Witnessing Someone Else’s Overdose

Watching a kid panic as his friend ODs on the train reminded me how terrifying my drug use must have been to the people who cared about me.

od-helpIt’s February 12th, 6:49 EST. I am on a train from New York to New Jersey. Life is good. I am rocking out to tunes on Spotify, all bundled up in my vintage fur, excited to see my boyfriend in a play, and thrilled to be taking meetings with potential book publishers. Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and for the first time in years, I have somebody to give a goofy card to. And then I hear:

“What the fuck? Dog? Dog!” A young guy yells to his friend who has suddenly overdosed on the train to Jersey. Only a minute before, the kid was sitting up, looking like he was kind of dozing off, and then suddenly, he jerked slightly a few times and just keeled over. Now he’s totally unresponsive.

A pretty Asian, with her hair in a messy ballerina’s bun, comes over and quickly and coldly deems that he has “alcohol poisoning” and he “just needs to sleep it off.”

“How do you know?” I ask, suspicious.

“I’m an EMT,” she says snottily.

Just then, the guy begins choking on his own spit. His friend is freaking out. “His lips are blue. He’s choking! Dog! DOG!”

“Sit him up,” the EMT quips casually and goes back to playing Candy Crush or whatever the fuck she’s doing.

“We need to stop the train and get the medics,” the conductor says.

I see the big black girlfriend of the kid whisper something to the friend, and when he nods, she frantically urges, “Well, get it off him!” She quickly reaches into the hoodie pocket of the overdosed kid and pulls out a substantial bag of pot and stuffs it into her jacket.

“What did you just take off of him?” the conductor says. “You need to stand back until the police come!”

“It was just pot,” she said. “Please. I don’t want him to get into trouble,” she pleads.

“Do not touch him anymore.”

The train comes to a stop and on pile a cop and two paramedics. Then the barrage of questions: “Does he do drugs? We need to know that right now. Heroin, anything like that?”

“Well, we weren’t with him all day but when we met him on the train he said he’d drank a whole bottle of E&J…” the friend says.

“What about drugs?” the medic presses.

“Well he used to take zannies but he stopped six months ago and he said he was clean.”

“Used to is good enough for me,” the cop says.

They strap him into a chair. It takes three people to move his dead weight. He looks cold, a blue hue over his face and hands. I see a big gold pinky ring on his lifeless hand. They wrap a sheet around him. Read more “the fix”…



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