Image via Instagram
Many friends of mine have had episodes with heroin. I never got around to shooting up myself, which supposedly was "the bomb," "ruled," and felt "better than being blown by Jesus." I never tried it, nor did I ever catch a great contact high being around my strung out friends. Of those awful times, I mostly remember tragic romances, an infant hanging out in someone's living room (yes, kind of like Trainspotting, but milder), and junkies acting bratty while I washed their dishes for them.
Now there's a community of heroin and pill junkies on Instagram glorifying their personal drug abuse narratives. A montage of drug connoisseurs comes from the eye of a needle's beholder (or a camera phone). Listed under #nodsquad and #junkiesofig you'll find smiling dopers, needle rigs, pills stacked like Jenga sets, many cups of lean, and other accoutrements displayed in all of their Instabrag-filtered glory.
"You'll find some gems of Instagram heroin users... if the word gem can be applied to them," a friend told me after sending me a list of #nodsquad #junkiesofig and Instagram profile links. Riffing on those thinspiration and self-harm Tumblr blogs, the photos manifest that perverse cry for attention a junkie must emit when doing the loneliest of drugs all alone with a smartphone.
Might a pre-existing condition for excessive social media sharing have contributed to the flux of these 'cute' fix pics? I hate to be a narc, but it also appears that the posters could be using the hashtags for product demonstrations. Some provide Kik handles and exhibit huge stashes of drugs and cash. Selling heroin with Instagram? Come on.
"Getatme. #heroin #junkiesofig #hustling #hustlin #addics." Via
In any case, Instagram's response will likely be to follow Tumblr's example. In case you forgot, the microblogging site eventually had to deal with its anorexia and self-harm problem by banning the content (which can hardly be enforced), and placing a PSA at the top of search results. When a user looks for 'thin,' 'thinspiration,' 'anorexia,' 'self-harm,' 'cutting,' 'suicide,' 'suicidal,' etc., a counseling and prevention link appears.
The upset anti-drug spokespeople have already begun utilizing the tags to educate addicts and curious spectators. Such gratuitous image-sharing and teen-influencing isn't anything new. I guess what bewilders me about #nodsquad, #junkiesofig and just #plain #old Instagram is the abrupt rate at which every damn thing that we do is preserved forever. I mean, heroin's on Instagram. Does it really surprise you?