My short bio: I was just featured last week on NPRs "Fresh Air" with Terry Gross for more work around harm reduction and my 18 years of recovery from addiction. My work centers around getting those who use drugs humane treatment and the things they need to stay healthy.

My Proof: My twitter https://twitter.com/traceyh415/status/709523429318242304

Edit- I am signing out of the live portion. You can ask me more questions and I can get to them!. My family needs some attention. Thank you for your support

Comments: 820 • Responses: 93  • Date: 

PatriotsDynasty4x351 karma

Hi tracy! You sent me narcan to my sober house in CT about 4 months ago, remember? and it saved a life! You literally took part in saving a life. Thank you so much, someones son is still alive because of you! Keep doing wht you are doing, its working!

traceyh415226 karma

oh wow. That is cool. #165 person saved.

TotallyInconspicuou115 karma

I also was a recipient of one of your care packages. I've had it for two years and thankfully haven't had to use it the narcan, but I just wanted to say thank you.

traceyh41573 karma

awesome.!

olmate-james45 karma

As someone with no clue, what is in these packages. Obviously narcan but what is that and how is it saving lives?

Keep up the good work, sounds like it's working.

traceyh41559 karma

It reverses the effects of an opioid overdose

olmate-james23 karma

Is this currently legal or frowned upon like pill testing?

traceyh41547 karma

It's legal in many states, a script is required in others

RedBull7162 karma

Thank you so much for doing this. You have inspired me to seek professional help to get out of this hell hole.

What would you say was the hardest thing on getting back to being "normal"?

EDIT: As read on /r/todayilearned "TIL a Redditor and former heroin addict named Tracey Helton has saved the lives of over 110 Redditors by mailing out an opiate overdose antidote named naloxone".

traceyh415161 karma

I think with heroin, in particular, you get so used to instant gratification and the drugs dictating your moods/emotions. When you quit, it is a rollercoaster. First your crotch comes back to life after a long slumber. Then, the rest of you is caught in the topsy turvy flow of this thing we call life.

RedBull778 karma

What about relapses? I went 10 days clean but I found my self in the same situation shortly there after.

I know all opiate addicts go though several. Should I just keep trying?

traceyh415194 karma

Oh yes. I tried to get "clean" a zillion times before I stopped. Clean isn't one thing, it is a series of things until you get to the place where you want to be. it is a process.

flubblublubber49 karma

It sounds like lots of things we try to achieve... But with higher highs and lower lows. Good habit/bad habit on Hard mode

traceyh41532 karma

very true.

pointlessvoice13 karma

i guess i'm screwed. Oh well. i'm glad there are people like you out there. At least there's hope for our species.

traceyh41548 karma

You are an individual so don't listen to the opinions of others. Be heathly do what works

Shaysdays58 karma

I hope your crotch comes back in a fun sexy way and not a "Hey, remember cramps and periods? Let's get back to that!" way?

(Edit- unwanted and uncontrollable arousal like she described in her answer is not "fun sexy," I did not realize I was making light of a tough situation when I wrote that, I apologize.)

traceyh41590 karma

Heroin can cause impotence in men so when they are detoxing, many men describe perma wood and orgasming in their sleep. Women can have a similar response.

RedBull750 karma

For the 10 days that I was clean-ish. On day 3 I noticed I got random boners and not just regular boners but steel hard boners.

traceyh41536 karma

LOL

Shaysdays31 karma

As another woman, I'm not asking out of prurient interest- but would heroin mess with periods and the reproductive cycle as well? Would someone detoxing have any special concerns like heightened fertility or fertility problems?

traceyh41575 karma

My period would stop for months at a time then come back a few months after I stopped using. I have three healthy kids so I don't think it impacted me.

sass_pea38 karma

I wonder, were you malnourished while using? That would stop your period.

traceyh41552 karma

yes. very much so

Shaysdays18 karma

Congrats on the little ones and thank you for the answers!

traceyh41526 karma

thank you

[deleted]1 karma

[deleted]

traceyh41518 karma

It is kind of like the feeling of love mixed with the feeling of an orgasm mixed with the feeling of "fuck everything". It is kind of all down hill from there. Chasing the first time and it never feels the same. Some people just don't take to opioids at all and just end up puking and having a shitty time.

flubblublubber9 karma

Yeah I guess I'm 'lucky'. I have the opiate puke gene. My dad too. He's been in hospital and alternating between 'I need pain killers!' And 'No more morphine! bleeeeegh bleeeeeegh'

traceyh41510 karma

HAHA. This is my husband as well. He had surgery and was puking all over the place an never got his meds filled.

