senior scribes

Chasin' the Dragon
By Mona Lease

Hi, all!! I added another girl to my list of friends (inner circle really) in July of 2016. We've had some really profound conversations. I just had to share the following with you.

Of Cantonese origin, from Hong Kong, is the phrase "chasing the dragon." It refers to inhaling vapors from a heated solution of morphine, heroin, oxycodone, opium, and ya ba (a pill containing a combination of caffeine and methamphetamine). The user gingerly keeps the liquid moving to keep it from overheating and burning up too quickly. On a heat-conducting material like aluminum foil - the smoke is chased with a tube and inhaled..."chasing the dragon."

In modern verbage - the original meaning of "chasing the dragon" has changed to a metaphor for the addict's constant pursuit of the feelings of their first high. The "dragon" is mythical and so represents a goal that can never be achieved since it no longer exists - there will never be another "first." The FBI and the DEA have released a documentary - "Chasing The Dragon: The Life of an Opiate Addict." Credits date from 2014 - 2016. Watch this for yourselves. Some statistics from this film are:

1 in 5 high school seniors report misusing prescription drugs at least once in their lifetime.

In 2014 a national survey found an estimated 1.4 million people in the US abused a prescription painkiller for the first time that year.

The "first time" is always someone who has a prescription drug to help you "feel better" or ease a physical pain (toothache, sprain, etc.).

100% of the time, addicts will say that oxycodone is the most addictive.

Nearly all people who use heroin use at least one other drug.

Addicts report that they get to the point where they "use" heroin/oxycodone just to keep the sickness - shakes, vomiting, inability to take a shower, etc  at bay until the next needed fix. It's no longer for the joy of the high.

In the 1960s, more than 80% of the opioid abusers got hooked on heroin first. In the 2000s, 75% of the opioid abusers started with prescription opioids.

Each day, 44 people in the US die from an overdose of prescription painkillers.

More than 93% of those identified as needing treatment for dependence or misuse of a illicit drug believe they do not need help.

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, find resources at The Dragon

Using the above "chasing the (drug) dragon" - what happens when you insert money where drug is? Is the end result the same...losing? Maybe not losing your life...but health...or friends when you do not have time for them, etc. We (my new girlfriend and I) rattled off names of people we know who chased the "money-dragon". They worked more hours (tax man took more money), bought more lottery tickets, bought extra life insurance policies (now they screen your health first), etc. They drink gallons of coffee (or caffeinated energy drinks) a day and inhale carbs religiously about 2 pm for that energy rush when the body turns the carb to sugar to burn. They go without sleep, etc. You could insert just about anything for "drug or money" and get the same result. Are these maybe what you would call "legal dragons?"

I find it interesting that the film mentioned the 1960s and that 80% of opioid users used heroin first. The 1960s...when jobs were more plentiful...women could get their own home loans and jobs...Virginia Slim created a sleeker looking cigarette just for women and later the slogan "You've come a long way, baby!" Divorces became more prevalent...what you might call "the norm." We were coming off of a war then, too. But I wonder: "When we chased a dragon...any of them...did we ever see anything of the dragon himself/herself...smoke from the nose maybe?? Or did we only see the dust he/she kicked up as they ran faster?"

The above information cited in the Cantonese/Hong Kong lifestyles is NOT intended as information on how to do any drug. It is intended to show how "chasing the dragon" got the moniker. The above should also show that drugs are a nowhere road. Two years ago this month, a girlfriend of mine from 2nd grade was found dead with the needle still in her arm. It contained "dirty drugs"...heroin laced with Fentenyl.

Remember the kiddies and our service people. Take good care of the furry and feathered ones out there. Be safe and healthy. See ya next time. Ever Toodles!! MONA

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