addiction

NCIS, Bow Street Market, and phrases that trouble me.

“This is what you shall do: love the Earth and the Sun and the animals, despise wealth, give alms to everyone that asks, stand up for the stupid and the crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, go freely with powerful, uneducated persons and with the young and the mothers of families, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your soul, and your very flesh shall be a great person.”  

– Walt Whitman

~

So, True Believers,

As we plod toward spring –

I did an orientation for a position in the meat department at Bow Street Market, here in Freeport.  Loved the introduction to the place – it really seems to be a groovy, complicated, clever organization and I really admire that.  One thing that got me though (just one) – they really went out of there way to explain how anti-tobacco they are, how they don’t sell it, give money to the American Lung Association and will help anyone who wants to quit.  In the next breath they tell me that they’re the number one supplier of hard liquor here in the one syllable.  Like, damn those ciggies; thank God that the profitable booze side of things isn’t a problem.

I start part-time this weekend, the first time in a long time that your humble narrator has worked and over-the-table, straight job.  Wish me luck!

~

“Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine and champions at mixing drinks.”  – the Prophet Isaiah (IS 5:22)

~

Most of you never knew me when I was an insane, uncontrollable, Listerine drinking drunk.  Despite what the family thought, I really couldn’t stop.  It was a horror show.  I was one of those people who would call you on the phone and you’d dread that I might actually want to come over.  Horrid.  What happened?

Naltrexone and Gabbapentin for three months.

It truly is a miracle.  The Gabba keeps the anxiety down and the Naltrexone, mysteriously, miraculously, puts an end to the cravings.

Example: back in the day, if I drank Wednesday night, I’d wanna drink Thursday morning.  After Naltrexone, no desire to continue drinking.  I mean, if you only knew me before.  I HIGHLY recommend that everyone, anyone having trouble with their drinking go to their primary care physician and get on naltrexone.  Go to the following link, print it and present it:

http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/doi/abs/10.1176/appi.ajp.2011.10101436

Thank you, and thank God that I’m sober today… dude!  I was one of THOSE people.  We’ll get in depth about it at some point.

~

“When I dream, I dream someone else’s dreams.  I’ve been trying to find that person since I was a child.” – Robert Littell

~

Hey, do y’all watch NCIS?  I don’t due to a lack of television, but, someone did mention it the other day, and my first thought was: how old is Abbey now, like, 61?  Does she still dress the same and do the same schtick?

Speaking of old, let me date myself.  I remember (and it must have been the seventies, when the star of NCIS, what’s his name, the guy who plays “Gibbs,”married to Pam Dawber, was voted People magazine’s sexiest man of the year.  I remember a movie, “Summer School” or something, where he plays a teacher to a bunch of neer-do-well students, including a young Courtney Thorne-Smith, later of Melrose Place fame, and then Ally MacBeal (which, by chance, your humble narrator’s been viddying lately on Netflix.)

Mark Harmon!  That’s the cat’s name.

~

“Dear God, I do not see the road ahead of me.. I have no idea where I’m going, but I think that the                desire to please you, does in fact please you.  And I have that desire in everything I do.”                        – Thomas Merton

~

Some words trouble me, some expressions bother me, others drive me crazy.  Here are a few phrases that I just don’t care for.

  1. Trimmings.  You know what the damn word means.  I don’t know why, but I’ve always hated that “turkey and all the trimmings” bullshit.  I don’t know, but along the same line is:
  2. Fixin’s.  Anything that has all the fixin’s… I mean, what the fuck, is this bugtussle?
  3. I know that I’m being really word judgmental, and I do apologize to any of you  whose fav word or phrase I might be stepping on.
  4. Shopping spree.  Don’t like it, Geraldo.
  5. “Chillin'” When I ask you what you’re doing, please don’t tell me you’re chillin’.  I bloody hate that.  It’s nothing.  Just tell me that it’s none of my business.
  6. I was sure that I had more, but I seem to be okay with all of the other words and phrases, right now.