TractionJackson5 karma

Guess I got really lucky then. I take Percocet almost daily for severe joint and muscle pain. But when I run out the only thing I feel is discomfort in my, yup, joints and muscles. Some people could mistake the irritability for detox if they didn't know my injuries. But I'll go weeks without it at times because I'm having a good month. Oh, and I also feel terribly nauseous if I take any amount that's more than needed to dull the pain.

traceyh4154 karma

That is kinda awesome. I wish that would have been the case for me. My body went into crave mode so early on.

FashionablyFake17 karma

She's up to 164 right now, i think!

traceyh41511 karma

yes true

topo10130 karma

Honest question... Do you ever think about using? I've quit many times.. Gone the sub route.. But when i find myself financially well off again i think about it constantly.. I'm sober today and doing okay. Just trying to keep busy. But Damn. That shit is the devil. Spent the last 13 years banging dope..

traceyh415410 karma

Of course I think about using. I can't control my thoughts. I think about all types of crazy shit but what counts is my actions. I think of heroin as the Ike turner of drugs. It beats your ass yet you can't stop thinking about that beautiful music you made together. Then one day you finally leave for good. You still hear those songs but you have to keep on stepping

topo1065 karma

Amazing analogy.. And thank you! You are doing great work. God bless!

traceyh41550 karma

thank you for stopping by

courtiebabe42079 karma

What was the moment that made you decide to get clean for good?

traceyh415225 karma

Well I had a few moments like that. I think when I REALLY decided I needed to quit was when I was locked in the bathroom of a filthy hotel. I had blood all over me from trying to get a hit in my feet and ankles. I was switching from one dull syringe to a new one hoping to get the drugs inside of me. Then, i realized close to an hour had passed. It was a metaphor for my life. Everything was passing me by. I made up my mind I was going to do something and really make an attempt to get off drugs before I died in a bathroom like that one.

aml51z83 karma

I experienced that shit all the time but for some reason that didn't make me quit, life sorta made me quit and I'm glad for that. I still did it for me though.

Here's the story if anybody is interested, I copied and pasted it from a previous post I wrote: What happened was my main source got arrested and I had other sources but was double the price. I decided to wait for my dealer to bail himself out the next morning. The next morning he got out but told me to wait for the night. I waited and I was completely dieing, I almost felt like putting on a mask and robbing a bank. I bought some weed and saved 20 bucks for like 3 bags. I also took some seroquil to help knock me out. I woke up, feeling like death and he didn't respond so I spent the rest of my money on more weed and took another seroquil. I woke up the next morning in a lot of pain, sweats, all that bullshit. I broke down crying and was about to overdraft my bank account. Took out 100 bucks. Something clicked in my head, I hit a real rock bottom. My dealer wanted me to wait longer so I just bought more weed. At this point it was like 3 days. Morning of day 4 I felt probably the absolute worst. I was about to get from my more expensive guy but for some reason I just couldn't spent the last amount of money I had that I fucked my bank account with. It was new years too so I just decided to "quit" laughing in the back of my head thinking at the first moment I'll give in. An hour later I deleted the numbers. Then I had a panic attack. Then more horrific symptoms taking over my very existence. I had friends beg me to help them out, some wanted me to goto rehab and I considered it but felt that "I'm strong enough to do this myself" and for some reason that stuck with me. 5 days in a friend of mine dropped off a little bit of suboxone telling me I needed a brake, which I snorted and it worked like a charm. Day 6 I wasn't feeling that bad, probably because of subs long half life. Day 7 I gave in and got myself 4 bags. I did it, drooled and nodded like crazy. But an hour later I felt more or less normal. I broke down crying again feeling that I'm ruining my progress. From then on every day seemed easier. I didn't get any sleep for another week but I spent my time reading addiction stories, watching addiction stuff on YouTube. After 2 weeks I bought more weed, smokes, beer, and got my hands on Xanax. This mixture sorta was like the first time I felt an enjoyable buzz and finally felt content. I felt that if I keep staying clean from heroin that other lighter drugs can keep me from dope. 3 weeks in my stomach and back pain was much more manageable, I started enjoying things like politics and video games again but still felt like shit and can't sleep. Since then i have been mostly clean. A couple weeks ago I had a dope day and immediately regretted it. I was feeling an opiate hangover for 2 days straight. Also alcohol kept making me puke a horrible smell that made me sick. This together with the fact that every day I feel slightly better keeps me going and sober. Some days I feel like I can't get out of bed but once I get moving I out it out of my mind. And that's where i am now.

