Homeless in Vancouver: Who left their "pants" in the bathroom?

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      I found the tiny package pictured above on the floor of a public washroom in Fairview.

      I should’ve put a coin down for reference or double-checked the focus but I was in rush to give it back to the guy who’d just left the bathroom—a homeless heroin addict—I was correct in guessing he’d dropped it.

      Many people wouldn’t have noticed it—about half the diameter of a cigarette butt—a ridiculously tiny quarter-gram of heroin, which I’m told costs $35 and has the equally ridiculous “undercover” name of “pants”.

      Tweak and ye shall find?

      So that means heroin is $14 a point—a point equaling a tenth of a gram.

      Just like everyone else—but perhaps much more than anyone else—drug addicts lose things: their money, their I.D., and their drugs.

      It’s easy to see how they could lose their drugs considering how small the quantities are.

      Thing is, they know they lose stuff and they know other addicts lose stuff as well.

      So in an area like the Downtown Eastside, so rich in poor drug addicts, it makes good sense to keep your head down and your eyes open, particularly if you are one of the drug addicts

      They generally keep a sharp eye out wherever they go—you just never know right?

      Watching the ground as they walk, or “tweaking”, is an act of hope on the part of any drug addict.

      They search for whatever is worth finding—maybe cigarette butts, hopefully money, even bus tickets, but more than anything else they’re hoping to find the hard drugs they know some other drug addict has dropped.

      Though they’ll settle for finding the drugs they themselves have dropped. 

      Stanley Q. Woodvine is a homeless resident of Vancouver who has worked in the past as an illustrator, graphic designer, and writer.



      joe doe

      Jan 26, 2014 at 11:58am

      and you knew that was drugs how exactly? i dont think a regular joe would have known that was heroin.


      Jan 26, 2014 at 5:46pm

      That's a $10 bag. Quarters come in 'flaps'(tiny envelopes made from magazine pages)

      Stanley Q Woodvine

      Jan 26, 2014 at 7:15pm

      Oh say it ain't so joe!

      You mean how would I know unless I was a drug addict?

      Get real. How do front line care workers, social workers and police officers know? I've been living on the street for long enough to learn at least a few facts of life.

      And anyways I'm not a regular joe and I'm smarter than the average bear.

      But that brings to mind a story of how much I don't know.

      Several years ago I was leaving the old Kits bottle depot at Blenheim when a very likely lad, dressed head-to-toe, in brand new red and white gang-banger gear, asked me a simple enough question:

      Did I want a sample and a number?

      I had to tell the kid I honestly didn't know what he was talking about.

      "Sure you do!" he insisted.

      "I really don't," I replied.

      "Fair enough," he said, losing interest in me.

      A "rock star" panhandler nearly went ballistic when I asked him what this had meant.

      "He was going to give you a sample of a drug and a phone number for buying more, you...!" I forget what exact term he used for me. He sure didn't think I was smarter than the average bear.

      Stanley Q Woodvine

      Jan 26, 2014 at 10:23pm

      @ AK

      I stand by what I was told by the person who knows. That was a quarter gram "package" of heroin, aka "pants" and it cost $35. Others I asked also called it a package. The addicts in Fairview I was talking to to don't seem to deal with amounts of any drug below $20.

      Maybe the fellow who gave me the details was pulling my leg but I don't think so.