~

“If you are suffering, you will have some pleasure in the lesson that everything changes.” – Shunryu Suzuki

~

I know, wacky blog, right?

News?  I got the cover of the Bollard again for March.  Go to thebollard.com (one word) and search for Robin Rage, or the Seaborn Wu.  And, hopefully Isaac and G-raff will be coming over next Tuesday to do some recording.

And… that’s all I’ve got at the moment; if I had more, I’d spill it, swear.  I’ve been up since midnite last night, and I’m sputtering… oh… I haven’t had a cigarette in  ten days!  Incredible stuff, right?

Okay.  For my wacky music go to the pinkgelatinskeleton channel on youtube.  For the “Spice” Documentary, and other things, go to the otis.porkmeyer channel.

Okay, children, we’re on our own.  Let’s have a stellar day, and we’ll all check in later.

Love and rockets,

Rage

angel

~

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On Case Management in the State of Maine

Hey, True Believers:

What follows is just your humble narrator ranting about something we all know, but just don’t talk about: Case management in Maine.

Case management of those of us suffering from severe enough mental illness to warrant it, I suppose. Their job is , in theory, is to connect their clients to services in the community. Once the client is, in theory, hooked up with the necessary services, she or he no longer needs a case manager, cuz they don’t need their case managed anymore. We then manage our cases like y’all manage yours.

I’ve had one, now for… um.. since ’04, I think. How long is that? Eleven years, thank you. Long time, right? And I’m one of those peeps who, honestly, probably never needed it.

I first qualified for case management services after a short stint at A.M.H.I. Following a faux suicide attempt at Kennebec County Jail. Your humble narrator was in there for my fifth O.U.I. (that’s D.U.I. for those of you in the Outlands, and that was only two weeks after I’d been bailed out by mum for my fourth one) and bail was $10,000, and I’d yet to hear from my court-appointed lawyer, the glow-pated Brian Mahaney. I’d heard that you could smoke cigarettes over at A.M.H.I. (or “Riverview” it’s new gentrified moniker,) which you could at the time. So, I took the blade from my razor, went to the shower and caused some minor nicks on my wrists. The jail doc stitched me up, down in the basement and asked me if I wanted to be “Blue Papered.” (blue being the color of the paperwork drawn up to commit someone to the madhouse.) It was the golden ticket to the Augusta Mental Health Institute! I mean, Riverview. I happily agreed and off I went.

Now, Riverview, really isn’t old nasty A.M.H.I., it’s not even in the same bloody buildings, and I won’t get into how pleasant and healing it was there in the unit for the criminally insane (I can’t understand why they’re having so much trouble hiring peeps up there. It’s a good time, swear!) By the time my mother bailed me out for the ten large, I was a “Class Member,*” and I was qualified for a plethora of services, including a case manager.

My first case manager was an older fellow from Mass, who really knew all of the ropes. He knew all the right numbers to call, protected me from my probation officer whenever necessary. He hooked me up with lots of free stuff too, I mean, I got computers and televisions and clothes from Olympia sports, etc. He seemed to have the same disdain for the system that I had and it almost felt as though he was my friend. We’d meet once a week, usually to go to an out of town food bank, usually Winthrop or Hallowell (where the good stuff was) and normally he’d end up taking as much food as me. We were like, pals, playing the system. I got free rides and free stuff, and he go to bill Mainecare.

Cause, whether the old man liked me or not, it’s really all about billable hours, and being such a high-functioning, rather charming lunatic, I was the kind of easy job you wanted to keep part of your too-heavy caseload for as long as possible. But, the old man was always good to me, and he never cried over me. After my case-manager experiences which were to follow, I grew to believe that the old man had been the best there could be.

Upon my release from Windham Prison, I wanted to continue with Catholic Charities, as I had up north. But, as I was placed at Auburn House, one of Shalom House’s holding pens, my P.O. At the time, Alan Wright, persuaded me to get a case manager with Shalom house as well. Quite used to by now, saying “yes” to whatever anyone connected with THE LAW asked of me, I, of course said “Yes!”

