How I learned to spell ‘Hypodermic’


Tyler Murphy

An easy word to spell once you’ve seen it. Hy-po-der-mic. It sounds just like it writes. A rare blessing in the English language. Yet for some reason it has always been one of those obscure words I hardly ever use in passing conversation that I’m cursed to spell improperly more often than is probably acceptable. I’m embarrassed to admit the Tyler alternatives of hypodermic have included Hypadermic, Hypodurmic and Hipoedurmick. OK, I made that last one up but on a late 14 hour work night at 11 p.m. I don’t think I’d rule any anything completely out.

Luckily I’ve had a great deal of practice in writing the word. I’ve used it less than a dozen or so times in the last few years, but in these past two weeks alone I’ve scribbled it on a note pad or typed into the computer at least twice that number of times.

Typically it falls into an all to common sentence form. “…was charged with 7th degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and criminal possession of a hypodermic instrument.”

I’ve written those words 7 times since Sept. 9 and I can not even remember a specific instance of writing it before that. I’m sure I have once or twice in the last three years, probably each instance months apart, but I don’t recall.

I’ve heard people say heroin has been available for quite sometime in the area and some of the most sought after prescription drugs are essentially prescribe heroin because they’re derived from the same active ingredients, opiates, just refined and processed.

Maybe that’s the truth, there hasn’t been such a fierce focus on heroin as there has been on cocaine in drug enforcement. As one drug counselor remarked, “There was a big focus on getting cocaine off the streets and heroin snuck in the back doors.”

Still the number of people now going to jail for heroin use is up. The cost of using the drug locally is heading down. The demand for it is becoming more common and availability, easier. So say the local law enforcement authorities on such things.

Don’t get me wrong I’m not a complete nazis that believes all drug users every where are evil. In fact I tend to be more liberal in my social sympathies than I probably should be, experimentation is normal thing- to a point. But injecting my body with a chemical I bought from a sketchy strung-out dealer living in a small trashed apartment sets off an alarm.

I’m curious about the needle usage aspect. Do people share or does proper heroin etiquette dictate I B-Y-O-N. (bring my own needle)? I thought I read some where that things like H.I.V. and Hepatitis are transfer frequently in such ways. Can you imagine a heroin user using an alcohol swab before injecting unknown mixture X in their body? Probably not.

Still the concern is rising with the pattern of increase heroin use. I mean if you’re are willing to endure all the alchemy steps necessary to prepare and use the drug what exactly are your substance abuse limits?

The worst part of the abuse, like all addicts, is not usually in the damage to physical health alone but to the psychological. Dependency means isolation from those more healthy and balanced and increased exposure to those more absorbed in drug culture and excess.

All drug abusers risk addition and harm but using heroin seems like the fast lane of consequence.