Seven Days of Heroin
Sixty journalists cover an ordinary week in an epidemic.
Sixty journalists cover an ordinary week in an epidemic.
" I was twenty-six years old and an associate beauty editor at Lucky, one of the top fashion magazines in America, and that’s all that most people knew about me. But beneath the surface, I was full of secrets..."
As business declines amidst an opioid epidemic in America, Purdue Pharma’s owners the Sackler family are pursuing a new strategy: putting OxyContin in medicine cabinets around the world.
He was just another coked-up agent (repping the likes of Steven Soderbergh) when he disappeared into Iraq, shooting heaps of footage he would attempt to package into a pro-war documentary. And that was just the beginning.
A story of truth, lies, and an American addiction.
Scenes from a crumbling marriage, a friendship, a life in the painful present.
An eviction notice causes a grotesque chain of events.
"Imogene grunted as she lifted the sledgehammer and again brought it down. She missed the knob and graced the door, taking some of the siding off it. She bent down and thrust the hammer at the spot. The wood gave away."
Scott Storch, a producer who earned six figures for beats he made in less than an hour, was worth an estimated $70 million. Then he blew it all in a bizarre cocaine binge.
On Arielle Holmes, a burgeoning actress who was, literally, plucked from the streets.
A story of growth, regression, and divergent paths.
"But mostly, Joan sat for hours in her favorite spot of their old living room couch where she breastfed Phil. It felt sometimes like he was resting in the crook of her arm. And other times, her breasts would drip milk and she’d sit with a throbbing ache in her chest. Her husband returned twice a week, a different person each time as if trying on new identities: laughing, angry, sedate, stoic. Sometimes he brought the rocks with him. Sometimes Joan would have to go out on her own looking for them."
Twelve-step programs treat alcohol and drugs according to the same principles. But heroin changes the way the brain works. If there’s a medication that treats heroin addiction, why aren’t we using it?
Life inside a pair of small-town boarding houses.
Kylee Kimbrough lost her childhood, lost her sobriety, lost her living situation, and finally even lost her son. Then she found the drums.
The tragic romance of Jim Irsay, the shrewd owner of the Indianapolis Colts, and Kimberly Wundrum, a mother who shared his longtime addiction to painkillers, that ended with her overdosing in the secret condo he bought her.
A series of memories and addictions from various years.
"I come here after my shift at the record store and sit around at picnic tables outside, scribbling into notebooks while drinking shitty coffee and waiting for my girlfriend, Velvet, to get off work so we can go get high. The crowd here is varied: AA people alongside art people and punks alongside dirty Deadheads and downtown casualties. There are many open mic poetry events, usually outdoors at dusk. One night I decide to read. I go to the mic and drop weapons. I go to the mic and read about Kuwait City and southern Iraq. I go to the mic and read about prostitutes and hashish and drinking homemade wine made out of grape juice in the middle of the Indian Ocean. I go to the mic and curse over and over again. Nobody claps. Nobody moves. I am not asked to read again."
A pair of gamblers and a glitch too good to last.
An excerpt from Goebel's novel: a man's strange world of peyote, addiction, family, and conflicting identities.
"I dropped tobacco from a cig I took apart and kept the loose stuff in my palm, and I circled the tree counter clockwise, like the turn of the earth, and dropped the tobacco staring up in the tree and praying, like an old wide-faced (I)ndian showed me to do in rehab in the snow in Minnesota around a big oak tree, horses in the field of night, snowflakes falling like drunks, like a dream, stars holy above, and as I finished dropping the last speck, finishing a circle around the ponderosa, praying for the old man in the Upper East Side to have, there it was, standing up in a rich grass, by its quill, right out of the ground. Get it? EAGLE FEATHER. This is a wild trip."
On the platonic but volatile relationship between fashion designer Alexander McQueen, who committed suicide in 2010 and professional muse Isabella Blow, who committed suicide in 2007.
"Caught between the dealers and the cops in Hazleton, Pa., is a woman with a bad habit."
Previously: Susan Dominus on the Longform Podcast.
Getting clean with a three-day trip.
Previously: The Longform Guide to Addiction.
On addiction and addiction narratives.
A punk heroin addict navigates 1980s Detroit.
"About an hour later, Harwell and Rollo were squatting (literal) in their squat (figurative) on Broadville, about a mile from the convenience store that had just fallen victim to their considerable wrath. They hadn’t said a word longer than four letters to each other since sprinting away from the Quality Dairy, and for the last thirty minutes they’d been listening for any movement outside, not sure if they’d been followed, or if Chavo and the night manager had enough information about them gathered from their several months of patronage to know where they hung their heads."
Modern family structures are explored when an ex-stepdaughter asks for emergency babysitting help.
"Without Aaron, there would be no Caleb. Lovey had to remind herself of this sad fact. Her ex-stepson-in-law caused a lot of trouble, but, because of him, here before her was a boy for her to love, who loved her. Caleb would grow up and perhaps grow away from her—there was no shared blood, and someday he would understand that. Someday he might untie the knots of those prefixes that labelled Lovey, ex- and step-. He would turn into a teen-ager and disappear, like his father, into the night."
A recent history of ‘bupe’ Suboxone film, which is described as a miracle cure for opiate addiction but flows freely from for-profit clinics to dealers and inmates, sometimes melted into the pages of smuggled Bibles.
Remembering the loss of a parent and the birth of an addiction.