Auburn House was an adventure in itself and enough for a cover, I’m sure. It wasn’t, the house manager at the time, Pam McNalley, declared, a “dry shelter.” It was definitely more than damp, and before long, I was drinking again, partying with my housemates. Staff rarely ventured upstairs and really I found as long as the rent got paid, they and Shalom house itself were like cats: they didn’t give a fuck.

I think they sent me to detox three times, but, only vodka started dripping from their ceiling (I had a room directly above the staff office.) Crazy. The guy who took over the room when I left was an active heroin addict. He slit his wrists in that room.

My first case manager, while still at the Auburn House, was fun, but useless. After meeting with her several times and getting nowhere, I finally wrote up my own list. Not of goals; I knew by now that this wasn’t what it was about. It was about getting free rides and as much free stuff as you could, as well as the much-coveted bus pass. She needed to work with me, here!

Come to think of it, though, I didn’t get any.. no, wait. She did get me on the shelter-plus waiting list. Thank you. She also told me that there we’re apartments available for rent all over the city, aside from the fact that I was a felon lacking rental history. When I came into some yen, via small inheritance, her advice was to spend it as quickly as possible before “anyone” found out. Oh, baby, did I.

She ended up driving me to detox a couple of times, but then, driving me around was, I had learned, what these degreed and licensed people did best. I guess during one intake a Mercy Hospital (God bless Mercy Hospital, I can’t believe that sold out. Mercy Hospital, rest in peace.) I slipped an arm around her and kissed her neck which, I guess, caused her some confusion, causing her clinical supervisor to switch me to a male case manager.

What luck that turned out to be!

I’ll call him “Don.” Don and I had a lot of fun. I got rides, of course, but, he also sold me medical marijuana that he was, he said, getting gratis from another client. He bragged of his exploits in boundary smashing with other clients and admitted that, yes, he did have a bad thing for pregnant Asian women. Oh, yeah, be bought a stolen bicycle off of me. For $20! That was a fat bag of spice!

Then I got the last case manager I’d have. I got lucky, really. I mean, I’ve never needed a case manager, but you jut get so used to saying ‘yes” and signing your name. I didn’t realize then that agencies just herd us like buffalo; we’re just billable hours to them. One’s and zeros. The more buffalo the better!

My last case manager was from the Outlands and he did things differently. He kept urging me to stop my nonsense and become fully human. He wanted to work on true goals, goals which would result in me being free of case management.

At the time I’d already published the “Sherwood” article, and case management was just, well, something you did in my population. I would joke about not feeling like a “citizen” but wanting to become one.

“Robin, ‘citizens’ don’t have case managers.”

He ended up leaving the agency. He couldn’t keep enough clients on the books, enough buffalo in the pen. I ended up leaving case management.

So, really, Rage? Really? Yes, true believers. Wanna save money, hire a group of seventeen year olds and have them drive us around like case managers do. You’ll only have to pay like, $10 an hour instead of $72,000 a year (that’s the median salary for case managers in Portland, Maine, according to salary.com).

Like anything else out there, there are peeps who need case management.. just not what they’re getting under the name of it. But that’s just life on the other side of the window.

Love and riots,

Rage

 

And then it was May!

“You’re not in the World now, mate.  You’re in Darksummer.” – Yukon Sammy

Hey, sons and daughters of Otis Porkmeyer,

Salute!

I know, I know, I’ve really been planning on blogging, at least on a weekly basis, but, I get so, so distracted.  It’s really amazing that things DO get done, and that when they do get done, they’re pretty nifty things.

Here’s what’s up:

Circles!

Circles in the Southern Tribe are up and running again, and wellness gatherings will soon follow.  I think we’re going to have to take a look at our collection of websites and how I originally designed them (I used to believe that complicated was better) and make things a bit more dynamic, right?

Of course, I still haven’t moved on the non-profit paperwork.  I have the old forms, and clean forms, I just need to get it done.  I tell you what, hold me accountable.  I’ll make a move on them by next weekend, swear.

