Leaving Dirty Jersey: A Crystal Meth Memoir

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9780091920340: Leaving Dirty Jersey: A Crystal Meth Memoir

Leaving Dirty Jersey is the compellingly crafted tale of James Salant's descent into crystal meth addiction. Written at the age of only twenty-two, this memoir chronicles his year-long addiction with complete honesty and heartbreaking candour. Brought up in a stable, middle-class family, the second son of two therapists, he was introduced to heroin at seventeen by his brother Joe. This resulted in a spell in rehab where he met a bunch of ex-convicts, and he soon fell into the thuggish, drifting lifestyle of meth addiction. It was to take a near-psychotic event to finally get him to clean up. With graphic descriptions of life on crystal meth - the insatiable sex drive, the paranoia, the desperate need for more drugs to sustain the high - James' writing mimics the emotional detachment of the drug and the wired yet aimless life it induces. His voice is so open and authentic, it is hard to believe he is still so young. Given the nickname Dirty Jersey, while living as a tough guy-junkie in California, James had it tattooed on the inside of his left arm. There it remains as a graphic and permanent reminder of his past life as a junkie.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

James Salant has been clean since September 2003. After his release from a court-mandated stay at a rehabilitation programme he has lived in New Jersey, working as office manager an educational consulting firm which manages an academy for students who are experiencing difficulties, and as a floor trainer at a health club in Princeton.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

INTRODUCTION:

AN ACID-FRIENDLY ATMOSPHERE

The line of evergreens in front of the Princeton Shopping Center was bristling and swaying in the wind, morphing and swirling and streaking the sky neon green, and even tripping on acid I was trying to walk like a tough guy. Swinging my feet slightly to the side in a kind of waddle, I led each step with a shoulder as if wading through water. For once, though, I wasn't scowling. I was happy and smiling, having cut school with two friends. We'd dropped the acid and sniffed some heroin and watched the end of Casino. Now we were on our way to the shopping center for pizza, and one of the trees was whispering to me. The words sounded familiar. When I realized that the tree was quoting Casino, I laughed, and then sunlight flickered across the grass -- dancing flames of iridescence -- and I began to burst with a this-is-special feeling. It was a gorgeous day, and nature was putting on a light show for me. Then the cops pulled up.

As soon as they told us to stop and stand over there, the sun seemed too bright: My eyes began to water and I couldn't stop blinking. In my pocket were a bag of pot and eight paper hits of acid. I fidgeted while one of the cops -- a short, clean-shaven officer with a nasal voice -- explained that he'd just received a call about three guys trying car-door handles in the parking lot we'd just passed through.

My friends, who were black, screamed racial profiling: "You know ain't nobody call. You just wanna harass a bitch." I needed a different strategy, but I couldn't come up with anything better than shaking my head in disbelief, looking nervous and high. Another squad car pulled up.

Afterward, my friends and I would complain about how unfair the whole thing was: We actually hadn't been trying car-door handles, so in our minds it was all bigotry and harassment. It never occurred to us that we looked exactly like the type of people who do try car-door handles and that, in fact, on any drug but acid we were those people.

"Come on over here," said a gray-haired, mustachioed detective in a dark suit, standing by his car. He was talking to me. Trudging over, I stared at the ground and hoped that I was walking normally. "Why don't you empty your pockets for me," he said, "and put everything on the hood, over here."

"You don't have the right to search my pockets," I said.

"Yes, I do." He laughed. And that was that. I placed cash, keys, little scraps of paper -- everything that wasn't illegal -- on the hood of his car. Then he told me to turn my pockets inside out.

"No," I mumbled.

"No?" he said, raising his eyebrows.

The local paper said that a seventeen-year-old high school senior darted (or maybe it was dashed) down the street in an attempt to escape, but I'm less sure of what I was trying to do. I didn't even know that I was going to run until I'd started, and then, once the boots were thudding and the cops were shouting, it just naturally popped into my head, as if I'd undergone some junkie training program, that I should eat the acid -- destroy the evidence.

It is impossible, though, to open a sealed baggy while running from the cops on a head full of acid. It also didn't help that my boots, which were fashionably untied, began to come off. When I tried to kick them off altogether so I could run in my socks, my fashionably baggy jeans fell to my knees. Stumbling, then running like a demented penguin, I shoved the closed baggy into my mouth and started to chew. I had no chance of swallowing -- my mouth was parched -- but I hoped that the baggy would open in my mouth so I could eat the remaining tabs. It didn't.

