I came from a very abusive family and at the age of 11 I was removed from my home by the authorities and put into a refuge. I quickly made friends with the older boys and they showed me the life of drugs and crime. When I was 12 I had my first shot of speed and I couldn’t get enough of it. Not long after, I was involved in a robbery to fund my addiction and was caught for it.
I went to boys’ homes and made more friends who took me in and looked after me better than anyone had ever done. I was soon released to another refuge only to meet more people all doing the same sort of thing. I was caught in, and addicted to, this viscous cycle of drugs, crime, boys’ homes and refuges. By the time I was 18 I had made quite a name for myself. I had a lengthy criminal record and although I had tried most drugs there was one drug that was yet to make its impact on my life.
At 18 I had my first shot of heroin. One of my mates was addicted and was around every day doing crime with me and eventually I gave in to temptation. I didn’t really feel it the first time and didn’t know what all the hype was about. The second and every other time after that is a different story. I used heroin for weeks and it wasn’t until I went without it for two days that I realised what a jack rabbit (habit) was all about.
For two years I was at rock bottom. Stealing anything off anyone, getting money any way possible for my next fix. I was with a girl and we were going nowhere. Depression set in; looking back over the years I started thinking what’s the point? The jacks raided my place, looking for me 11 times in one week for a ram raid they alleged I was involved in. I realised I couldn’t go on living like this anymore. I told my girl to pack her things if she wanted to come with me. I sold all the stuff in the house and found a car in a vacant lot. I put new wheels on it, redid the head gasket and gave it a clean.
So we had about $1,000 and an unregistered XD Ford. I was also unlicensed but to me it was worth the risk. It took four days to get everything ready and apart from a couple bottles of vals and some pot we didn’t have any drugs. It took me three and a half days to drive from
Perth. I also got my Centrelink payment and we were able to rent a house privately within the first week. A few weeks passed while we settled in and then I hooked up with a few recruitment agencies where I could work the days I wanted to. I worked for all kinds of businesses for about eight months until I finally got full time employment with the local council.
I had completely changed my life around! We had no family support, no help from anyone. We had done it all on our own because we set our minds to having a better life. My then girl got lonely and homesick 12 months later and returned to
Canberra. I had warrants for my arrest and couldn’t (nor wanted to) go back. I had my freedom, which is something I felt had been taken from me the day I was dragged to a refuge. I was clean, had money in my back pocket, but most of all I had a life. I did things and went places I had only dreamed about.
After a few years I thought I was cured from all drugs and decided to fly to
Canberra for a holiday and to see some friends I had stayed in contact with. Within three weeks I had a raging habit again and now I’m serving a seven year sentence for armed robbery. I hope I can give someone reading this story hope, as there is so much more that life has to offer and you can do anything you set your mind to. I’m living proof…
I have been on Subutex for about six months now. I was initially taking my dose under my tongue, like they say to, however in the past few months I have really gotten into injecting it. Around the place I inject I have noticed a hard lump. What is this? Also a couple of times after I’ve injected bupe, I’ve had a massive headache and have been a bit shaky... In a few weeks my clinic is changing everyone on Subutex over to Suboxone. How will this affect me?
Dear Bupe Boy
Both Subutex and Suboxone are intended as sublingually administered drugs. This means they were made to be dissolved under your tongue. This said, many people still inject both Subutex and Suboxone. One of the problems associated with injecting either Subutex or Suboxone, is that these tablets (like other tablets) contain binders and fillers, often with substances such as cornflower or talc, to bind them together, so it is really important to filter out these substances. The best way to filter any pill intended for injection is with a wheel filters (also known as a pill filter). Wheel filters will remove particles which are too small to be filtered through cotton wool. Some wheel filters even have the ability to filter out bacteria. Filtering bacteria is especially important if the bupe you’re injecting has ever been in your mouth. The human mouth is one of the most bacteria heavy places in the human body and by injecting bupe which has been in your mouth (without properly filtering it), you are introducing bacteria directly into the body, bypassing the body’s natural defense systems. This can result in a “dirty shot”, which can make you very sick. This may explain why after injecting bupe you sometimes have a banging headache and feel a bit shaky.
Another reason why you may feel shaky after injecting bupe is that one of the pharmacological effects of bupe is to attach to the body opioid receptors and to evict any other opioids which are also attached to the receptor. When this happens the body goes into a withdrawal state called “precipitated withdrawal”. If you are only using bupe, this won’t be an issue, however if you are using any other opioid substance, you need to wait until you go into “active withdrawal” (when you feel really sick), before either dosing or injecting bupe. The length of time this takes depends on what opioid you’ve taken; as little as four to six hours for heroin or over 24 hours for methadone (other opioids are in between).
Many pharmocotherapy clinics have begun to dose with Suboxone rather than Subutex. This is because Suboxone is seen as a deterrent to injecting as it naloxone together with the buprenorphine in the same tablet. (Subutex only contains buprenorphine.) Naloxone is the drug which is administered to people who have overdosed on opioids. Naloxone works by very quickly reversing the effects of opioids. Naloxone is only effective if injected, not if taken under the tongue. If you have any opioids in your system before you inject Suboxone, the naloxone will reverse the effects of these opioids and will make you feel very unwell. However, if you have only been injecting Suboxone and haven’t been injecting any opioids, you are highly unlikely to feel any discernible ill effect from injecting Suboxone and it will be just the same as injecting Subutex. However, it is hoped that people will be able to get more take-aways with Suboxone than with Subutex eventually, as it has a low overdose risk and a low sell-on (diversion) risk.
As for the lump in your arm, if there is any swelling or redness, or sensitivity to the touch, you may have an injecting related abscess. Abscesses can develop when bacteria is introduced into the body or when a mixture is not filtered properly and foreign particles remain in the body. To avoid developing abscesses or any injecting related infections, remember to swab before injecting, always use a new sharp to inject with, filter any pills with a wheel filter and change your injecting site every time you inject. You will need antibiotics to treat an abscess and it is important not to inject into or near the abscess until it has fully healed. In
Sydney you can access the Kirketon Road Clinic in Kings Cross for free treatment.
If you need more information, contact NUAA on 1800 644 413 or (02) 8354 7351.