traceyh4154 karma

hope you are doing well now

602Zoo33 karma

You definately know the pains of heroin addiction. Im jealous you have been able to stay clean so long, it must be the hardest thing you ever done

traceyh41559 karma

Life can be rough. Both my parents have died, I had a miscarriage etc but i feel pretty grounded in my life

602Zoo20 karma

You forget about dealing with problems because youre using the dope as a quick fix. When I had sobriety I didnt know if it was worth the hassle for the rest of my life.

traceyh41516 karma

True

ladylonglegs2255 karma

What is the best advice you can give an addict who is struggling to get clean? I know, and you know, that so many people try to get clean but don't have support from the community, families, or friends that are not understanding of addiction, and struggle because of the lack of support.

Often times, we hear, "if you want it bad enough, you'll get clean." Which is only true to a certain extent.

traceyh41597 karma

Start building up your tools. Find things you like to do besides drugs. Don't let drugs become the only thing in your world. Seek out support on the internet, from a solid friend, or anyone who understands. The reality is there are MILLIONS of people who have been in the same place you are in proving that it is possible.

helpmedaddy21 karma

Do you have any suggestions of activities for someone with a pretty severe food addiction?

traceyh41530 karma

I have tried CBT. Reduces my anxiety that leads me to overeat

66c4e6fa3361e746620642 karma

I've been using on and off, 2 grams a month or so for about 6 months, so far I have it under control in every aspect bar cravings, I IV generally FYI. I use maybe 50% of the month with no WD yet

However I think about opiates every day and see the path I'm slowly going down.

How long did you have it under 'control' so it was not a trouble financially or health wise?

Thanks for the ama.

traceyh41560 karma

I have bad news- I can't say I ever had it under control. I worked and went to school the first year I did opioids. Not having access to them curbed my use more than any self control on my part.

66c4e6fa3361e746620616 karma

I have access and look after my GF first and foremost but opiates seriously play on my mind too much for me to be happy without them.

I've always been that way though with one substance or another.

Anyway your book extracts are amazing and your work to save lives is just mind blowing, I'd love to see reform in America, naloxone is free in the UK luckily.

traceyh41521 karma

we have many free programs but certainly not enough and the drug companies keep jacking the price of naloxone.

adelltfm41 karma

Hi Tracy. I still think about your documentary from all those years ago. Never in a million years would I have thought that heroin would become as big of a problem in the New England area. Right now the Maine State Governor seems to think that threatening to revoke the licenses of heroin traffickers will somehow be a deterrent. In other words, no one knows what the hell they're doing to combat this problem. Do you have any advice on how to get our lawmakers to understand the problem?

My cousin died in early February of this year. A week before he did he tried to get help but they told him that they didn't have any detox beds. He'd shot up earlier that morning. Another friend was practically told to go shoot up in her car so that a doctor would take her. It honestly seems like the people in charge of helping addicts have no idea how an addict's brain works. The window of opportunity closes as soon as withdrawal sets in.

