Earlier this summer, we told you about the public health benefits of the Fresno Needle Exchange, which makes clean syringes available to drug users. As part of our first-person series My Valley, My Story, here’s one of those users—a 56-year-old man named Michael, interviewed at the needle exchange.
“I run my own business, paint addresses on curbs. I worked as a social worker for years, for ten years, and I got burned out on that. I have a daughter. She's 19, she's grown. She's in Dinuba.
“I do a little bit of heroin, but I do mostly crystal and coke. I started using drugs when I was 15. l started smoking weed, drinking, and went to doing acid. I did acid for eight years, always had it always sold it...it's still my drug of choice if I could find real stuff. If I could find real LSD and good mushrooms, I wouldn’t use any other drug.
“I live in the north part of town, up on Sierra between Palm and Maroa. I have to depend on a ride, either get a ride, or take the bus, or ride a bicycle in the sun. I come every week, because it's better to have clean new syringes rather than old syringes when you're shooting dope. I don't even use the same needle to draw up that I use to shoot. I draw up with one and then shoot it. I use two needles every time I inject.”
Michael says he isn’t interested in getting sober; “I just like getting high.”