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Junkie puts down a shot

A junkie [ ˈdʒʌŋki ] (from English junk "garbage, garbage") is colloquially a person who is dependent on hard drugs such as heroin or crack at an advanced stage .


The term describes addicts who are less socially inconspicuous than addicts who are strongly marked by their drug use . The typical appearance of a junkie is often characterized by severe weight loss, accompanied by a general neglect of the external appearance and the inner world of emotions and thoughts. An additional burden arises from criminal prosecution and contamination of drugs, which are often obtained from dubious sources, but also from their psychological and physical effects themselves.

Obtaining intoxicants (for example heroin or cocaine- derived crack) is often the top priority in everyday life for a junkie. Junkies often commit criminal offenses ( acquisitive crime ) or prostitute themselves to finance their drug use. Addiction and crime have serious consequences, such as social uprooting; many junkies only hang out in their drug scene . Many long-term addicts suffer from various health problems, including abscesses at injection sites, neurological disorders, and infections (e.g. hepatitis C or HIV ). In addition to sexual intercourse (prostitution) as a source of infection, the transmission of infectious diseases is also possible through sharing syringes with other drug addicts.


The term junkie originated in the US in the early 20th century . The junkie referred to a person who earned the money for his addictive substances by collecting junk and selling it. 1953 published William S. Burroughs the novel Junky , the German translation as Junkie. Confessions of an unconverted drug addict appeared. The Spelling Dude first took up the term in 1980.


However, the term junkie or the term is often used in a transposed manner to describe particular addictions or states of dependency on certain things or behaviors that exist outside of drug use. Common examples from everyday life in this regard are the “computer junkie”, the “adrenaline junkie”, the “Facebook junkie” or the “ Internet junkie ”.


  • Bernhard van Treeck: Drugs and Addiction Lexicon. Lexikon-Imprint-Verlag, Berlin 1999, ISBN 3-89602-221-0 .
  • Bernhard van Treeck: Drugs. Schwarzkopf & Schwarzkopf, Berlin 2003, ISBN 3-89602-420-5 .

Web links

Wiktionary: Junkie  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ William S. Burroughs: Junkie: Confessions of an Unconverted Drug Addict. German translation: Katharina von Behrens. Rowohlt-Taschenbuch-Verlag, Reinbek near Hamburg 1999, ISBN 3-499-22589-1 .
  2. Junkie, der , duden.de, accessed on January 21, 2016
  3. Kurosch Yazdi: Junkies wie wir edition a, Vienna 2013, ISBN 978-3990010525 .