Heroin Sheik: An Immigrants Journey to the Top of Designer Addiction / by Joseph Palumbo

Just a few years ago if a high-powered Hollywood producer or fading rock star wanted the PR boost and street cred that only a narcotics rap could provide, they needed to find a neighborhood junkie to get them tuned in and ready to drop out.

Today, a growing cottage industry of narcotics brokers to the stars allows them to bypass the streets and use their Hollywood clout to cop a designer habit from some of the most famous junkies in the game.

“It’s like fantasy camp, but for heroin addicts”, explains Abadir Umar Ar-Rida, the self-proclaimed “Heroin Sheik of Hollywood”. “Some people grew up with Michael Jordan on their wall, others with Keith Richards. Creative people are notoriously aligned with drug culture.”

And why would the Hollywood elite even consider such a risky career move?

“Why wouldn’t they? “If you’re a librarian in Cincinnati, then you’re probably better off not doing Hermione (his white label code word he uses with clients), but if you’ve just bombed three times in a row at the box office, being hooked on Harry Truman (another industry euphemism) is a great way to justify a career slump. You want people saying that you’ll be back better than ever once you kick a habit, not that you’re finished“, explains Abadir, who also works with clients on tailoring habits around increased creativity, role preparation and weight loss.

The 21 year old narco-nanny also added that with pot being legalized in California and around the country, smoking a joint might as well be drinking a Zima at the Junior Prom. Heroin is experiencing a re-birth, it’s what the bad kids are doing under the bleachers.

These merchants of addiction offer a very clear value proposition to their A-list clients: All habits are not created equally. It’s cool when you shoot up for the first time sitting between Jonah Hill and Michael Cera, not so cool when it’s sitting next to the grip on set with the itchy neck tattoo and an ankle monitor.

“If you want to maintain a positive career trajectory, you need to know where to score, where not to score, and who to cop with. It’s like any other part of the entertainment industry, it’s more about who you know, not what you know, and focus on appearances”, explains Abadir.  

The sheik and his small group of fellow narcotics brokers provide their clients a number of services to help them stay atop the high profile centrifuge of celebrity addiction/rehab/relapse, ultimately focusing on the greatest return for their drug investment. 

When asked if he was a junkie himself, Abadir reveals that he came to United States to be a social worker, but soon realized there was a different angle to helping people deal with drug addiction. “People are going to get high, that’s never going to change, but what most people don’t realize is that the danger isn’t the drug, drugs make you feel good, it’s not knowing how to negotiate the underground junk yard”, which is what Abadir calls the drug scene happening in and around the entertainment industry.