Maybe a few of you reading this blog stumbled on here when you were looking for information about heroin or addiction. Maybe you or one of your family members is struggling with some of the very same things that got me here in prison and you are looking for help.

In one of my first posts on here, I said I was genuinely glad I got arrested because it probably saved my life. Getting locked up is what it took for me to get the needle out of my arm. That is the good news.

Now the bad news. Here is the truth, if any of you reading this are thinking of quitting an addiction or maybe thinking if you don’t quit you might end up in prison, I suggest that you find a way to quit on your own. Ask for help, go to rehab or the hospital, have someone lock you in a room if you have to. Before you start, do it right and stock up on advil, immodium (if you are addicted to opiates) to ease the discomfort, and anthing else that you think can help too. Read up on your addiction and what to expect in withdrawal, don’t use your addict friends as your source of information either. Have some gatorade and sprite in the house, get some soup and crackers and then just tough it out. And once you get through that week or couple of weeks of hell, don’t go out and use again and be right back where you started.

Because looking back, I can say with all honesty detoxing in county jail is a very bad experience. In fact, it’s probably one of the worse ways to go about it. You will pray for death more than once during that experience but chances are, you won’t die, you will just wish you could.

For starters, it’s freezing cold in county jail. They keep the cells very cold, maybe 65 or so, at all times, the AC blasting, because it helps sober up the drunks and it keeps belligerent fools from fighting and acting aggressive. When I got arrested I had on shorts, a tank top, and sandals. No socks, no underwear. And they don’t issue those to you in county jail.

You get a jumpsuit and shower shoes. You have a thin, hard mattress, and a thinner blanket. If you want to purchase your own t-shirts and underwear and socks, you can, if somebody deposits money on your commissary account. But this takes time as you only get to go to the store on one day a week, and weekends is closed. So let’s say like me, you are arrested on Tuesday, and on Wednesday you call family, and they mail a money order the next day and it gets there on Saturday. My day for store was Friday, so that means I had to wait another week, so in total I was there 11 days with no underwear, sock, t-shirts, no toothpaste or toothbrush, no deodorant.

That was 11 days of going through withdrawing in the worse possible conditions, cold, uncomfortable, stinking, dirty, sweating and chills non-stop, with the craps and sick to my stomach and nobody there really could have cared less. The beverages in county jail was milk at meals and water from the tap. That’s it. Not cold water, not koolaid. Not even bad coffee was available.  You get woken up for breakfast at 4:00 AM, even though you probably just finally really fell asleep 2 hours before. It’s loud and noisy all the time, too, not to mention having to deal with a bunch of f’d up folks in there on a day to day basis who want to fight over any little thing, and freaking out because in the midst of the misery is the realization that the next stop is prison and that fact keeps smacking you right in the face.

So, if any of you are thinking of quitting (like I was pretty much every day of my addiction) do yourself a favor and accomplish it now, on the outside. Don’t wait for the Jail Rehab plan that I chose.

In closing, here’s a little bit of addict trivia for you – they supposedly call it “going cold-turkey” because of the goosebumps a heroin addict gets when in withdrawal. For those of you who haven’t experienced it, it’s really shitty, first you are sweating and then your flesh is all goosepimpled up, like a cold turkey carcass on ice, so turkeybumps really.

Peace ~ Texas Magnum

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  1. Joe Jones says:

    Thanks Texas Magnum…

    And another aspect that nobody thinks about regarding kicking dope in jail is this… Adrenaline makes you feel better, even if temporarily. And when I was in jail the sheer shock value of it, and the constant thought of guarding yourself from the possible physical encounters from the other dregs of society had kept my body on what seemed like a slow but steady adrenaline drip. Every minute it seemed like something would happen, or someone would cause a stir, and all the excitement kept my body from truly deteriorating like it would if I were alone at home in a darkened room kicking by myself. It also kept my thoughts from going to the gutter or thinking of who I could call to score dope from. So in all I must say, for me, jail is realistically the only place I can actually quit. And like I had said in my earlier post – jail gets withdrawals done in record time. You don’t get to play games with yourself and rationalize why you should abandon your quitting attempt and just get well and score. In jail you only need to know one thing – survive. The rest is really done for you. It sucks. But when you walk out you’re clean. I was. And that’s an amazing reward for a miserable stay in the can.