Recovery through Service is and has played a major part of Preble Streets upcoming first consumer council!  I should have blogged about this weeks ago.  Right now, at the Preb, you can get a nomination ballot at the desk, available through Sunday. On Monday, the nominations will be put onto one ballot and next Friday we’ll have a general election.  The top five vote-getters will earn a place on the council, with the top vote getter holding the position of President.  Before the general election, we’re going to have a debate in the kitchen, I believe on Thursday.

So, nominate yourself or someone else.  It’s gonna be pretty hip.

“People don’t die naturally here, but by violence or sorcery.” – Ronellow Moore, Mayor of Darksummer Town

Other news: the Spice Documentary!  I don’t have the exact address, but go to the otis.porkmeyer channel on Youtube,.com and you’ll find it there, as well as some music viddys and other shite.  Oh: actually, (thank you, Carlos) the addy is: https://youtu.be/dxBHJhhJHTQ.

And, scope out this months Bollard (http://www.thebollard.com) and look for the cover story “Opiatopia” by yours truly, Robin Rage.  The very cool thing about this one is that is was solicited; they asked for it.  They knew that I’d been working on a story about zohydra and junkies and asked me to finish it up, and I ended up going on a short-lived drunk, going to Mercy Detox for two days then getting out.  It was at this point that I began banging out edits and actually finishing the article.  Chris ended up chopping alot of the original out, but, no worries.  I’ll post it or stick it somewhere.

So that’s what’s been going on.  Oh, Kosmo and I are going to be doing some tv show with Busby, and of course you can check us out at CTN on Turnstyle Thursdays.

So, be well, my friends.  Summer’s almost here, and there’s truly a powerful wave rushing through this season.  Find your set and ride.

Love and rockets,

Rage

“No one cared who I was until I put on the mask.” – the Berserker

Aho.

The rune is reversed.

NATION!

Day six without ciggies, feeling better.

Presented our proposal for a consumer council at Preble Street today at staff meeting, and Bella and I spelled it all out, and it went over well.  Now Bill, our good friend, the Director of the Resource Center, is going to pick two of many who would volunteer from his staff to meet with two of our soldiers to flesh this thing out and make it so.

Right on.  It’ll be like having a beggars union; this will be a good thing.

Amen, amen!

And, Bill printed us out the instructions for the IRS Form 1023, so that we can (at long last) go over what we’ve got and make any corrections.  This weekend I’ll be getting some peeps together for a Dharma Spring to discuss some changes to the Holistic Rite.  It’ll be like Vatican II!

Did a little work on the next Darksummer piece last night.. and I mean, that shit just spills out of my generator; you don’t have to research FANTASY-LANDthank Bog!  Still plunkin’ away at my next serious piece. I’ve been trading e’s with some whitecoats up in Central, and I’d contacted a comrade of mine who I was certain could give me some badly needed data, but alas, he’s been out of the game for just a bit too long.  I’ll fill in what I can tonight.  I want to get something out there in March.  And I will.

~

“‘I could drink.’ It’s like being at the top of a tall building and thinking: ‘I could fly.'” – Robin Williams

I just stuck the above quote in because I’ve just never heard it put that way before.  Be well, Robin.

~

That’s it, my friends.

Big storm coming friday?  Only God Herself and Raul Castro know for sure!

Be well, my beloved tribe!

Rage

 

Day Four of not smoking any ciggies.. oh yeah.

Yes, true believers – it’s been four days without ciggies, and lemme tell you – last night, hell, even this morning although not as badly, my legs hurt crazy.  Or, to go deeper – my bones.  It’s like I’ve been told a methadone withdrawal is like.  But,

I know it’s just the detox.  In addition to quitting smoking, rather, previous to it, I bought this art-deco steel blender at Goodwill, and have been, well, blending.  Fruits and vegetables, like I scribed previously. But, I never gave y’all my inspiration.  Scope this documentary out.  (If you’re so lead.) It’s about this fat, rich Austrailian who does a 60 day juice fast while popping around America.  Pretty good stuff.