The mustachioed detective soon caught up and struck me on the back of the neck, sending me flying through the air. I landed hard, tumbling on the grass, and in another second they were on me, flipping me on my stomach, putting a knee on my back, cuffing me, turning out my pockets, and finding the pot. Finally they pulled me up to my knees.

"Oh, what's this?" said one of the cops, holding the bag of acid, which had fallen out of my mouth. "A little of the LSD, huh?"

"That was about the stupidest damn thing you could have done!" yelled the detective who'd run me down.

"Now, Jim," said another cop. We already knew each other -- Officer Summers. He took off his glasses and stooped in front of me with his hands on his thighs. "What did you swallow? I am not fucking around, Jim! What did you swallow?"

"Nothing," I mumbled. "You already got it."

Later, the story to my friends was that I told him to go fuck himself.

Officer Summers shook his head and walked away, leaving me kneeling in my boxers, dirt and grass clinging to my legs. In a few minutes two of the cops hoisted me to my feet and yanked my jeans up roughly. The jeans became tangled with my boxers and didn't quite make it over my hips.

"What's happening now?" I asked another detective, a woman who was standing at the edge of a huddle watching me as the other cops gave each other orders and talked into their radios.

"We're waiting for the ambulance," she said.

"For what?" I said. "I don't want an ambulance. I'm fine."

I was standing in my damp socks, cuffed, a cool breeze blowing across the top of my butt.

"I wish I could believe you."

"But I really didn't eat anything," I said. "I mean, if that's what you think. You saw me try to swallow something, but that fell out of my mouth. You got that."

"You mean the LSD," she said.

"Yeah," I said. "That was everything."

I wanted to ask one of the cops to fix my pants.

"And the pot," said the mustachioed detective.

"Yeah, sure, fine," I said. "But that's it. I didn't eat any stash."

"How do we know that?" the detective snapped. "Look at the size of your pupils."

I wondered if I should tell them that I was on acid. Tell THEM that I'm on LSD, that I'm on SDL...that I'm nearing hell? Tell them a fucking thing...

The ambulance arrived.

"Take any drugs today, son?" an EMT asked me once I was cuffed inside.

"Nope."

"Nothing at all?"

"Well, I smoked a little marijuana earlier."

"That's it?" he said, shining a flashlight in my eyes. "You're sure?"

"Yup."

At the ER, a place I'd never been, the detective walked me from the ambulance to a plain room, empty except for a chair in the center, to which he cuffed me. Then he left me, and a young doctor in a white smock came in with a clipboard and smiled at me good-naturedly.

"So how are you doing?" he said.

"I've been better." I laughed.

"I can imagine," he said. "Hell, I hope you've been better than this."

"Like an hour ago I was much better than this."

He read his clipboard and shined a flashlight in my eyes.

"They just came in and messed your day up, huh."

"Yeah, pretty much."

"I hate it when that happens."

"You have no idea." I laughed again. "So what's happening now?"

"Well, we have to take some blood. Between you and them I have no idea what's happening -- I just know I have to take some blood and make sure you're okay. Now, what's wrong? You don't look too happy about that."

At seventeen I hadn't started shooting drugs yet, and I was terrified of needles.

"Why do you have to take my blood?"

"To make sure you don't...well, die. They're saying you might have eaten something. Now, you're saying you didn't, but we still have to make sure. Are you scared of needles?"

"Very," I said. "But look, I did eat something -- four hits of acid around noon. That's why my eyes are dilated. I really didn't eat anything when I ran."

"So you're high on LSD right now? Wow. What a day. Look, I'm sorry, but we have to run the tests either way now that you've been admitted. It's procedure. You'll be okay -- the nurses are very good."

I nodded, and on his way out the doctor looked back and smiled and pointed at me and said, "You're gonna be all right." The detective popped in and asked me for my parents' phone number, which at that point I was happy to give. He disappeared for a few minutes, then returned, unlocked the cuffs, and told me to follow him to the bathroom to take a urine test.

"Instead of the blood test?" I asked hopefully.

"Nope. Gotta do 'em both. And Mom and Dad are on their way."

In the past whenever I took acid, I always made sure to be in an acid-friendly atmosphere: a friend's house, or the woods, or any safe place where I could philosophize and giggle, silly with what I considered a deeper appreciation for nature and beauty. Standing in that hospital bathroom, dick-in-cup, with a detective behind me demanding my urine, I was in the least acid-friendly atmosphere I've ever tripped in. Even worse, I'd sniffed some heroin a few hours earlier, so I couldn't piss: I pushed and groaned and looked helplessly over my shoulder at the detective. In response he described the procedure that would be used to force me to urinate if I couldn't do it myself. When he said "urethra," I managed to squeeze out a few drops.

