Without a lecture on why it's a bad idea in general, heroin is most definitely not something that an individual should be mixing with body modification.
As with other opiates, heroin can cause significant itchiness in the user. It may not alleviate pain, but it's going to debilitate your ability to sit still and not scratch at your modification. It also makes it much harder to maintain normal rhythmic breathing, which is essential in controlling the pain. Then of course there's the passing out!
One reader writes us,
- Most likely you'll have impaired judgment or nod off (possibly leading to a tattoo that's not quite like the one you hoped for) or worst case scenario you'll be going through withdrawals and shaking and puking a lot (and who wants to worry about swallowing their tongue during a tattoo session?). During the tattooing process the only difference I've noticed is more bleeding when stoned. As far as I can tell healing isn't really affected if the tattoo is properly cared for — but if you're injecting in to a vein over a fresh tattoo I would be worried about infection and since you can both inject and tattoo on many areas of the body you might want to think about placement if you're an IV drug user before you get a tattoo.
- Also many (not all) heroin users have "questionable' personal hygiene on a good day, let alone enough to properly care for a fresh modification. I would also say from the tattooist's point of view be worried about HIV/AIDS if you're tattooing an admitted IV drug users... I'm not trying to pigeon hole the IV drug users out there it's just a fact that you have an increased chance of bloodborne diseases when you use needles. I know artists are very careful but there's always a risk. Basically for heroin users I'd say it's a personal thing. Some people get paranoid and couldn't handle the process, others might find it intensely relaxing, others may sleep through the entire thing, and yet others may find it a very deep and meaningful experience. Myself, I was fine with having two tattoos done while on heroin and compared to the one I've had done while clean I really can't say there was a big difference. I dozed off during all three tattoos but that might just be because I find the tattooing process very relaxing or I'm just weird like that.
It should also be noted that if you're using regularly enough to weaken your body, healing will be slowed, sometimes dramatically.