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."