In Pulp Fiction, how is it that Vinnie Vega has lots of money to spend on heroin - yet can’t afford to buy disposable syringes?

By the nineties, no heroin users with money (and Vinnie obviously has a fair amount - he even tells the drug dealer that if the heroin is good, next time he’ll buy $1000 worth of it), especially solo users, were any longer using the old syringes that required assembly; they were all using illegally obtained disposable syringes. Only people with no money at all we’re still using the syringes requiring assembly or sharing the disposable ones.

So what’s up with that?

  • I only count 2 question-topics (why doesnt vinnie use disposable syringes, why was the snorting harmful). But, yes, they would be better served as two separate questions. Quite interesting angle.
    – BestGuess
    Apr 9 '19 at 12:35
  • Just a guess for part 2 (I don't use either of these): it's akin to taking the first sip of a brown soda. If you are expecting one type and gulp down a different one, you have an impulse to spit it out. I imagine that since Uma's character was expecting cocaine but instead sensed heroin, she wasn't prepared for the sensation. Now, soda and snorted drugs are different. So while it would be easy to choke down Tab when you were expecting Root Beer, I imagine that someone would feel helpless and suddenly, extremely anxious about having snorted something substantially stronger. Apr 9 '19 at 16:09
  • What Uma was or wasn't expecting would not have in any way whatsoever changed the drug's actual physiologic effect on her body.
    – DocNorm
    Apr 10 '19 at 6:45
  • @DocNorm: Couldn't it be that the drug was simply stretched/unclean?
    – BestGuess
    Apr 10 '19 at 8:26
  • 1
    "can’t afford to buy disposable syringes" This is an assumption that ignores that movies do not need to be 100% realistic, and that Tarantino in this case obviously went for the "has his own, well-worn tools of the trade" look. Hence the close-ups of Vincent opening up the bag with the syringe etc.
    – BCdotWEB
    Apr 10 '19 at 13:23

Why would Tarantino include it in the movie? Because it looks cooler to have your own drug paraphernalia. Vinny is not a very social person, so the idea that he has his own kit makes it seem like even when it comes to drug use, he's very private and operates in a controlled environment.

Why would a drug user use a kit in real life? Disposable needles are typically Cannula pointed; the tip is dull. This causes additional discomfort for some people. A syringe kit usually comes with an assortment of tips, including Lancet points which are very sharp and reduce some of the pain associated with the prick of a needle. You also don't have to be seen around drug dispensaries looking for needles.

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