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5 Books About Heroin Addiction

Published on November 9, 2021
5 Books About Heroin Addiction

When you or someone you love struggles with heroin addiction, it’s normal to feel alone. However, many people face the same challenges. 

In fact, numerous books explore the reality of living with heroin addiction or loving someone who does. Here are some of the most popular

1. Junkie: Confessions of an Unredeemed Drug Addict by William S. Burroughs

Although it was published in 1953, this semi-autobiographical novel is still considered one of the best books about heroin addiction. 

Often called “Junkie” or “Junky,” the book takes place in 1940s America. At the start, the protagonist tries morphine, which is the opiate (natural opioid) from which heroin is derived. He quickly becomes addicted to it, along with heroin. Later, he also struggles with alcohol abuse

Throughout the book, the author details the daily realities of drug addiction, such as cravings, crimes, and the personal challenges that cause one to seek out drugs in the first place. 

For over half a century, the novel has resonated with countless people who’ve found themselves in heroin’s grip. It has also helped their friends and family members understand how difficult it can be to stay heroin-free.

2. The Big Fix: Hope After Heroin by Tracey Helton Mitchell 

A relatively new book published in 2016, The Big Fix recounts the author’s recovery from almost decade-long heroin addiction. 

As a teenage girl, Tracey Helton Mitchell was prescribed an opioid painkiller and quickly became addicted to its euphoric effects. When the prescription ran out, she switched to a more accessible opioid: heroin. 

For years, her addiction caused serious problems, including jail time and homelessness. Eventually, she realized she had no choice but to recover. 

Her book details each step of her addiction recovery journey, from building healthy friendships to becoming a dedicated mother of three. 

Along with describing her own life, Mitchell shares her views on the opioid crisis. She discusses how every person needs a personalized treatment plan, as many treatments work for some people but not others. 

She also highlights addiction-related issues that disproportionately affect women, such as turning to prostitution for drug money. 

3. Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh

Published in 1993, this collection of interrelated short stories follows a group of young men in Scotland. They struggle with heroin addiction and its various consequences, including jail time, overdoses, and damaged relationships. 

Throughout the book, many of the characters get sober, relapse, and try to get sober again. 

Although bleak, this depiction reflects reality for millions of people. It also emphasizes the importance of surrounding yourself with loved ones and professionals who are truly dedicated to your recovery. 

While the book isn’t based on a true story, many readers relate to its frank portrayal of heroin addiction. Also, since it features a variety of characters, it shows that different people experience the disease in different ways. 

4. Strung Out: One Last Hit and Other Lies That Nearly Killed Me by Erin Khar

In this 2020 memoir, Erin Khar narrates the harrowing 15 years she spent as a teenager and young adult addicted to heroin. 

She first tried heroin at age 13 after experimenting with a family member’s prescription drugs. As with most people, her heroin use quickly escalated to addiction. Due to stigma, she hid her struggles from almost everyone she knew. 

Fortunately, Khar managed to quit heroin after she became a mother. In her book, she describes how motherhood gave her the motivation she needed to stay sober. 

Her story not only offers hope but also highlights the fact that stigma is one of the most common reasons people don’t seek addiction treatment. Ultimately, Khar argues that the opioid epidemic won’t end unless we erase the stigma that surrounds addiction. 

5. Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Meth Addiction by David Sheff

In this New York Times Best Seller, journalist David Sheff describes how drug abuse affects a person’s entire family. While still in high school, the author’s son, Nic Sheff, became addicted to crystal meth. He also struggled with other drugs, including heroin. 

The memoir details the various ways that Nic’s addiction impacted his family. For example, he stole money from them and got arrested for possession in front of them. He also attended various rehab centers and relapsed many times. 

The author discusses how these events made him feel helpless and guilty. By the end of the book, he starts to accept the fact that while he can support his son, he’s not responsible for his recovery. Since its publication in 2008, the book has inspired numerous families affected by addiction. 

Later, Nic published his own memoir, Tweak: Growing Up On Methamphetamines. The book documents Nic’s experiences with drug use and his efforts to stay sober for himself and his family. 

If you or a loved one struggles with heroin abuse or another type of substance abuse, please contact an Ark Behavioral Health specialist. Our drug addiction treatment centers offer medical detox, mental health counseling, support groups, and other recovery-focused services.

Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
This page does not provide medical advice.

Goodreads - Heroin Book Lists

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