Dear Aunt Agony... Why Do Heroin Addicts Have Dirty Fingers?

Dear A.A...

my boyfriend is a heroin addict (was when I met him) and his fingers are always black. He's not dirty and showers every day but always seems to have these horrible grimy fingers. Can you explain where that comes from? Is it drugs on his fingers? And if so could they get into my system?



Aunt Agony says:

Hiya Izabella,

I will explain what the dirt is, but will you first tell me if your boyfriend:

a) smokes or injects heroin
b) uses crack cocaine (and how)

Thoughts, A.A


Thanx for replying I really didn't think you would.

My boyfriend smokes heroin and smokes crack.



Aunt Agony says:

Izabella, the dirt on your boyfriends fingers will come from two different things.

Firstly it will be the soot (carbon) which forms on the underside of the tin foil he smokes his heroin on. Unless your boyfriend washes his hands after each time he smokes (which would mean him living in the bathroom) his fingers will get this black residue on it. (Some users preheat the foil and then wipe away the carbon before using it to prevent this, but it doesn't stop it completely, and in a rush there's no time to be preheating your foil before taking a boot.) Secondly, as your boyfriend also smokes crack, his fingers will get dirty ashing up his pipe (carbon again) and picking up crumbs of rock that are on the table/tile around the ash etc. It looks much grimier than it really is.

Finally, no, the dirt is not drugs. If it was your boyfriend would have smoked his own fingers years ago. There will be some trace elements but nothing to worry about.

Hope that explained what the dirt is... All My Thoughts Agony. X



LOL. It helped a lot (really).



Gledwood said...

what would it have been if he banged up the heroin?

i'm asking you because I injected for years and had dirty fingernails for years and never knew what the fucking hell caused it except a seriously bad case of the can't be bothereds when it came to soap, water and me forming a trinity

a lot of the crap came from my dirty hair; i know that now; ever since i dyed it platinum blond + washed it every day my nails are clean

ukkh did i go on and on ranting in your comments before. i think i did. i'm so sorry i can't even say i was on drugs i would have been stone cold sober. i always am when i feel like that(!)

Anonymous said...

Your letters are very informative indeed. You can write a FAQ on drugs and liked stuff based on these emails! LOL :)
Have a great day.

Wildernesschic said...

Dear Aunty Shane..loving this new thread.. am I normal.. xx giggle xx

Wildernesschic said...

Shane.. I had no idea that these were real emails and real replies... when I first read them... Probably .. well fuck i don't know.. If I thought you could give me advice on my stuff yes I would email you too... sorry I made a really silly joke comment last night.. and now feel dreadful about it .. excuse only being I had been drinking .. not a lot but obviously too much to realise that these were people with pain .. I think like SB who I adore that this is a great idea.. Take care xx
Love Ruth xx

Anonymous said...

Funny post as I have wondered about this myself.....I noticed that when I have only sniffed coke my fingernails don't get dirty, but when I use heroin or crack cocaine they tend to, no matter how often I wash my hands or shower it comes back more quickly...and I can't put it down to smoking heroin as when I've used it it's always been sniffing or shooting it. Perhaps it is just the ash from the crack pipe...and perhaps my dirty hair also as when I feel down I don't wash it as often, even if I do wash my body. 'Dirty blonde' hair comes to mean that literally. But there have been times when those drugs make me lazy, or I get depressed without them or depressed in general and then I shower or bath less often...guess it is a combination of those factors.

Lol that was a funny email to be sent seriously though, as the answers are easy enough to work out yourself if you just take a thought..

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Ruth, you don't ever have to apologize! And I really am not a person that gets offended at such things anyway... especially from people who I regard as friends. X

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Hiya Snow Queen, well this is the thing, and something we need to be careful about, no the answers are not easy... unless you're actually doing it. Someone who's not smoking heroin doesn't know that carbon builds up on the underside of foil... same as someone not injecting may wonder what the fuck the black smudge marks are on the bathroom tiles.

"What? Are you stewpid or summing? everyone nose that when you yews heroin you yews a spoon and when you heat a spoon, depending on wot it's maid outta, that a fin layer of carbon, an element which cannot be burnt, builds up underneath!"

But it's not really that simple or obvious is it? I don't think so.

So we have to be careful we don't become so immersed in this whole life that we forget what is obvious and what is not... what is scary, disgusting... what it felt like, why we did it, how we did it, etc. These are the things that we learn through all the shit and if we lose sight of them then we really are fucked.