Anyway, I want to thank you for all that you do because I know how active you are on the Reddit community. You should google David Zysk (another old friend of mine who was also an advocate) and use him as a reminder that everyone is forever in recovery. I'm sure that he would love that, knowing how big your influence is.

traceyh41556 karma

I think lawmakers are slowly coming around because family member like yourself that have lost loved ones are forcing their hands. It is a shame that it has come to this but no one in this country is untouched by opioid addiction. And fuck the governor of Maine. He is anti naloxone and got hundreds of people cut off of methadone by cutting federal aid in the state for addiction related services.

adelltfm9 karma

Thank you for your response. I thought that the governor was going to come around because I heard that he put together a task force made up of ex- addicts and other advocates. But then he comes out with this crap. I guess all I can do is continue to write every representative.

traceyh41528 karma

He is a HUGE barrier to harm reduction and common sense health policies.

nolearnsnoprobs37 karma

Sincerest congratulations on where you are now. Thank you so much for opening yourself up to the world. Do you feel like certain personality traits can indicate what drug an addict will struggle the most with?

traceyh41570 karma

I have to say, I have worked with people that use drugs since the fall of 1998. No two people have the same needs/issues which makes our treatment system even more messed up since it is based on a "one size fits all approach".

nolearnsnoprobs23 karma

Unfortunately you are undeniably correct about that approach. We can blame it on a lack of funding or a lack of understanding but it's painfully true regardless of where it stems from. Thanks very much for your time.

traceyh41521 karma

thank you

tit_wrangler35 karma

What is your response to people who say heroin (or hard drugs, in general) addicts don't deserve much sympathy, as they only have themselves to blame?**

**(I'm not asserting this; it's a common complaint I hear.)

traceyh41585 karma

This is a complicated question. I have sympathy for people who have diabetes. This can be a potentially fatal medical condition that can also caused by poor health choices. While it seems like a stretch to compare doughnuts to dope, the issues are similar.

Drug use has been with society for thousands of years. It is a public health issue and should be treated as one.

NotABeckSong11 karma

Just to be painfully clear, you are referring to type 2 diabetes, correct?

traceyh41520 karma

yes.

twobits99 karma

This is a brilliant comparison. I hope I can remember it and is it to make a difference when faced with more of people's ridiculous short-sighted comments about people who are addicted to drugs and how they should be treated.

traceyh41517 karma

Think doughnuts

justcurious0214428 karma

I think I read about you on the fix...aren't you the woman who ships narcan to those who request it?? if so that is awesome! coming from Massachusetts and it makes me sad to hear how bad our opiate problem is. I thankfully do not have first hand experience with addiction aside from a period in my early 20s where I had a bit of a drinking problem, but I applaud you whole heartedly!

traceyh41526 karma

I am that person. Thanks for your support.

topo1026 karma

Already asked a question but curious about another thing. How did you quit? Cold turkey? Rehab? I'm scared of subs because they're probably harder to quit.

traceyh41541 karma

here is a chapter from my book http://www.salon.com/topic/tracey_helton_mitchell/

it is pretty much in there. Jail to rehab to sober living and a bunch of different types of support groups

Warlizard25 karma

Why are so many people overdosing on heroin lately?

traceyh41556 karma

A few reason: Fentanyl cuts in the dope. Too powerful for the average user. Mixing Increased amounts of people using and overall potency

Warlizard17 karma

So the heroin is now stronger and people don't know?

I'd think the dealers would want their clients to survive. Don't they know either?

traceyh41546 karma

The heroin is much stronger than my day. You know- I wonder why the fentanyl thing goes on. I think they put it in bunk dope to give the person a "rush" and get the dosage off. It seems like regular dealers would want repeat customers

zuesk13428 karma

overdoses are good for business. lets everyone know the shit is strong.

i cant believe i used to live like that!!!!!!! 22 months out its honestly insane to think about

traceyh41520 karma

good for you friend

zuesk13414 karma

some days my crazy addict life seems so close to me and other days its like someone else lived it. i just stay grateful for where i am.

i appreciate your hard work. im in the south FL recovery scene and soooooooooo many kids die at sober living houses that dont have narcan

traceyh41510 karma

That is sad :(

Warlizard18 karma

I would think so as well.

