What would happen if I did heroin just once?
November 7, 2009 9:58 PM   Subscribe

Gimme an H! or, What Would Happen if I Did Heroin Just Once?

I'm just really curious.

DISCLAIMER: Don't worry, there is absolutely zero chance of me doing heroin any time soon. I'm not depressed -- I actually tend to run along on a pretty even keel, and I think most people would describe me as calm and cheerful. Also I get random drug tests. Damn you Uncle Sam! Anyway, I've never even done pot.

ALSO, I definitely do not have a naturally addictive personality. I enjoy poker once a month, been to a casino once, drink moderately with no real urge to do it more often, etc. Just not an obsessive guy!

So, what would it be like? And would doing it just once change me into a different person, a person who WANTED to do it a lot?

Help me shoot up vicariously!
posted by Alaska Jack to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (33 answers total)
Erowid provides vicariously, so you don't have to. It ought to be noted, in addition, that "doing heroin" would most likely mean "doing whatever shit got sold to you as heroin".

The social history of opium and opiates, bound with all sorts of imperial ventures, makes for interesting reading. Opium has been described as the perfect drug, though that comes at a heavy cost.
posted by holgate at 10:07 PM on November 7, 2009 [3 favorites]

Have you taken any opiates? Morphine, codeine, oxycodone (percodan or percocet, most likely), vicodin, dilaudid, etc.? These are the standard drugs for serious pain treatment. Heroin is pretty much like them, but with shitty dosage control, so you might puke or kill yourself when you shoot it. Probably better off snorting or smoking.

Physical addiction (i.e. with actual withdrawal symptoms) wouldn't happen after a single use. But you might like it a lot. Some people do. The insidious thing about opiate addiction is the combination of tolerance (you need more and more to get the same effect) and the awful withdrawal syndrome (your body tries to compensate for the inability to feel pain by making more pain receptors, so when you stop taking the drug that killed all the pain, it hurts like hell).
posted by mr_roboto at 10:17 PM on November 7, 2009

I don't know what would happen, but I wouldn't be so sure you'd only do it once, and there's no way to find out until you do it.
posted by rhizome at 10:32 PM on November 7, 2009

Long ago in a galaxy far away I did this once. It wasn't much fun, in my opinion. We had some pretty decent stuff that did what heroin was supposed to do. I didn't take a large dose, but felt the warm rush and euphoria. Music was enjoyable, but less so than on marijuana or LSD. I'm normally a pretty aware of myself/surroundings so I didn't really take to the whole blanket on my senses thing that was happening. I had what I thought at the time were interesting visions and insights, but I was too fazed to communicate them. Reflecting upon them the next day, they seemed rather trite compared to things I experienced on mushrooms. I also didn't really have any major pain issues of any sort so it didn't really feel like anything was being relieved. Later on, I vomited in a grocery bag. So there's that. All in all, it was not something I was eager to return to. I enjoyed smoking opium much more. But, again, that was all in a galaxy long gone. Save the opiates for wounded people.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:37 PM on November 7, 2009 [3 favorites]

I agree with the snort/smoke route. I've done tons of drugs here and there but still refused to ever use a needle. I've been homeless in a squat with a room full of shot up junkies and it's totally not a pretty sight.

As for effects... I smoked a Tootsie Roll size chunk over 3 or 4 days. You crease a piece of aluminum foil, put a little rabbit turd ball at the top and hold a lighter under the bottom, it will melt and start to run down the crease giving of a whitish smoke, hence "chasing the white dragon" Then i would curl up into a little ball on the bed for several hours. It is mostly bliss. I knew I could never do it again, and haven't. This was about 20 years ago.

If you have access to a good college library, you can find good research studies on the effects before you try. I always looked up stuff before I would think about trying it.

