Reading a book the other day, it mentioned that the principal character was on “purple hearts”. I remembered the popular drug nickname, but couldn’t remember its correct name, so I went to the purveyor of all knowledge, Mr. Google.
Sure enough, one of the sites gave me “Drinamyl” (the trade name) and my mind could stop enquiring; however, the information on the site was more than just comprehensive, it was terrifying. Just go to http://www.cocaine.org/argot.htm and you will see why. Just how many illicit drugs is the world consuming these days? Forget the YaBa and Ice as used by the ‘clubbing’ set locally, the list of the so-called recreational drugs is beyond comprehension. That site alone has 24 pages of drugs and drug slang terms, most of which I have never heard of. Perhaps I am knocking around with the wrong crowd?
Back to the list: have you ever tried an Amp joint – a marijuana cigarette laced with some form of narcotic? Did you know your aunties? Aunt Hazel – heroin, Aunt Mary – marijuana and Aunt Nora – cocaine?
Then after all the slang terminology comes the list of substances people out there are trying, forgetting the usual heroin, cocaine, rohypnol, marijuana and LSD and mescaline, but there are drugs such as PCP (phencyclidine), methcathinone, psilocybin/psilocin, MDMA, fentanyl, gamma hydroxy butyrate and more. It prompts the question, what is wrong with today’s society that it has to retreat from the ‘normal’ world into the drug culture?
As a practicing doctor, you become used to the endless streams of drug addicts who try all kinds of inventive ways to get you to prescribe their particular drug of addiction. There are the ones who appear with multiple photocopies of reports from hospitals overseas stating that the person is on the waiting list for some operation, but in the meantime needs XXXX (which of course is just one of the addictive drugs the person is taking). Then there is the patient who comes in and appears to be very open about it all, “I am a drug addict, doctor, and I am under Dr. Somebody in some Other-Town (a long way away). Dr Somebody gives me enough medication for a week, but unfortunately I have to stay here for an extra two days. Can you just let me have enough for two days, that’s all, as I’ll be back in Other-Town on Monday to see him?” If you ring the telephone number given as the doctor’s surgery, it either never answers, or it is a lone voice claiming to be that doctor, but who very quickly gets tripped up when asked some medical questions. Yes, drug addicts can be inventive.
Then there are the ones, usually female, who play on your heart strings. “Doctor, I’ll be honest with you, I have been a drug addict, but I am giving up next week. I’ll not be needing any more after that, but if you could just give me a week’s supply, I’ll come back and see you next week for you to guide me through the withdrawals, because I know I can trust you.” (Yeah, Yeah!)
Like most doctors in the front line, you persevere with these drug addicts for a while, but eventually you give up. I had a sign on the wall of the waiting room which said, “Under no circumstances, will Schedule 8 drugs be prescribed.” But they still tried.