At some point in between the piss and blood my parents arrived at the hospital, looking solemn and distressed as their faces generated tiny bubbles of reflected fluorescent light. They moved slowly toward me, shifting and taking on a radioactive glow -- just for a second, and then their oversized earlobes began to vibrate.

"Are you still...high?" asked my dad, peering at me as if I were the one whose head was melting.

"Yes."

"Having a good time?" asked my mom.

Five foot five and slender with bluish-gray eyes and platinum hair, she stared at me with her lips pressed tightly together, fuming. But she quickly softened. I was near tears, terrified about giving blood. Even the detective began to feel sorry for me, and when the nurse came in wheeling a cart with tubes for my blood, he tried to distract me from the IV. He came over and stood next to me with this huge, creepy smile, while the nurse tied my arm and searched for a vein.

"Hey," he said jovially, snapping his fingers...

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Book Description Ebury Publishing, United Kingdom, 2008. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Leaving Dirty Jersey is the compellingly crafted tale of James Salant s descent into crystal meth addiction. Written at the age of only twenty-two, this memoir chronicles his year-long addiction with complete honesty and heartbreaking candour. Brought up in a stable, middle-class family, the second son of two therapists, he was introduced to heroin at seventeen by his brother Joe. This resulted in a spell in rehab where he met a bunch of ex-convicts, and he soon fell into the thuggish, drifting lifestyle of meth addiction. It was to take a near-psychotic event to finally get him to clean up.With graphic descriptions of life on crystal meth - the insatiable sex drive, the paranoia, the desperate need for more drugs to sustain the high - James writing mimics the emotional detachment of the drug and the wired yet aimless life it induces. His voice is so open and authentic, it is hard to believe he is still so young. Given the nickname Dirty Jersey, while living as a tough guy-junkie in California, James had it tattooed on the inside of his left arm. There it remains as a graphic and permanent reminder of his past life as a junkie. Bookseller Inventory # AB99780091920340

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Book Description Ebury Publishing, United Kingdom, 2008. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Leaving Dirty Jersey is the compellingly crafted tale of James Salant s descent into crystal meth addiction. Written at the age of only twenty-two, this memoir chronicles his year-long addiction with complete honesty and heartbreaking candour. Brought up in a stable, middle-class family, the second son of two therapists, he was introduced to heroin at seventeen by his brother Joe. This resulted in a spell in rehab where he met a bunch of ex-convicts, and he soon fell into the thuggish, drifting lifestyle of meth addiction. It was to take a near-psychotic event to finally get him to clean up. With graphic descriptions of life on crystal meth - the insatiable sex drive, the paranoia, the desperate need for more drugs to sustain the high - James writing mimics the emotional detachment of the drug and the wired yet aimless life it induces. His voice is so open and authentic, it is hard to believe he is still so young. Given the nickname Dirty Jersey, while living as a tough guy-junkie in California, James had it tattooed on the inside of his left arm. There it remains as a graphic and permanent reminder of his past life as a junkie. Bookseller Inventory # AB99780091920340

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Book Description Ebury Press, 2008. Book Condition: New. 2008. 60556th. Paperback. Brought up in a middle-class family, James Salant was introduced to heroin at the age of seventeen. This resulted in a spell in rehab where he met ex-convicts, and he soon fell into the drifting lifestyle of meth addiction. Here, he describes life on crystal meth, the emotional detachment of the drug, and the wired yet aimless life it induces. Num Pages: 352 pages. BIC Classification: BTP; VFJK. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 202 x 129 x 23. Weight in Grams: 228. . . . . . . Bookseller Inventory # V9780091920340

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Book Description Ebury Press. Book Condition: New. 2008. 60556th. Paperback. Brought up in a middle-class family, James Salant was introduced to heroin at the age of seventeen. This resulted in a spell in rehab where he met ex-convicts, and he soon fell into the drifting lifestyle of meth addiction. Here, he describes life on crystal meth, the emotional detachment of the drug, and the wired yet aimless life it induces. Num Pages: 352 pages. BIC Classification: BTP; VFJK. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 202 x 129 x 23. Weight in Grams: 228. . . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Bookseller Inventory # V9780091920340

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