When you say, "bunk dope", are you saying it's poor and not strong, therefore, the fentanyl is added to make it seem better?

traceyh41522 karma

yes. Sorry for the vernacular

xxHikari24 karma

My childhood friend just came back from Reno with a heroin issue and the way he acts on his meds is very kooky to say the least. I dunno if he actually wants to recover, but do you think heroin is a "once an addict" type thing? I mean, is there a such thing as casual use?

traceyh41559 karma

There are some people that use casually but I call them the "junkie unicorn" ie I know they exist but I have never seen many

heroinking39 karma

also every new user thinks they can use casually. but its just a matter of time.

traceyh41519 karma

this can be true

veryreasonable28 karma

I'm one of those "unicorns," I guess, and it's wierd. I have some friends who are jokingly (or seriously?) jealous about it, but others... A few times, I've realized that my "casual" use is just enabling someone I'm hanging with to feel okay about their regular use... That feels messed up and I don't want to be helping someone's addiction for the selfish reason that I want company the once a year or so I feel like mainlining something...

Anyways, thanks for doing this AMA. It's just really cool to interact with someone, even over the net like this, that actually got clean. Not just stopped for a while, but clean. I don't know, at least half my junkie friends who are currently clean are vastly different people then before they started shooting dope. Others aren't clean; a couple are dead; one of them, still a close friend, has Hep C but, due to awesome modern medicine, will likely never be impacted by the virus in her life.

She's cool, and kind, and if anything the rough times made her a really understanding person. It seems like the same for you - and kudos for trying to turn your experience into something positive for other people and the world. That is inspiring, and thanks again for all that you do.

traceyh41512 karma

thanks for dropping in!

xxHikari8 karma

Thank you. I would advise against it to him because he was very heavily addicted.

traceyh41533 karma

yes that is usually a bad sign

xxHikari15 karma

It seems like some people in here might have addictions and are downvoting your comments. Ignore them and move on. You have insight that they do not.

traceyh41528 karma

thank you

patrice1234519 karma

What is heroin like?

At what point did you realize you had a problem?

traceyh41549 karma

Heroin has intense euphoria the first few times you use it- like a happy dream but you are awake. It has diminshing returns after that in my experience. it wasn't long before I started feeling the flu like symptoms that let me know I was developing physical dependence. I realized I had a problem when heroin became the #1 thing in my life. I was chasing a artificial feeling and detaching from my real life

patrice1234517 karma

Thank you so much for doing this AMA. I really respect you and will be reading more of your comments to help me understand the journey of someone who struggled with serious addiction.

So do you feel like when you woke up from that dream, the volume was turned down on the rest of your sober life? I would feel like if I've felt the high highs and the low lows of something like heroin, day to day life would be mundane.

Have you been around heroin since you stopped using? What would you feel in your body if you saw heroin now? Would it make your heart race?

traceyh41537 karma

Heroin takes over your life. It controls when you can have bowel movements, your period, your sex life, your finances, and your moods. It is an all encompassing drug to many users which is why it is hard to extract yourself.

I did/do work with people in active addiction. I see people shooting up when I am in the city. It scared the hell out of me for many years. I just see it as a substance now. It has no power over me as long as I don't pick it up though i do avoid it when humanly possible

patrice1234516 karma

You are such a powerful person. I have nothing but respect for the work you are doing.

Is there such a thing as a heroin addict that is too far gone? Maybe a certain personality type that is more naturally attracted to it? Does heroin attract broken people, or does it simply make broken people, or both?

traceyh41525 karma

From the work I do, I have some to know thousands of different heroin users. The vast majority of which work or go to school and heroin does not take them to the lengths which it took me. I think heroin has a tendency to resonate with people who have histories of anxiety and depression. The thing is heroin and prescribed opioids are almost the the exact same thing. It is the illicit nature of heroin that tends to take people into a darker place.

JenReborn5 karma

I agree with this.

I used opiates off and on for close to a decade, never for more than a week or two... but I noticed the times I felt happy in general opiates simply weren't attractive. In fact, they sometimes made me depressed and angry.

