Question about Requiem for a Dream & shooting up.
November 16, 2007 10:32 AM   Subscribe

I was re-watching Requiem for a Dream last night, and there was a line in there that I realized that I never really understood.

Harry & Tyrone are driving to Florida, and they stop to shoot up. Harry's 'needle arm' is badly infected.
Tyrone asks "you're not going to shoot in that, are you?", to which Harry replies something along the lines of "I'll blow it otherwise."
(then he shoots up the infected arm.)

Can anyone elaborate what "blow it" meant?
Or why a junkie would continue to shoot up in an infected arm instead of using their other arm?
posted by Tbola to Media & Arts (18 answers total)
 
I've read the book as well but I think you can gather this just from the movie.

It was the only vein he could ever get a needle into and inject properly. So, he just kept using it.

I think that the drugs don't have the intended effect if they are just injected into muscle.
posted by utsutsu at 10:34 AM on November 16, 2007


unless he meant that if he used the other arm he may blow a vein. Blowing a vein means when you go through the vein when inserting a needle. That could happen if he isn't used to using the other hand. That is my guess at least.
posted by slc228 at 10:45 AM on November 16, 2007


why a junkie would continue to shoot up in an infected arm instead of using their other arm?

because that movie is utterly unrealistic to the point of becoming a comedy.
posted by drjimmy11 at 10:46 AM on November 16, 2007 [4 favorites]


Maybe in the same way they keep saline going through an IV to keep the vein open?

OR maybe it's just druggie talk?
posted by sondrialiac at 10:46 AM on November 16, 2007


I think he means "blow it" as in mess it up. Like brushing your teeth left handed.
posted by electroboy at 10:47 AM on November 16, 2007


I have neither seen the movie nor read the book, but my initial thought is that he fears that the vein will be "blown" -- it will scar over and he'll be unable to shoot up in this spot again -- if he doesn't shoot up often in the infected spot. (This isn't medically sound, but junkie logic rarely is.) This would be an especially major concern if many of his other veins have already been blown and he doesn't have any good spots to hit.

On preview, utsutsu is right. In this case it sounds like the character is using "blown" to mean he'll miss the vein and hit the muscle -- which means he'd waste the drugs. Or at least not get the feeling he's looking for.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:52 AM on November 16, 2007


Heroin can be both snorted (like coke or blow) or smoked too.
posted by bitdamaged at 11:07 AM on November 16, 2007


"I think that the drugs don't have the intended effect if they are just injected into muscle."

Wrong. Kurt Cobain was a proponent of intramuscular injection. There is a difference, in that the drugs take longer to take effect (I've heard it compared to eating pot rather than smoking it), but the "blow it" in this context most likely refers to blowing the vein, not the drugs.
posted by klangklangston at 11:16 AM on November 16, 2007


I took it to mean that if he tried to shoot up left-handed, he'd mess up and render the vein on his good side unusable.
posted by Addlepated at 11:25 AM on November 16, 2007


Well *I* think's he's just saying that if he tries to use his left hand he'll screw up and waste the dose.
posted by Flashman at 11:32 AM on November 16, 2007


klangklangston, the drugs in question are injected partly for the rush, so IM's slower kinetics would be blowing it.
posted by Mr. Gunn at 11:36 AM on November 16, 2007


However, successful intramuscular injection -- both in preperation and injection -- should be different than trying to hit one's vein. So even if somebody wanted to go the Cobain-approved route, it isn't something you'd decide half way through -- like "Who cares if I miss my vein -- I'll still eventually enjoy it?" **

But anyway, the OP was correct in their assumption -- despite the fact that heroin can be take through the muscle, a junkie desperate for a fix would more than likely avoid that route because it lacks the rush and would take too long.

**Not implying that you were saying that but I wouldn't want some dumbass who goes looking for their drug information online - and God knows, there are more than a few -- googling there way here and get the wrong impression.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:37 AM on November 16, 2007


From argot.com:

  • Blow a fix - injection misses the vein and is wasted in the skin
  • blow a shot - injection misses the vein and is wasted in the skin
    blow the vein - injection misses the vein and is wasted in the skin

  • posted by jasper411 at 11:55 AM on November 16, 2007


    I always thought exactly what utsutsu said. He knows it works that way, and doing it another way would waste the drug. It fits the theme of the films: as painful as disgusting as it is to shoot into the infected arm, he does it anyway to get the effect.
    posted by The Deej at 2:12 PM on November 16, 2007


    Yeah, blowing a shot means not hitting the vein, missing out on the IV rush and getting slow subcutaneous absorption instead.
    posted by The Straightener at 3:07 PM on November 16, 2007


    Thanks for the answers - and my apologies to drjimmy11 for asking a question about a movie that is not up to his standards.
    posted by Tbola at 5:19 PM on November 16, 2007


    "Yeah, blowing a shot means not hitting the vein, missing out on the IV rush and getting slow subcutaneous absorption instead."

    Luckily, all of the addicts I've known have been dilettantes (or dead). Good to learn, I guess.
    posted by klangklangston at 5:30 PM on November 16, 2007


    You "re-watched" this movie?!?

    I enjoyed watching it, but I could not bring myself to watch it again. Perhaps you are a stronger person than I am.
    posted by unceman at 11:06 AM on November 19, 2007


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