you just go with what society says?
Well while you ponder on that thought, let me tell you who and what a “Junkie” really is.
That "Junkie" is someone's child, someone's fiance, someone's brother, sister, mom or dad. That "Junkie" is someone who has a substance abuse disorder. That “Junkie” is a human being with thoughts and feelings just like you and me. That "Junkie" made a bad choice at one point in their life to use a substance without knowing what effects it would have on their brain. Nor did they know that it would destroy their life and eventually one day end their life. That one bad choice led to a life full of shame, guilt, depression and years in prison. That "Junkie" is someone in need of help. Someone who in all actuality is very smart, loving, compassionate, funny, and artistic. That "Junkie" does NOT deserve to have jokes made about them or pictures made stating that their lives aren't worth saving with Narcan. That creates STIGMA and STIGMA KILLS.. Some have said Narcan enables a junkies drug use, when in fact all Narcan enables is breathing and life.
So next time you hear someone use the word “Junkie”, politely remind them who “THAT JUNKIE” really is. For me, that "Junkie" is my boyfriend, a beautiful blue eyed man whos smile lit up the room when he walked in. He’s the funny guy who kept you laughing during your time in prison together. He is a person with feelings, a person with hopes and dreams, just like you and me. He is someone’s child. He is not a “Junkie”. He is a person who battled every day of his life with a drug that eventually took his life. That “Junkie” you said didn’t deserve to live, is my guiding angel above, may he forever rest in peace. Stop the stigma. Save a life instead.
IN LOVING MEMORY OF
06/08/1983 ~ 12/03/2017
Join the conversation, become a Fix blogger. Share your experience, strength, and hope, or sound off on the issues affecting the addiction/recovery community. Create your account and start writing: https://www.thefix.com/add-community-content.