When I was miserable and depressed, it was like the ultimate comfort. Like God would wrap me in a blanket, give me a cup of hot cocoa and a hug and tell me everything will be alright.

traceyh4155 karma

Depression really drew me into opioids

genxer17 karma

So what do you think of ace scores? What's your ace score?

traceyh41523 karma

I think my ACE score was 5. I haven't looked at it in awhile. I think child trauma can be a factor in addiction, certainly

drydocked14 karma

I just bought your ebook!

Why do you think that you made it out of your former lifestyle, when others, many of whom sincerely wanted to do the same, simply couldn't do it?

traceyh41529 karma

I think the support of my mother was a huge factor. The second thing was in the back of my head, I really BELIEVED I would quit one day. It is strange and all evidence pointed to the contrary but I did believe it. Thank you for buying my book

its4thecatlol11 karma

[deleted]

traceyh41520 karma

I cut my family out of my life completely at one point because i didn't want to drag them down but I am glad i eventually was honest. I got clean on my own but i knew my mom was there for me from day one

Larmano12 karma

First off thanks for the work you do!

Second, what advice would you give to someone who is going into the social work field, including emergency departments of hospitals, who has no personal experience with addiction or drug use? I can read everything I can get my hands on, but with no personal experience it seems to be a struggle to get into the field.

Thanks!

traceyh41516 karma

read my book. Seriously. It contains tons of useful information including resources. I would also see about doing some volunteer shifts at a syringe exchange

Larmano7 karma

Will do. My county police department just started using Narcan which is awesome. The nearest needle exchange is an hour and a half away.

With so much self disclosure with drug and rehab counselors I worry about not having any credibility or relatability to people so I appreciate the advice!

traceyh41521 karma

Self disclosure is like salt in the stew. Too much of it spoils the stew. Really, counseling should focus on the needs of the other person.

CriticalDrinkR12 karma

After kicking, the hardest part is the cravings. How long are they so acute? Has been less than a month so far with little diminishment.

traceyh41527 karma

I think I felt better around six weeks but I didn't really feel better until three months. A craving is a thought and the thought, if you stew in it, sets of a reaction in your body. Try not to stew on those thoughts.

CriticalDrinkR20 karma

"Don't play with it" was the advice I heard, not just dope itself but the idea of doing it. Thanks for sharing your story, my girlfriend bought your book after hearing the Fresh Air interview.

traceyh41512 karma

wow. awesome.

KitKatMasterJapan11 karma

Congrats on being sober all these years. I can't imagine what you've been through.

Have you ever used anything else as a "coping" thing for heroin (alcohol, smokign cigarettes, etc)? Also, what do you think about reality tv shows that "document" addiction (Intervention, my Strange addiction, etc)?

traceyh41519 karma

Food is my drug. Shopping. Fixating on drama. I try to live a balanced life and watch for extremes.

Many of those shows are exploitative. They pay people to see seen at their lowest.

d4vid8710 karma

Hi Tracey, did jake end up dying?

traceyh41521 karma

He got clean, relapsed and died. It was very fucking sad.

d4vid879 karma

He looked so miserable and strung out towards the end of the documentary. It was crazy watching him shoot up with a blood infection in the hospital.

Is the guy that was shooting up in his neck still alive?

traceyh41511 karma

not sure- my ex? he has passed

PR3CiSiON9 karma

If I were 75, and terminally ill, would you recommend doing heroin? I've heard the first hit you get is the most amazing thing you can experience, but I don't want to fuck up my whole life for it.

traceyh4157 karma

the most amazing thing I experiences was the birth of my kids

isisis8 karma

Thank you for doing this AMA! What advice would you give to someone who has a loved one who is addicted to heroin but currently "clean", who still refuses to be honest about past use? Basically, if the person doesn't want to open up and seek help from loved ones, in your experience do they really want to get clean? I know the cravings and thoughts are still there and it scares the hell out of me that they aren't honest about it. Any advice would be helpful advice. Thank you!

traceyh41511 karma

I would look into what they are willing to do. I would ask a bunch of open ended questions. I would seek self care for yourself.

dogwoodberries8 karma

Have you ever used buprenorphine to transition to sobriety? and if so what is your opinion or advise about using it or not?

