3 Jun 04

Wedded to Dope

In this Hades, the hobby of the majority is injecting drugs. Dozens of men eagerly share one syringe. Diseases, especially hepatitis C, are commonly transferred. They store ("keyster") their drugs, mostly heroin and crystal meth, in Saran Wrap, balloons or condoms shoved in their behinds.

The illegal drug use is only half of the story. Three times a day, a crotchety nurse goes from door to door dispensing "meds." Up to one third of the inmates are recipients of these pills. The most common are Wellbutrin, Klonapin, Prozac, Cojetin, Loxieen, Paxil, Haldol, Elovil and Seroquil.

The inmates snigger at how easy it is to obtain these free drugs. They simply tell the "psych doctor" they are hearing voices or are unable to sleep. Inmates use the pills to vary their highs, or trade for food and illegal drugs. Sheriff Joe Arpaio regularly appears on TV boasting that it costs the taxpayer a pittance to feed us society’s refuse, but he never mentions the millions of dollars being spent on expensive medications, which the drug companies are profiting handsomely from. I wonder whether these companies make political contributions to Arpaio.

It's been an infernally normal week. Outdoor temperatures are approaching 110 degrees. At night, I watch las cucarachas scurrying to and fro, convinced they are waiting for me to go to sleep to get at my earwax. Mark and I now catch one another chasing imaginary cockroaches.

The dirty potato peelings are back in the evening chow. Dry citrus fruit are the new additions to breakfast. The stench of filth and sweat pervades the air. The bedsore on my left buttock cheek is blistered and bleeding. My mouth and tongue are ulcerated. These conditions were designed to break the human spirit. As the periodic suicides indicate, death is a more attractive place for some inmates.

"What is important in life is life and not a result of life."
Goethe (1749-1832)


Anonymous said...

I think it would be good if Jon, or should I say Shawn, would post about what he did to get arrested and the sentence he got. It might put things in perspective.

Yes the conditions were, and are, horrible at the jail. They must be addressed immediately. BUT, full disclosure would be nice for those of us reading. Someone sent me this link, which I think other readers would find as interesting as I did.


Casey Lane

David Irvine said...


I work at Halton College in Widnes in the same department as your mother. She recently sent me an email linking me to your blog.

I replied to your mum (and later spoke to her) saying I had skimmed your blog diary but that, even at such a superficial reading, I found ir stark and comelling. Some days later she gave me the article taht was published in the Guardian newspaper's G2. Reading this I realised that I ahd been affected more deeply by your writing.The images you createde through your narrative stayed with me.

I cannot imagine the reality of your ordeal but you have put into my imagination some thought provoking scenes. You have done this to me with some fine writing. I know that many others will be affected in a similar way after reading your work.

I'm sorry, I'm beginning to sound like a critic or therapist; and I'm sure you don't need either!

Just keep it up!

David Irvine.

Saturday, 11.09.2004 Warrington U.K.

Anonymous said...

I've been there. Released and I have moved on. I can relate to his words.

If it will help, I'll stay in touch