    • Texas Magnum says:

      Hey Joe, good point about the adrenaline. I think your right, jail is not the easy way, but it’s effective and fast. Glad you are doing well.
      ~ Magnum

    • Texas Magnum says:

      Hey Joe, Yeah that is a good point about the adrenaline factor. Jail is fast and effective way to withdraw, the no-BS plan. Hey by the way, recently I have been talking to a few folks who are interested in writing guest posts for the blog. Sounds like you might have something to say yourself. Are you interested? If so just let me know. I think it ads good perspective to hear from other people and what their own experience was. Glad you are doing well. ~ Magnum

  2. Joe Jones says:

    But jail is the only place I realistically can withdraw. It’s easier in jail. Why? How can that be? Because you just know you can’t get pills or dope. That’s just totally out of the question. And I wouldn’t tell the officers I was withdrawing. Why? I know they 1. don’t really know how bad it feels. They think, like all sober people, it’s just like the ‘flu’ and we dopers are just weak. And Cops have a set mentality, at least most seem to have that corny ‘work hard, play hard’ frat boy attitude. So hearing a jailed doper complain probably makes them feel disgusted. And I’d fear the more sadistic officers may do what they can to only make your stay even more delayed and more uncomfortable. So if an officer ever says, of course they won’t, but if they do ask how you are. Just say, ‘Fine, thank you’. The only exception is if you really have a fatal problem. But dopesickness will get a jailed inmate zero sympathy from virtually any cop.

    That said… I take back withdrawing in jail. OK, I’d prefer my own home. But that’s just obvious. All I am saying is there is one major advantage to jail for a doper. It really gets the job of withdrawal finished in record time. Because left to his own devices, no addict has the willpower to go 5, 10, 15, or more days cold turkey. No way! I couldn’t. But jail saved me. And I was only in jail once, for simple possession, and have been sober ever since.

    • Texas Magnum says:

      Hey Joe, you’re right about the cops not really giving a rats ass if you are uncomfortable, and maybe trying to make it worse for you. It does get the job done, in record time, and eliminates that whole issue of willpower, kind of out of your hands. Glad to hear your sober now, and staying clean. If that’s what it takes then it was worth while. Peace – Magnum

  3. Lady Gaga says:

    Kicking at home is bad enough. Sometimes I imagine it happening in a cold jail cell among violent criminals, and asshole security guards, and I can understand how people have committed suicide from being in that situation. I hope I never find myself in that place.

  4. Levi says:

    I hope you’re doing well. I went through the same thing, only about 10 days though. And then I went back out to using. Kinda pointless. It makes me feel like everything is so hopeless. But you.. I hope YOU do whats right. Someone has to. Thank you for your story, it means alot.

  5. Neon says:

    TM,

    I myself went though a cold turkey 6 year heroin habit 5 years ago in a county jail at the age of 50, and yeah you are not kidding super no fun. Well it’s just wrong society’s focus on criminalizing medical problems; no doubt it would be much more effective and less money than incarcerating every one.

    I appreciate your efforts to call attention to these important issues and open your life to all.

    Time goes by faster than we all think it will, as excruciating as it appears, hang in there, and don’t forget if you can forgive me for the advice, what you might be sure is one bag of dope will take you to years of hell on earth or even jail or death, so not worth it! Skill will override your felony conviction so consider concentrating on education… Computers are good… You are young, you can still make a hell of a splash in the world, trust me… Even at more than double your age I managed to overcome it all. Sure it had very difficult moments, but perseverance day to day gets you there more than intensity. It is worth all the effort is all I can say as someone who made it 5 years and counting.

    Good luck!

  6. Jmonk says:

    Wow! This hits VERY close to home. I was arrested for possession of 15 oxycodone pills 2 nights ago and got sent to jail. I am an oxycodone addict, and my experience became a living nightmare. Everything this man said is very accurate. I had thin work pants on and a skimpy t-shirt, and I was practically on the verge of a breakdown from having to endure 20 hours of cold with no protection from the elements. The conditions are so bad in jail— and this is before you are even convicted of anything! You are inoccent until proven guilty, and before your trial you have practically suffered so much it is a befitting punishment for the crime as is.

    I was moved to numerous holding areas, and began undergoing withdrawal 8 hours into my stay. The holding areas are freezing cold, and consist of nothing but white walls, a toilet that you are humiliatingly exposed to the public when using, and a small paper towel roll. You literally go insane from the lack of stimulation… I tried to make origami from the toilet paper and taking a shit was the highlight of my stay because I was doing SOMETHING. You become exhausted and weak from stress and sleep deprivation but cannot sleep because it is freezing cold, and all you have is a HARD wood bench you that barely fits you and a dirty paper towel roll as a “pillow”, if your lucky. This causes immense stress and anxiety, as each second feels like an hour because you have NOTHING to do.