I've been on a low dose of suboxone since 2012. I lost my health insurance for a bit and am looking at tapering off soon.

traceyh41514 karma

We didn't really have bupe back then. I think it can be a great therapeutic tool when used properly.

hippiegoat8 karma

I have never done heroin but I have had my fair share of heavy drug use back in my teens and early 20s. I stopped once I started my career but I feel a lot of empathy for those who struggle with addiction because I know how easy it can start and how hard it is to stop. What can I do to help? Is there legislation or organizations out there that you recommend?

traceyh41510 karma

get involved with harm reduction on a local or state level. Lots of good places out there.

littlefinger1238 karma

Hi Tracey, what was the worst thing you did to a loved one, while you were using heroin? The thing that you feel most guilty about, if there is anything, what can wanting a hit make you do to someone else and not give a hoot about it?

traceyh41519 karma

I used to lie to mother for money at various points. She and I worked that out years ago though.

unfubar8 karma

Hi Tracey, have 12 Step programs taken a part in your recovery? Congrats and thanks for all you do for addicts.

FWIW: 24 years clean from heroin and meth. The 12 steps have helped this atheist addict immensely.

traceyh41511 karma

I did/do 12 step but it isn't the only thing. I did therapy, support groups, life ring, lots of other forms of healing

SUMANTH_WANG888 karma

How do you feel about drug prohibition?

traceyh41535 karma

I feel like the War on Drugs has been an epic failure. We need to craft new policies that see addiction as a health issue.

SUMANTH_WANG889 karma

Would you endorse legalizing drugs across the board though? Sometimes I think it's the only rational thing to do.

traceyh41521 karma

I honestly am not sure...

Myjunkiestory7 karma

Olah :) thanks for doing this! Question: What was the toughest part about living on the street? What did you do to get the $ for the heroin? And how cheap was it? Do you keep up with anyone from the HBO documentary?

traceyh41519 karma

The toughest part of living on the street is constant exposure to violence. I did all kinds of things to get money. Panhandle, sell syringes, use people, occasional sex work, working at jobs, selling drugs, etc. Heroin was $100 a gram when I started. Then the price went down. I message with Alice here and there.

Labeasy6 karma

Hi Tracy,

I am struggling with the break-up of my ex who I now realize was a heroin addict. She stole and broke so many promises and cheated. Can you put into perspective how a drug addict can rationalize all the wrongs they do? It hurts when someone you're supposed to be able to trust takes advantage of you and doesn't even seem to realize what they are doing is wrong. It kind of makes one feel worthless that someone you trusted doesn't care enough to right wrongs or even apologize.

traceyh4158 karma

It wasn't you- that was them. Don't blame yourself.

ndasmith6 karma

What are your thoughts on using ibogaine (iboga) to kick the habit? Have you met anyone who has successfully used ibogaine to end their habit?

traceyh41515 karma

I have known people that kicked using it but not that stayed off. I think it needs some research

Chubbstock5 karma

How much money, If you had to add it all up, do you think you spent on your habit before quitting? Altogether? Drugs and supplies

traceyh41511 karma

Not sure. $50k maybe more. I had stints in jail and quitting here and there.

Old-Goat5 karma

Do you feel any responsibilty towards all the people in pain who are unable to get pain treatment from doctors because of the opiate problem? They certainly understand loss when people lose loved ones to these drugs and it is tragic, but it is due to the poor choice they made in that first illicit use (which also means going outside the Rxing instructions). People in pain never had any choice in their circumstances. I'm sure it didnt matter while you were using, but does anyone give a damn about what it has done to people fighting legitimate pain? And can anything be done not to throw out the baby with the bath water? Or is it just not the addiction industry's problem? Or not something you feel qualified in commenting on? That is perfectly ok too.

traceyh4159 karma

As I said in my NPR interview, I don't think legitimate pain patients should be put through extra hoops

Blackrose_5 karma

Can recovering meth addicts ever be trusted?

traceyh41515 karma

I used to use a lot of meth and I feel pretty trust worthy

Blackrose_3 karma

Thanks for that - a follow on if I may -

Are all rehabilitation programs the same and if not - your advice for boring non users like me, who have addicted associates.