It reminds me of the only guitar lessons I ever went to. We were being taught to play a bar chord (that's the chord where your index finger lays across all six strings and holds them all down simultaneously... it's not easy). The guitar teacher started getting frustrated and annoyed because none of us could hold one down. "It's easy!!! I don't understand, you lay your finger down and press! Voilà!" But bar chords are only that easy once you've been playing them for years. The first one's are very fucking difficult and everyone who remembers probably has their own little tips to give on how they can be made easier. The person who can play them but has forgotten just how difficult they were is a person who has lost a great deal... who has been doing something so long he thinks it's easy and natural. No one like that can ever teach the world anything.

So I don't think these things around drugs are obvious, and when they are mixed with fears too: is it dirt? germs? drugs? it makes it even more complicated. Imagine someone giving you a needle, spoon, vit c, water, filter and heroin and saying: ok, you boil the vit c with the smack, filter it up into the needle, find a vein, stick the pin in (when you draw blood it's in), then empty the barrel into yourself... easy!

Well, it is that easy after a year... and it's obvious to know if the needles in or not once you've been at it five times a day for eternity, but first time? No. Not even if you're a clever bastard. These things are only so straight forward if you've been doing them.

"Why are addicts fingers black" is the third biggest search term that leads to my site. At least two people a day google that phrase.

Back to the actual dirt though. I think you're right it's a combination of things. It's like how children get all black and sticky... it's that samle kind of dirt. May also be to do with sweating and the pores opening and taking in the dirt, or the sweat making the skin sticky and holding onto dust and ash more. My hands also get dirty after injecting (but didn't used toi when I could hit veins quick and cleanly). So it's probably also to do with all the fuckig around while trying to get a vein, and wiping blood away.. then reaching across the sink to grab your cigarette and take a few puffs before perservering... then the needle getting blocked... then fucking around with the spoon again... lol... that's how our hands get dirty. But at least you can see a junkies dirty hands,and dirt you can see is always better than dirt you can't. X

Bec said...

You say "Why are addicts fingers black" is the third biggest google search term that leads to your site?

I'm intrigued at what other Google 'search terms' lead people to your site.

I assume you must be able to see the demographics of users (or maybe I should use the term 'followers' in this case) and other statistics pertaining to the 'followers' of your blog.

Georgina said...

Using a candle for cooking up, rather than lighter leaves a larger 'carbon finger print'. Gosh what a mess it leaves the spoon. Also, having big habit you always seem to be raking through the ashtrays for dog ends as cant afford to buy actual cigaretts(Six pounds a pack here in Scotland for the pack I smoke!)Both filthy habits. Though I smoke both(now)


Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Hi again Bec, the stats are built into blogger (although were quite a recent addition). Ot-her than that you can get free site meters that count the traffic and show you stuff like what country your visitors are from, where they came from, if they found you through a search engine what terms they used. Of course the terms only show up if they are included in your site. So these terms don't refer to 'heroin search terms' only to those that match a phrase in this site.

Stats have a use if you're really serious about wanting people to read what you write, but other than that they're quite meaningless.


Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Hiya Georgina... X

I agree. Also when cooking up little bits of liquid spit over the edge of the spoon, get on your fingers and make them sticky and a good surface for dirt to attach itself to and not budge. Blood is the same. Often I'll just suck the blood of my hand or fingers but it still leaves them a little sticky and good for dirt to attach itself too. Also things like dropping ash.... nodding out with your hand in the ashtray... or going through big steel dustbins trying to find your kids... none of it helps! haha X

Barricade said...

It's an outer manifestation of what's happening to your soul.

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Yeah, I keep telling people that the bottom of their shoes pick up a lot of shit, but no-one listens. Dr Martins are kinda on the right road: a lifetime guarantee of the sole. X

Georgina said...

lol;) also As no one knows about my 'trips down the badlands' I am v careful regarding cleanliness though I use my art books (instead of tray or table) as the soot is similar to charcoal i'm known to use,so never questioned if borrowed-even though there are often amber splashes.
One great 'peace'(!) 'created' on blank page of outsize Dali book which was open on a table(i'd just finished sorting myself out as buzzer went)Book left opened,was admired by my visiting friend-that page indeed had lots of amber splashes amongst the black and grey circles as was having almost half g hits at the time-so cleaning the saveable splashes with distilled water-I spayed with artist 101,framed &gave to him for his birthday a few wks later. People genuinly appear like it...I hate it.If only they knew just how much it actually cost to 'produce' has a negative effect on me when people comment as it's turned in to a trigger-when I visit him as I remember every bloody mark!

Bec said...

I feel we are all just leaving tips to enable all the other users to get caught out! Noooooo!

