Heroin, (smack, scag, junk, jones. . . ) is rapidly becoming an epidemie in the community, so this column will be filies with observations on it. Heroin, is a true narcotic, a drug that produces drowsiness, and is a pain-killer. It is derived from opium, and is a direct drivative of morphine. It is stronger than morphine in pure quantities and is more "addictive". As heroin cannot be used medically in this country, (although it is effectively used for some things in England) all the smack on the street is illegal, with lower purity, 3tc. , so that the morphine on the street which is usually ripped-off clinical morphine, is often both stronger and more "addictive". Pure Heroin, administered with sterile technique, is not a body destroying drug. Many narcotic addict doctors shoot up morphine for years without physical damage. But the key word here is STERILE technique. That means the drug has to be pure, without any dirt, bacteria or fungus in it, to prevent blood poisoning. Syringes and needies have to be clean to prevent serum hepititus and collapsed veins. The problem here is that sterile technique is virtually impossible in the street as clean dope and clean needies are hard to get, and once people get smacked out then they tend to f orget about sterile technique anyway. People get "addicted" (dependent) on smack two ways, their heads get dependent (psychological) and their bodies get dependent (physical). Physical dependence is not the problem it has been made out to be. It happens if people use smack regularly - their bodies adjust to having the drug in their system all the time. Before the body starts to adjust, people get sick. After smack has been used regularly for a while, the body changes its metabolism to work around the drug. When the drug is stopped, the body has to readjust - it gets sick during this readjustment process - withdrawal. Many more people think they are physically dependent then really are. But all withdrawal is a bad sickness - ranging from a running nose for a couple days (light habit) to a very agonizing (but rarely serious) illness with vomiting, runs, hot flashes and chills. The intense sickness rarely lasts more than five days, and the whole illness more than two weeks. It is extremely painful to go through, but its role in the heroin problem has been overplayed. The big problem is the psychological dependence, the intense feeling of need that brothers and sisters get for their jones. This can develop strongly because of the painkilling aspects of smack--it kills all kinds of pain, physical pain, loneliness pain, boredom pain, frustration pain. Research with animáis shows that almost anyone could get dependent on smack because of these pain-killing aspects. This kind of dependence develops generally much sooner than does physical dependence and is harder to break as it is so involved with a person's life. It's why a junkie locked in prison for five years, coming home clean, may have his eyes start to water and his nose start to run when he encounters his home again and all those unchanged things that caused him pain before. When a brother is smacked out, the pain is eliminated, as long as he has his next shot assured, and he no longer works to change the source of his pain. He moves from having to deal with the very large, intense obstacles in his life and in society to just having to deal with a small, well-defined struggle - to get his smack. He frequently loses community interest and any interest in changing those things around him that are bogue. He frequently loses interest in people as they stop entering into his personal struggle to come up with the next fix. But the problem with smack is not just an individual one, it is a whole community issue. First, and f oremost, our life culture community is losing brothers and sisters into this small personal world of dope. Their energy is diverted from community development, from trying to develop a strong life culture consciousness and a strong people. And it extends to the physical plane also, as these brothers and sisters, as they get caught up in their micro-struggle, aften rip off their own brothers and sisters, depleting our community of it limited personal resources. It is a community loss, a community threat. And so far very few members of the community have come forward to show that they care about these brothers and sisters, show that they want to help. We can't build a strong community by casting members of our people who get caught by Mr. Jones into outer darkness. That is really the wrong way to deal with this problem. It's time for our community, our culture to move beyond that. We must show our love and concern for our smackedout brothers and sisters and be ready to work with them to help get at those sources of pain. A community program to help these brothers and sisters and to start dealing with the causes of junk-use is being set up through the Tribal Council and Drug Help- for heïp and information, or to volunteer information, cali Drug Help, 7 Help.