Damn.. you know, I should have mentioned that we’re in the middle a mad snowstorm, like two feet. (where you were born, dear Maegen.) And, Time Warner is just not about clarity during storms.  So, I can’t find the link to the documentary, but, here’s Joe’s site.

http://www.rebootwithjoe.com

I’ve been totally breadless, just tons of fruits and vegetables and, well, of course meat.  Sorry, Buddha!  Just one more precept I cannot keep!

So, yesterday, I was worthless, you know, the smoking crap.  Today’s a better day, or instead of blogging I’d be freaking out, watching old Law and Order SVU episodes, mingled with Seinfeld and Chef Ramsay.

I’m working on two articles now, the Zohydro groove and another Darksummer story.  I’ll post the first one, eventually.  And, I’ve got someone to help me with the paperwork for the non-prof, which is a godsend.

“The harvest is bloody big!  But the workers are few!” – to paraphrase the J-man.

And, I have two peeps who are helping to revamp Circles, and, well, you know.  Stuff just happens.  If I haven’t said it before, I am amazed that I get so much interesting shit done with my tendency to slide into depression or chaos.

And yet it’s so.

Anyway, if I go on for two long, I imagine you’ll get desperately bored, and none of us want that.

Stay warm, my brothers and sister,

Plug into the spiritual,

Try to do the right thing.

Be grateful, be so grateful, for what you have, and for what you don’t have.

And never give up.

Okay?

Stellar.

‘Til next time, love and rockets,

Rage

On quitting smoking, and coffee grounds, and those damn fruit flies.

Well, it’s day two for your humble narrator, and with patches, and previous quit experience, I feel okay.  I mean, a little hollow, but not like in quits previous.  Of course, the other wacky thing that I do, if I do feel that NEEEEED, it that I puff a little oregano.  Yup.  Because of my head injury, I can’t smell a thing, so, really, oregano may as well be tobacco; my brain only knows that I’m inhaling burning leaves. (Fuzzy bear won’t even go around a camp fire, stating that in no situation is inhaling burning organic materials a good thing.  The thing is, and if last time was any test, after a few days it occurs to me “Hey, it’s pointless to smoke oregano.”  And QT, I promise this time, I won’t puff thyme; apparently it smells rather vile.

So, the  quitting smoking thing is just one part of things.  I’ve been using the blender to deal with loads of fruits and vegetables (micro nutrients) that I would never consume in one sitting.  I bought a bag of kale (of all bitter, horrid things) and actually finished the bag! I discovered that I rather enjoy Kale chips.  Ask for the recipe if you’d like.

Oh, meds, baby.  If you want to get off meds (depending on your condition; I’m speaking for the worried well.) you have to practice a holistic recovery, that’s health in all areas of ones life: mind, body, spirit and society.  I recently went back on naltrexone, the active ingredient in suboxone, because when I take it (despite the studies, I’m just talking about me) I have no cravings.  I figured that it would help with my current quits.

Cuz, okay, coffee.  Initially, I was going to say: if you’re using a french press to make your coffee with, coffee grounds are gonna get all over the place, like dirt.  I swear, there’s no getting rid of them; you just have to keep cleaning.  But, I thought it might be a nifty experience to see how caffeine was effecting me, my 30 cups a day or so.

“Why am I so anxious?!!”

So, around six yesterday I did, yes, decaf.  And as a result, after only eight hours of being awake, I found myself exhausted and had to go to bed.  I felt the same thing tonight, and had a cup of caff, just because I had stuff to do.  Perhaps I’ll have to become a day writer… ooo… I don’t know!

Fruit flies.  There ain’t no fruit out.  No left overs of anything left out, and yet these things always return.  But still, they don’t upset me like the coffee dirt does.

So.  Kind of luxury problems, right?

Yes.

Lyssarian, dear number one daughter, love you so, sleep like the goddess you are, and true believers, do the same.  See you in the light.

Love and rockets,

 

Rage

“Spiceworld, Portland” by Robin Raged

Spiceworld, Portland, Baby!

