Introduction To Heroin Chippers

You’ve heard of the Big Book for alcoholics, no doubt. It is one of the main tools of the classic 12 step programs to overcome drug or alcohol addiction. Last night I learned about the Little Book ( of heroin), and was introduced to ‘chippers’ and a whole new concept regarding heroin users- how to be a successful weekend warrior by using clean needles, filtering your drugs before injection, staying below the radar, and most of all, the 3 day rule or the 8/72 rule on how NOT to become addicted- your typical ‘how to’ book.  There’s more too- apparently there are several books written and internet posts on how to be a sucessful chipper, and this is a whole sub-culture of it’s own.  I had no idea! Hmmmmm, I had always believed the common myth… “Heroin is like no other drug. It is so highly addictive that moderate or recreational use of the drug is literally impossible”. But now I have come to know that this is not entirely true at all. It seems a more accurate statistic is that only about 20% of heroin users are addicts and the rest are what are called ‘chippers’ or ‘weekend warriors’. How can this be? It is contrary to everything I have learned about drug addiction and heroin in the last 6 years, yet as I research and read and cross reference, I find overwhelming evidence that these chippers do exist and do successfully straddle heroin and convention life as we know it.  How bout that! I never embraced the ‘disease’ model of addiction nor thought ‘abstinence forever’was a reasonable goal for most, yet I sent my daughter to these types of places for lack of anything different out there-that’s all that is offered- I never could find harm reduction rehab- they literally don’t exist, and it’s a fringe concept anyhow. Abstinence vs. harm reduction- there is not really a choice  as heroin is illegal and this is not Sweden or Holland- we don’t regulate and administer heroin to a group of our society.  And what kind of a mother would I be if I taught my daughter to use heroin safely and with a minimum damage report, just say. Again, I would have to be in Sweden or Holland not to be thought of as a kook and an enabler.  Let it be known- I’m not advocating one way or the other- I’m just a little surprised at myself for not discovering this all sooner. I think the myth about heroin is put out there to discourage users from even trying to fit heroin into their lives under any circumstances. People who use heroin, or even desire to use heroin in our society are just plain considered morally corrupt bad people, so harm reduction is not widely practiced- only abstinence is taught- and I would call chippers folks practicing harm reduction- no wonder they remain in the closet- they have little chance of being  accepted by our society the way we roll here in the U.S.

Harm reduction is something we practice all the time in life- it could be using a condom during sex, wearing a seat belt in the car, or using a clean needle to be disposed of after use. Harm reduction could be teaching an alcoholic to walk to the bar instead of driving, or teaching him how to drink moderately. Yes, some can learn moderation, even when it comes to heroin. For those who cannot learn moderation and cannot change their behavior even in small ways, then abstinence may be the only logical choice.

And now I am in touch with hams.org which promotes bettering the lives of both drinkers and nondrinkers by promoting safe alcohol use, and they have a drug chapter as well, which of course promotes safe and moderate use of drugs and how to achieve that, if it be your choice.

I would love to hear from you- are any of you addicts or practicing harm reduction, or have family that uses/abuses drugs or alcohol? Your feedback is most welcome!!

1 Comment

One Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Junkie
    Aug 26, 2012 @ 17:39:52

    I’ve always wondered if chippers exist. I have never met one and I have met a lot of heroin users. I certainly am not a chipper. I was hooked the very first time I tried opiates. I was very educated about the physiological effects of long term opiate use, yet from the moment I tried it, I used all day every day for years. Knowledge wasn’t power. I am clean now, but I failed at recovery for a long time because I still had in my mind that it is theoretically possible to use heroin once without getting re-addicted. After much experimentation, I now know that that is impossible for me to use heroin once without continuing and I discourage anyone else from trying it as there is a significant chance that this will be the case for you also. It’s not worth the risk.

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