    Anyhow, being in complete isolation in an empty room that is freezing cold with no blanket or clothes to protect you causes the obvious problems i listed above. Most police and guards treat you like you are a piece of trash, and it makes you feel so low and terrible. I am a good person– a smart person, and a compassionate person. I did not deserve to be so neglected and emotionally abused by these people. Just because you made a mistake, they should still have some basic compassion for people and let them get some rest by giving them a blanket or something so they don’t freeze to death. A book or magazine to read so you don’t get insane from isolation.

    Finally I moved to the county jail and shared a cell with filthy scum of the earth people. I actually looked forward to this so I could at least talk to other humans instead of bare with isolation, but this is when things took a turn for the worst. I began going into withdrawal and getting sick, but they dont give a fuck about you or whats going on. YOu are around filthy scum people and are at your most vulnerable; it’s the worst feeling ever. I began throwing up, and having hot and cold flashes. I was so cold to begin with, then withdrawals made the cold unbearable. I begged guards for a blanket or anything, and they wouldn’t help me. I’d have paid $350 for a jacket or blanket at that point, I was curled in a ball shivering for body heat while withdrawals had my limbs twitching, muscles joints severely aching, and a terribly depression and anxiety plagued me. I posted bail finally and it took 6 hours to be released. I so desperately wanted to be released so I could fix my withdrawal and it was all Ic ould think about. Each time a guard walked by, I prayed he’d open the door. They’d tease me like I was ready to go, then tell me another 2 hours. 2 hours later, it’d be another 2 hours, and so on. The peanut butter sandwich they gave me was so terrible I couldn’t take more than 2 bites.

    I know in jail it’s not Hilton, but there needs to be some basic standards for people to be treated like people. I dont think anyone has a right to freeze with no clothing in cold temperatures. I believe if you are sick and withdrawling from opiates, those prisoners deserve some extra treatment to help with their symptoms or seperate them from other prisoners so you are not so vulnerable. Guards need to give a standard of respect to inmates, and shouldn’t treat good people like they are scum. Guards would walk by my cell and I’d pound on the door to ask them something and they’d just look at me and completely ignore me like I didn’t exist. They put me in a room to make a phone call to my bail bondsman, and the phone didn’t work– it took an hour to tell a guard this because they just abandoned me in there and no one cared when I was pounding asking for help. Anyway, that is some more perspective for you guys on my impression of the jail system. I know I didn’t have it worst, it was just 24 hours, and it’s my fault I am addicted to oxycodone, but I know something is wrong with the system there. I am prescribed suboxone and should have been given some to curb my withdrawals. They should help prisoners withdrawal humanely with medication like valium and clonodine and ibuprofen so cold turkey is not unbearably hellish.

  7. Deb says:

    Magnum – what an honest, explicit description of what an addict goes thru withdrawing in jail/prison. My daughter did this very thing in county jail after being arrested while being on a several day long meth binge. During this time she also suffered with kidney stones and was taken in shackles to the ER. What a horrible way to to figure out that it’s JUST NOT WORTH IT!!! And like you said – she knew she was prison bound, so that was always slapping her in the face thru this whole ordeal.
    Unbelievably hard!!!!!! BUT sometimes what has to happen to make some decide it’s just not worth it!!
    You hang in there!!! You’re gonna make it and not only have a good life, but be a blessing to others – as you are now.

  8. Texas Magnum:
    Your blog on this experience is excellent and reveals yet another aspect of harsh and dangerous conditions in county jails that we are trying to refom…that there is no help or effort for someone going through withdrawl, which is why suicide is high amongst young men in Texas jails. Other people with medical conditions unrelated to addiction also suffer and die in county jails because of a determination by the county to limit medical care and because of guards’ attitudes.
    Question for you: There are plenty who think anybody with any kind of addiction deserves the inhumane conditions and treatment—how do we change that mindset?
    I hope you are keeping your head down and doing okay in there. I predict a good future in the free world.
    Anner
    PS Thanks for sending out a message that describes the reality of county jails and with good advice…that anyplace is better to detox than a county jail.

    • Editor says:

      Diana, I am the editor, a family member who helps Texas Magnum post to this blog. I will forward on your message to him, as I do all the comments he receives. I just wanted to let you know I appreciate you taking the time to reach out. It takes awhile for my snail mail to reach him and then his hand written response to get snail-mailed back to me, but within a couple weeks he will probably be sending a reply to you. Thanks again~