Opium is pretty cool too, another thing I only did once.
posted by zengargoyle at 10:41 PM on November 7, 2009

I'll add that I was once prescribed diamorphine (i.e. pharmaceutical heroin) for acute pain, and the experience on top of the analgesia is one of bodily warmth and heaviness, combined with mental lightness. It was as if my body sank a little, while my conscious self stayed in place.

Not trippy, not giggly, not social, no opening the mind to a higher consciousness. It is the tightest, warmest, softest, most enveloping blanket against both your body's capacity for pain and the world beyond. And it carries its addictive potential very, very openly.
posted by holgate at 11:01 PM on November 7, 2009

Mr Roboto -

No, I've never taken any opiates, although I do have an untouched bottle of percoset hidden away somewhere. Is that an opiate? Because I just got a message from a friend that totally makes me feel like downing the whole bottle :^)
posted by Alaska Jack at 11:13 PM on November 7, 2009

...downing the whole bottle
But just once, right?
posted by artdrectr at 11:53 PM on November 7, 2009 [2 favorites]

I must say, when I had versed for my vasectomy the experience after I started to come out of it was one of a beautiful, colorful world of pure joy and lightness. I have never experienced anything like it and (honestly) hope that it stays that way. It was a uniquely pleasant feeling and I happened to encounter friends just after, while I was still floating, and to this day they tell me it is the happiest they have ever seen me.
posted by rr at 11:56 PM on November 7, 2009

artdrectr: "But just once, right?"

That'll pretty much do it, yeah.
posted by Wasabunchi at 12:25 AM on November 8, 2009

You OK, Jack? That last comment was a little scary.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:26 AM on November 8, 2009 [4 favorites]

SpontaneousH on Reddit actually tried heroin just once even though he had never really done anything other drugs before, other than pot. It's ok though, it was just a one time deal and he talks about what it is like here. Ok, so maybe he tried it a few more times, but really, doing it for two weeks is not a sign of addiction or anything. It certainly didn't lead him to try other nasty drugs either. Now he has started suboxone treatment to get himself clean.

Heroine is awful.
posted by idiotfactory at 1:14 AM on November 8, 2009 [4 favorites]

I came here to mention the SpontaneousH reddit saga, so I'll just nth idiotfactory.
posted by asciident at 1:40 AM on November 8, 2009

Smoke rather than snort. If you have vaguely pure stuff and are far enough removed from potential sources (as seems likely) the health effects of one dose are negligible. However, if you are really tempted to make this a reality, I would recommend trying oxycodone as it's available at pharmaceutical grade, is relatively easy to obtain and closely approximates the effects of heroin.
posted by turkeyphant at 3:00 AM on November 8, 2009

There are thousands of junkies who thought they could beat the rap with *just* snorting, or just using oxy - or whatever deal they made up in their little brains - but you know what? Those poor patsies are hooked to the gills now, shooting up 5 times a day and still can't get a decent fix. There are no shortcuts, there is no easy street and there is no *just a little* - it's a lie and one wonders about the motives of anyone who'd suggest you do it.
posted by watercarrier at 3:13 AM on November 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

and there is no *just a little*
I'm sorry, and not trying to pick a fight, but this is hyperbolic bs. I get addicted to just about anything including iced tea, and I did heroin, just the once, some 10 years ago. I loved it, but not enough to become a junkie. This is not to suggest that you try it. The percocet you have will pretty much give you the same high, but you need to chew a couple, and I don't recommend that either...
posted by dawson at 3:25 AM on November 8, 2009 [2 favorites]

I'm sorry, and not trying to pick a fight, but this is hyperbolic bs.

Sounds like you're advocating using. That's not cool. Your not getting hooked after once is your own experience - others have had very different beginnings with substance abuse and addiction and yes, all it did take was once. I would tread very lightly and carefully on this subject, especially in light of the fact that there is a relatively large audience that reads these forums and could decide based on your cavalier attitude that there's absolutely nothing wrong in experimenting with opiates when in fact the numbers and the casualties paint an entirely different scenario.
posted by watercarrier at 3:42 AM on November 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

Nthing Dawson. I have not done heroin, or much else, however I have worked in advocacy for alcohol and other drug peak bodies. Heroin's status as super-drug and addictive substance par excellence is mainly marketing.