Cheers

traceyh4154 karma

The rehab system in the US is based heavily on 12 step. this is a good resource for stimulant users http://store.samhsa.gov/product/TIP-33-Treatment-for-Stimulant-Use-Disorder/SMA09-4209 there are useful worksheets. there is also non 12 step programs like SMART recovery, Life ring, and online support on places like tweaker.org

jcdenton8254 karma

What do you think about the film, The Man With The Golden Arm?

traceyh4159 karma

I have not seen it. Is it good?

atx_attorney4 karma

Did your life change after the HBO documentary aired? Was it surreal seeing yourself on TV, and did this cause some level of self-reflection that you might not have otherwise engaged in? Thank you for the AMA.

traceyh41518 karma

I felt like a deer in the headlights. i was recognized everywhere I went and not always in a good way. It carried on like that for many years

block_20124 karma

How did your addiction affect your relationship with your family, and how did you work to repair that relationship once you got clean? Is there anything that a family member can do for someone with a severe addiction who has run off that might serve them in the long run in regaining sobriety?

Thank you for the AMA, you're an inspiration.

traceyh4159 karma

There is a lot of alcohol abuse in generations of my family so they were more educated than some. My mother and I were extremely close and she was the main champion of my sobriety. She would just let me know she loved me even at my worst.

__RelevantUsername__3 karma

Hey Tracy, just wanted to thank you for all that you do and I appreciated your response to my PM a good while back when I really needed it. I guess if I have to ask a question then I would like to know how are you? Is life treating you well and are you happy?

traceyh4156 karma

I have a good life. Things are good with the exception of my cat having a tumor. He is seeing the dr this week.

NotABeckSong3 karma

You may have answered this elsewhere, but how do you obtain your narcan? Are you able to obtain to legally and then ship it out or is it more of a nod and wink affair?

traceyh4158 karma

Donations and working as an offshoot of other programs

Colinfucius2 karma

Do you believe in God?

traceyh4157 karma

I go back and forth.

ColoradoKimbo2 karma

What was it like being on the Dr. Oz show? When will that episode air?

traceyh4159 karma

It isn't out yet but it was very surreal. The raw food bars they have in the backstage area are fucking killer. I would fly to New York for more of those.

doodlebug0012 karma

Hi there! This week I found out my brother and his fiance have been doing heroin for the past year. Fiance's addiction almost spiraled out of control and she is now in rehab. Brother quit cold turkey, and intends to quit every other drug in his life.

I haven't the slightest idea on how to be helpful or supportive of them. I'm scared to loan money for rehab since they're already in crazy debt to my mom, and I don't know how to act or what to say when I see them again. If it helps, the fiance is the most emotionally unstable person I've ever known and cries/has anxiety attacks over EVERYTHING. I don't know how to help and it's killing me. What are your suggestions for someone trying to help?

Thanks so much.

traceyh4154 karma

I wouldn't jump right to rehab. I would talk to them. In many states, they can access programs inpatient and outpatient but that falls on them, not you

Ogre11 karma

I just saw the episode from PBS Frontline a few days ago about how heroin and opiate addiction is so much more prevalent than most people believ. I was curious if you agree with that, and additionally if you have had any experience with Seattle`s new LEAD( I believe that is the name) program and if it is working as well as they led on?

traceyh4151 karma

I have heard of it but I am not personally familiar

[deleted]1 karma

[deleted]

traceyh4155 karma

I did black tar. I have lots of abscess scars and tracks but most have faded over time. Congrats to you

ANTIVAX_JUGGALETTE-9 karma

What's the best way for a newbie to try heroin? Jump right into intravenous or pills first?

traceyh4158 karma

I don't advise opioid use. If you do, the best way to try heroin is to have naloxone on hand in case you overdose and someone to administer it.