A tip from Bec for smokers - Never use a clipper lighter or a candle as they are guaranteed to leave carbon whereas throwaway lighters don't. Some refillable lighters also leave carbon..I think its the kind of gas they us in refillable lighters.
Plus don't leave your cigarettes on the windowsil to burn down - I'm always getting caught out with that one.

Georgina...I like the tip of using artbooks with charcoal drawings...good excuse! I think a trip to the art shop is in order.

Anonymous said... finger pores are too dark....i feel very bad...when i see...coz my complexion is white...nly my finger pores are too black like my it normal?

Shane Levene said...

Of course it's normal. You're an arsehole, that's why you feel so shitty. Now fuck off out of it you muppet. X

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Anonymous said...

question b.i.t.d.i remember (70,s or so)nickel caps you youngsters would not remember them,you shouldn,t anyways???well what i was trying to get at was when injecting them they all ways seemed to be sent up no problemo?but these recent "bags"likes the last 6 weeks?all wanta seem to burn on the tailend if not the entire injection???whats up exactly with that? i know im not missing or getting a partial or going entirely thru!!!then pullin it out somewhere close.

Anonymous said...

Family member with 26 year addiction including alcohol, crack, meth, prescription pills and heroin. Now 52, lacking ambition, cognitively impaired, apathetic. Possibly and most likely still using. Dr. prescribed Clonodine to help her sleep and most likely to detox. At 1 mg a sleep med, at 1+ mg gives a heroin like high. Pathological liar but sweet and we still see her potential. Time for family to give up the dream for her of getting clean and re engaging with life?

1.Why do docs prescribe addictive drugs like Clonodine to addicts? Is Clonodine meant to be used long term? Is a 90 day supply too much?
2. Does she need detox? Expecting her to get her own room somewhere so she can live the lifestyle she's choosing. Cold hearted or right approach?

sad and exhausted said...

Not sure where else to write this but on the subject of dirt/heroin, hiw do you get heroin splatters off the wall when a needle user flicks that crap EVERYWHERE?

Shane Levene said...

@UNKNOWN: you fucking idiot. said...

How do you clean heroin splatters off the wall?

Shane Levene said... same way you get shit off: scrub it.

Unknown said...

Why do people so commonly feel the need to belittle people just for asking something that seems ignorant to them? Why don't you have some sympathy instead, at their ignorance, that they didn't get to go through life being as intelligent as you? Do you deep down have a problem with your own self-worth(obviously not hidden That deep down) to need to have that feeling of power over her, in matters such as understanding of cleaning-procedures lol? I'll Bet she was asking for some reason to the effect of that she was worried about safety-precautions or preventative biohazard-measures(though unnessesary), and not because she just doesn't know how to clean something, as you treated her, so think before YOU speak so ignorantly.

Unknown said...


Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Ryan, I'll begin by letting you know that you're quite safe from the clutches of MENSA. That someone with online access would ask me one of the most idiotic questions that has ever been posed and, 13hrs later, still be asking it, tells me enough about her to not grant her the respect of a reply. That the idiot even asked once and didn't tap her query into Google already says too much. That she sat in ignorance and asked again 13hrs later puts her way beyond my help. Though of course she didn't sit in ignorance: she knew full well what nonsense she was asking in her childish and gutless way to type out a hidden insult about how vile and filthy needle users are. That you are blind to that only tells me something just as drastic about yourself: you are just as much of a fucking arsehole as that sad cunt. And that's going something. I won't be checking back for any reply you leave as I've absolutely not a speck of respect for you to do so. Well done, in 8 years o f writing here, you are the first to act so mindless as to ensure that no more of your words get read. Enjoy chatting to yourself you fucking arsehole. XxX

new2this said...

I too found this blog while looking up how I should clean heroin residue. I don't do that kind of stuff, but found residue in a rental. I wasn't sure if it was like meth residue, or if I should just wash the walls. So thank you for answering my question. Nicely. :)

Shane Levene said...

Hey New2this... Water and a scouring pad will do it... you may not even need water. If that doesn't work then it's not heroin.

For anyone else who wants to know how to wash heroin splatters off a bathroom wall, just go by the precedent that it's excrement and treat it accordingly. All My Best, The Splatter Expert. X

Anonymous said...

I found this thread when googling the question about dirty fingers. I found the answers extremely helpful...and no it isn't obvious and yes, when you don't understand it can be quite scary. Better to know and understand as not.

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Anonymous said...

I do not get the anger. I am totally ignorant of the whole addiction thing, but am searching for the answers. So any constructive comment I will digest the rest will be disregarded as non existent. Love & tolerance is the key.

Anonymous said...

Love you.

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Anonymous said...

A friend is supposedly 2 months clean from smoking heroin, but still has blackened fingers. How long do they last? I’m concerned they are still using.

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