I have heard and worked with drug policy advisors who will tell you in all seriousness that cigarettes are more addictive than heroin. I'm not saying that's the case, but it's an argument you could confidently make. One hit of heroin will not make you addicted more than one drink, one cigarette, one whatever. If you become addicted to a drug, the drug is a symptom of an underlying disease - the disease most usually being having a shithouse life with little prospect of change and/or mental illness. If either of these conditions are present, I strongly recommend avoiding drug use of any type.

Regarding health effects, assuming you get relatively "clean" heroin (not impossible, but quite hard, at least here in Australia), there will be nothing long term, and practically nothing short term (l present to the jury one william s burroughs, did H for most of his life, lived to his eighties). Those advocating smoking are correct in that dosage its much easier control (self-titrate) - indeed, smoking heroin is the route that the vast majority of users take before injection, though I suspect the rising popularity of injected meth/amphetamine may affect this.

As for the feelings, well, I could only pass on other people's descriptions.
posted by smoke at 3:43 AM on November 8, 2009

I meant to be clear about not advocating, thus the not recommending it. Don't do it, but not because OMG you will wind up a junkie in mere seconds if you do...there are certainly better reasons to abstain.
posted by dawson at 3:50 AM on November 8, 2009

there's absolutely nothing wrong in experimenting with opiates when in fact the numbers and the casualties paint an entirely different scenario.

This is untrue. It may shock you, but by far most people who try heroin do not become addicted, and most people who take heroin once do not hurt themselves seriously or permanently.

This is not to paint it as a risk-free proposition, nor to say there are no dangers with drug use, both inherent and associated. But this idea of one hit (non) wonders is basically Reefer Madness for the 21st Century.

For those interested in learning about drugs from non-bias reseachers with a slightly heavier clout than Erowide, visit the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre. It's Australian, but there's lots of info that will be of interest to anyone in the world.
posted by smoke at 3:52 AM on November 8, 2009

What Would Happen if I Did Heroin Just Once?

If you're anything like me, you'll get really drowsy and flake out in front of 80s metal night on Rage and wake up realising that that was a big waste of sixty bucks.
posted by turgid dahlia at 4:13 AM on November 8, 2009

gosh. dude asked what it would be like. they weren't asking for some big lecture on what a bad idea it is. and it seems to me none, or not many of you, know the answer to that question. everyone knows that it's a bad idea- you'd have to be at the deep end of obliviousness not to have picked that up in your time on earth.

heroin is a wild, woolly dream of absent minded weirdness and narcky benevolence. utter relaxation and twitchy irritability. nose scratching, pupil constricting fun wrapped in a nightmare of psychopathic self indulgence. it's lovely.. and it's wretched and horrible. and it's not for everyone. if you are in pain, be it psychic or physical pain, it's instant, blessed, merciful relief from all that ails you. you retreat into a self-contained little hidey hole where nothing affects you- you're ambivalent to everything, you don't really care about anything outside your immediate surrounds. if someone is getting on your nerves, it'll be nearly unbearable if they're around, but if they aren't... well, they don't exist. there's this full body prickly numb feeling. don't even try to get to sleep- i've always found that nearly impossible. it's also quite subliminal, in a way. first timers often won't even notice what effect it's having on them- just like they often say about your first time smoking pot. in the right dosage, though, you'll know what's going on.. (but there's an old junky saying- "better two holes in the arm, than one in the ground".. better to take it easy, not hit it up too hard or too quick, and you'll be alright.) Even experienced users can have no idea how much it's effecting them- which can lead to some embarassing (later on.. not at the time, cos at the time it doesn't even occur to you) situations when out in public. expect to casually vomit- just turn your head a spew on the footpath as your stroll in a reverie down the road.. and expect to be hellishly grumpy the following day. don't do it two days in a row. especially don't do it three. watch out! a month will pass, and you will have spent a little patch of every day waiting for the man.

fuck heroin. it's a hell of a drug.
posted by Philby at 4:17 AM on November 8, 2009 [7 favorites]

I must say, when I had versed for my vasectomy the experience after I started to come out of it was one of a beautiful, colorful world of pure joy and lightness.

