Chasing The Dragon

Today I was talking to Mo about living on the street and he pulled out a term that I had never heard before. We got on the topic about drugs and more specifically smoking crack (which Mo has done plenty of times before). He told me all about where people buy it (in the Tenderloin, of course), how much it costs, how it’s smoked and what the high is like.

Apparently it’s a very short but powerful high that hits you instantly when you breathe in the smoke. He said the actual high is usually less than a minute long and once you take the hit you immediately feel like you need to take another one or you’ll start to crash very quickly. If you don’t get high again you’ll start tweaking out soon after and will get the jitters while you frantically search for ways to get back to the feeling you just had. Mo called this feeling and need to have another high “Chasing The Dragon” and after looking up the term online here’s a great definition that I found for chasing the dragon on

This term is a bit more complicated than merely “smoking opium”. It starts when you have your first high, the world is peaceful, everything is perfect, you’re numb, but in the best way possible. But, soon, it starts wearing off. Fast. Your mind races, you’re pulled out of your dream world. You crave the drug more and more, wanting to feel the same way as you did on your first high. You go to the dealer and buy the same amount you had the first time, and smoke. Still feels good, but not as good as first time. You go and buy more. Closer, but not quite there. You’re stuck, you don’t know what to do. You want to go back to that little dream world and stay forever, but your body is already developing a tolerance. You panic. You use all your money to buy more and more and more, but still, not the same as that first time. You realize that you have no more money, so you start selling your things, pawning whatever could get you that next bag. Still, nothing compared to what you had on that first, magical time. So, you’re broke and own nothing. But you don’t care, all you care about is getting back to the first high. You start stealing, doing “favors”, whatever gets you the money for the attempt. Your life becomes a living hell, all in search of a repeat of the first high. That’s chasing the dragon.

Mo is very open with his past drug use and he’s such a blessing for other people who are in a bad situation that he can speak truth into. The world that he lives in is such a different place with so many different problems that most of us can’t even comprehend. I feel like he can (and has already started to) have a big impact in the lives of other homeless in San Francisco and it’s been amazing to be part of the story that God has just started to write about his life.

Also, I wanted to mention that there’s a book called Chasing The Dragon that’s about a woman whose¬†ministry¬†was helping drug addicts and prostitutes in Hong Kong. Yeah, I bought it.


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