Check out videos of the Spice kids our Youtube page: youtube.com/zenholistix

Synthetic cannabis – K-2, Diesel, Stanky, Porkmeyer, Mr. HappySpigitti.  Spice.  You’ve heard about it on the news, read about it in the papers, or maybe you’ve just seen more and more of those discarded colorful little packages littering the corners of the old city alongside the usual discarded needle caps.  It’s a legal, over the counter product involving natural herbs (usually damiana, safflower, or marshmallow leaf, I’m told by my techies) sprayed with a variety of designer chemicals carefully concocted to give the user a weed-like, legal high.  You can buy it at gas stations, or the local headshops here in town (Lucky Ju-Ju’s and A-wear, anyway.  Blazing Aces did, until, one of their clerks claims, police intimidation put an end to that) in tidy little packages at tidy little prices.  Thanks to a lack of widespread, definitive testing for Spice, you don’t have to worry about those pesky little drug tests anymore, or making your schedule work with your local mom and pop pot dealer’s (it can be a bit like waiting for the cable guy.)  Hell, you can even puff the spigitti in public.

Cuz’ it’s legal.

You’ve heard about Spice from those on the good side of the window.  This article was written from the other side of the window, the view from the street and the woods.  This is our experience with the pros and cons of Spice.

“It’s illegal to smoke stuff that grows out of the ground, but I can smoke as much of this catnip sprayed with deep-woods off as I want.  Doesn’t that seem twacked?”  – D.J., Portland Spicehead.

According to sources I can’t confirm or deny, synthetic cannabis first made its appearance in the U.K., back in 2004 under the brand names “Spice” and “K-2,” names now used synonymously with synthetic cannabis.  It hit the U.S. by 2008 and now, of course, it’s all over the globe and all over Maine.  Attempted bans on individual chemicals in the product (names unintelligible to the average Jane or Joe, such as “JWH-018,” “AM-694,” or “RCS-4”) have appeared globally as well, but, Spice’s lab geeks have managed to come up with a similar (underline “similar”) non-banned replacement designer chemical every time.

Clever!

“It’s legal, it gets you higher, and I don’t get drunk anymore, and, I don’t have to worry about pissing positive for weed anymore.” – Roscoe, Portland Spicehead

Why smoke Spice?  From what we’ve been hearing in the news lately, the stuff is as bad as crack.

Well, marijuana is bad, yes?  Unless it has a government mystic waves regulations over it and, of course, as long as the pharmaceutical-medical complex gets its piece of the pie.  Bad or not, marijuana is illegal, here in Maine and federally.  If you’re subject to regular drug testing, it’s probably legally healthier for you to abuse alcohol, cocaine or heroin, each which exit the body much faster than Mary Jane’s thirty-day trace record.  And Spice isn’t heroin.  It’s legal, bought in pre-weighed, friendly corporate packaging.  It’s so legal that, unlike the above, you can actually puff the spigitti right in public.  The big plus to many users, as mentioned above – no more urinalysis worries.  On probation?    Can’t stop puffing weed?  Smoke spice and you’ll be fine.  In the military?  Work for Wal-Mart or Central Maine Power?  Pilot of a Boeing 747?  No worries.

You’re legally clean.

And for those on the warm side of the window who like to recreationally puff, no more clandestine meetings with shady pot dealers.  You can pick the Spice up at the store on the way to work.

Gee!  That’s pretty legit!

So what’s the problem?  Well…

“I thought I was going to die.” – Kabir, Portland Spicehead.

