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Slam and Fade into Heroin

Slam and fade. Amazing how two so dissimilar words have the same intoxicating effects on my son’s life, while invoking a visceral response to those around him. I call them four letter words, obscenities. My son calls them blessings.

The most commonly used definition for Slam in English is to shut with power and force, producing noise. “ She slammed the door behind her as she stormed out of the house!” This is usually purposeful and with emotion. In drug-speak, slam means to inject or mainline. “He developed a tolerance for smoking H, so he began to slam it.” In English, slam is usually associated with an angry or passionate emotion, an expression of feeling. In the drug realm, slam has nothing to do with expressing emotions, but everything to do with power and force.

My son started slamming when chasing the dragon no longer provided an adequate high. Slamming was the easy economical decision as much as it was a necessity to achieve the fade he needed to feel normal. It is powerful and more difficult to quit. The rush is so intense, so quick and so forceful, it sucks you under, like a rip tide. Surfers know you never go against the current, but float with it, allowing the undercurrent to carry you. Addicts learn quickly to float with the powerful undercurrent of a slam; you must go with the flow after slamming brown crystal. I believe overdoses occur because someone is fighting against the high, resulting in using dangerous quantities.

Fade: to become less clearly distinguishable; disappearing slowly or gradually. “ The scene began to fade”.

Translation: to nod off, the effect of heroin. “I was so messed up, I faded (nodded out)”. The euphoric rush lasts only one or two minutes and feels like an intense all over body orgasm. After the rush, the high lasts for four or five hours and is as a warm, drowsy, cozy state. He floats in and out of consciousness, feeling completely satisfied, ‘distanced’ from whatever is going on around him.

Slam and fade mean two entirely different things to me. Oh sure, in drug speak, those are the terms used between junkies, when seeking to score or desperate to use. But to me, each word took on different meanings, especially when my son is sober.

Slam and fade are the effects of society’s treatment of heroin addicts, or junkies in general. Addicts are slammed with force and power, creating a noise. Society kicks addicts to the curb, providing lip service treatment programs, meant to appease but not treat the addict. My son was slamming before he even started using again. “Sorry, I appreciate you being honest, but I can’t hire a felon.” Slam. “Sorry, buddy. No money, no food, no place to stay” Slam. Society does that enough and the addict will slam back.

Addicts fade behind red tape when it comes to support and assistance to get or stay clean. Programs are closed, funding gone, especially during these economically strained times. They are slammed to the streets and are expected to fade into the woodwork. Is it any wonder they slam in order to fade?

I get why he uses, how it makes him feel, and how society outcasts those with addictive disorders. The normals can slam him to the streets, and expect him to fade into the woodwork, but he is not going anywhere. He gave up his slam and fade. Will society do the same?

Jan writes about Heroin Addiction on her There is No Hero In Heroin blog where she writes openly about her son Stevie’s struggle with Heroin. Jan best described her writing style as “Heartfelt, honest and raw, not happy ever after at all.” and we agree with her.