Versed is not an opiate - it's a dissociative. Just so things are clear. (It's been an interesting and not-unpleasant experience the times I've had it before surgery - enough so to convince me that I'd never touch the stuff outside of medical supervision.)
posted by spaceman_spiff at 6:30 AM on November 8, 2009

friend of mine from aa told me once about his first time with heroin (he was cross addicted, alcohol + just about any other drug known to man). he was a musician, and as a kid (teenager) started playing with a local band, which would occasionally go out on the road. the rest of the band was older, more seasoned, most of them using heroin. he said he *begged* them to let him try it, but they were smart enough to keep refusing. until one night. someone fixed him. he said he immediately threw up, went into the sweats, & spent a miserable night with the high. but also that even as he was throwing up, he knew he would do it again. it was years later when he was in the market, but he ended up a slave to the needle for quite a number of years.

on the other hand, i know a guy who used to do it recreationally. his sister was a junkie so he had the hookup. called it his vacation. he'd have a weekend off, shoot up, and spend the next two days high. lost track of him through the years, but i do know that he was going on vacation quite a bit when last i heard.
posted by msconduct at 6:30 AM on November 8, 2009

Was given morphine in hospital. Had been in physical pain, that ended. Had been anxious, that ended. Had a general sense of there being no problems, which was pleasant, but no euphoria or stimulation. Enjoyed the relief.
posted by eccnineten at 7:14 AM on November 8, 2009 [2 favorites]

PS: and later, much vomiting. No headache, no addiction, no craving but when it wire off much vomiting. Problemlessness feeling and pain relef lasted hours, perhaps.
posted by eccnineten at 7:19 AM on November 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

What I liked best about heroin is that it quieted my mind. Minds are very noisy and don't come with decent volume control knobs. I can certainly understand how some people might want to do it again and again. It's like wanting to quit one's job. Most of us want to from time to time, but most of us also know not to do so just because we feel like it.
posted by Obscure Reference at 7:30 AM on November 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

Further reading - How To Stop Time: Heroin From A to Z.
posted by forallmankind at 7:37 AM on November 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

What holgate said. "....it carries its addictive potential very, very openly."
I've only had the heavy opiates when in hospital, and one time when I was injected with morphine I felt my body relieved from all pain sinking into a cobalt blue cloud of fluff and bliss as the nurse pulled the blinds and turned off BBC saying "no point in keeping this on you're just going to be stoned anyway". I was too stoned to even protest.
posted by dabitch at 8:02 AM on November 8, 2009

Hi everyone, original poster here. Jessamyn kindly unlocked this thread so I can clarify that I was totally joking about the percoset. Just a spur-of-the-moment comment that I didn't stop to think how it could be misinterpreted! (I do have a bottle of percoset, but I;ve had it for months because I simply have no urge to take it.) I'd just gotten an emotionally overwhelming email from a friend, but it was overwhelming in a good way, and i was too rattled to think straight. Sincere apologies for causing undue alarm. I will be more careful in the future!

Alaska Jack
posted by Alaska Jack at 8:50 AM on November 9, 2009

You should add "heroin" to the tags.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:58 AM on November 9, 2009

What Would Happen if I Did Heroin Just Once?

If you're like me, you'd go off on the nod and wake up with your wallet stolen.
posted by battleshipkropotkin at 9:51 AM on November 9, 2009

"Heroin is so good, you don't even want to try it once." - Richard Pryor
posted by John Borrowman at 2:25 PM on November 9, 2009

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