The Times – Heroin is hard work. You don’t drift into it<br/> Shooting up is a complicated business. You don’t try it just because your favourite singer did, by Martin Samuel

So this is how to take heroin. To begin with, dilute it in water, citric acid or vitamin C. Heroin comes as a powder, or as tiny rocks, so this is not hard. Do it on a spoon. As a first-timer, you will probably be using around 5 to 20 milligrams of heroin, so be careful. Use a small syringe, capacity 0.5-1 cc, to apply the liquid. You’ll need it later, so keep it handy. Once the solution is mixed you may have to apply a little heat from below. Some forms of heroin require this, others do not. Ask your dealer if you are not sure. As a general rule, professionals – or addicts as they are more commonly known – recommend diluting white forms in water with heat, brown forms in citric acid or vitamin C with heat and pharmaceutical heroin just in water, without heat. Now you’re ready to go.

A tourniquet can be applied to the arm to aid the intravenous process, but is not always necessary Using the small syringe, draw the solution through a filter – an unused cigarette end will suffice if cotton buds are unavailable – and aim the needle for the injection site. The median cephalic vein at the crook of the elbow is most popular, although some prefer the basilic vein at the top of the upper limb, which is easier to locate but contains a greater chance of nerve damage or an arterial nick. The hit will be fairly instant, 5 to 30 seconds. You may need to suppress the urge to vomit.

The point is: does this sound like the kind of process that an otherwise stable human being would enter into, just because he sings along to Valerie? Cooking, chemistry, self-mutilation, plus some fairly determined shopping to kick it all off. Forget the heroin, where would you get a 0.5cc syringe in a hurry without giving the game away? And vitamin C, that is at least a trip to the supermarket. Who wants that with a gram of smack burning a hole in the pocket?

In my life, I’ve given up on getting cigarettes cuz “scoring” them on the DL was getting too complicated. And that’s just getting to a gas station or any grocery store some time over the course of a day. And that’s after years of “sourcing” research. Some times, some things require a lot more dedication than I’m capable of.