Some unwanted side effects will probably be experienced by new users of the drug, and can last up to their first two weeks of use.  Here are the most commonly reported complaints:

  • Severe Emotional Outbursts.  These can include uncontrollable sobbing, anxiety, feeling of helplessness or even of impending doom.
  • Loss of Motor Control.   This can range from a mere or severe lack of coordination to mild or even severe seizures.
  • Stomach Troubles.  This can include constant gas, loose stools, chronic diarrhea, cramping and vomiting.
  • Loss of Consciousness.  From brief blackouts where you were actually conscious, but have no idea what just happened, to passing out completely for longer periods of time.
  • Wacky, Un-weed-like, Uncharacteristic behavior.  This covers a lot, but usually falls under the “I never act like that!” heading.  Several users have found themselves banned from the Preble Resource Center, the shelter, the library, even local business, due to their outlandish behavior while on spice, whether it’s involved  violence, threats of violence, or just plain loud  and annoying acting out.  Another conscious but uncharacteristic behavior shared by many Portland Spiceheads is first time pan-handling, what we like to call “begging”.  Many have claimed to this writer that before needing money for Spice, they didn’t beg.

And, of course, there are the recent burglaries and even one attempted robbery, of stores which sell spice.  Potheads don’t usually engage in violence, and robberies and burglaries take a lot of motivation, anyway.

What’s that about?  Is that addiction?

“Man, I miss the days when I used to be able to take just one hit and get so high I’d have a seizure.” – Alex, Portland Spicehead

Although the high of spice is much more intense than that of marijuana (“it’s like the feeling you get after you’ve smoked LOTS of pot,” – Stanley, Portland Spicehead) it’s a short-lasting high, in average lasting , and then abruptly ending after only ten minutes.  So, unlike the weed, you’re really going to have to keep smoking Spice to stay high, or to avoid it’s abrupt cutoff.

The good news about the negative side-effects of spice?  They’ll usually disappear in a period of a week or two, once your body acclimates itself to the drug.

However…

Several people interviewed also claimed to have suffered from severe withdrawal symptoms when unable to obtain spice for a period of time.  These symptoms ranged from headaches to stomach troubles to hallucinations.

“I would stand out in the cold for ten hours to earn five dollars to get a nickel bag of spice.  Know why?  Cause if I didn’t, I’d start mainlining heroin and drinking again, and that would be a problem.”  – Nick, Portland Spicehead

Can there be a positive to Spice?  It does seem that the use of Spice does have an impact on other traditional addictions, something which does beg for scientific inquiry.  When a hardcore 24/7 alcoholic is able to completely stop or moderate their alcohol use due to Spice consumption – that demands attention.  We’re talking about late-stage no-hope drunks – our Congress Square Park open-container peeps – quitting drinking.  Unfathomable.  Addicts who’ve been able to use Spice to come off of opiates is a pretty huge plus as well (Maine is still #1 in States with a population seeking treatment for opiate abuse, you know; those orange caps that you see all around aren’t pieces of Pez dispensers, they are the sign of an uncapped needle.)  Even the heroin addicts and the crackheads who use spice to moderate their use (yes, I did say “moderate”) make a pretty big case for further study.  And, of course, Potheads who’ve previously stated that they’d “NEVER” quit weed, have no problem stopping if the Spigitti is available.  Curiously, though, people report that having been on Spice for a while they can no longer get high off of marijuana.  Whether this is due to a receptor-blocker-effect, or the comparatively more intense high of Spice remains to be seen.  A week or two of abstinence from Spice will be required, they say, before the old weed will get you high again.

“It’s gonna be illegal by summer.” – Portland Police Officer

Officer Knight, I imagine, and others who patrol the straight and narrow must certainly feel a sense of frustration at seeing the lads openly smoke Spice in public, their only recourse being to urge them to “move it on, boys.”  I understand this, and I’m sure that our right to smoke ANYTHING in Portland’s parks and squares being taken away recently must have had something to do with this.  But do you know what else is sold over the counter, legally, in friendly packages?  Oh, yes.  Alcohol.  And cigarettes, which still kill more of us than alcohol and all hard drugs combined.  Of all of the Spicekids interviewed for this article, only three ended up giving up the Spice, despite the negative effects.  One continues to snort heroin, one re-discovered Jesus, and one has taken up drinking again, and is currently in County.

The rest are still smoking.

Check out videos of the Spice kids on our Youtube page: youtube.com/zenholistix

– Robin Raged