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Dec. 4, 2013 10:45 am

‘That Guy’s On Heroin’ blog raising money for social services charity

The blog's anonymous founder said that all the money raised from the sales of "Baltimore Bus Zombie" t-shirts before Christmas will be donated to the nonprofit running group.

The "Baltimore Bus Zombie" t-shirt. Image via That Guy's On Heroin.

Updated: 12/2/13 @ 4:30pm: A previous version of this story referenced a specific nonprofit to which TGOH planned to donate its profit, however a spokeswoman from Back on My Feet said they had not been contacted by the blog's publisher and, given the sensitive nature of the blog's content, would have "respectfully declined" any money offered.

Pointed or perverse? That seems to be the question when talking about That Guy’s On Heroin (TGOH), a Tumblr blog set up in March 2012 that posts photographs of people stumbling around Baltimore city who are, presumably, abusing heroin.

“I basically wanted to raise awareness to the issue,” the blog’s founder told Technical.ly Baltimore — on the condition of anonymity — in July. Since then the site has undergone a redesign, and the tagline “Living in Baltimore, fighting zombies” has been added to the top of the home page.

At the time we reported that the founder of TGOH, who lives in a rowhouse in the city, was planning to raise money through the site to donate to drug rehabilitation efforts and services. Some in the comments and on social media questioned whether that would come to be (or if that undid negative attention to people battling addiction). Now it has.

TGOH is selling “Baltimore Bus Zombie” t-shirts at $20 apiece. In an e-mail, the blog’s founder said there are about 100 shirts to sell, and that all the profits from t-shirt sales — after paying the $400 for the material and another $400 for the graphic designer and printing — will be donated to a nonprofit with a social services mission.

“One-hundred percent of profits are going to charity up until Christmas,” said TGOH. “That means if we sell all 100 shirts, about $1200 goes to charity. So far we’re already over the cost of production and have about $300 to $400 [to donate].”

Still, selling t-shirts depicting purported drug addicted people as “zombies” — even if the money is donated to a nonprofits — might reinforce the notion that the site is simply mocking people at their worst moments, as some commenters insisted when we published our July story about the blog.

TGOH said that if $1,000 of t-shirts are sold, the proceeds will be split between social services nonprofits that focus on substance abuse.

“After this year the group is thinking about taking some profit off future endeavors, but always giving 25 percent or more to local charities,” TGOH, which appears to be a group of people, said. “We’re in the hole about $500 in hosting fees, incorporation fees and miscellaneous fees from the last two years, and it would be nice to one day be even with the house or — dare I say — be compensated for the time we spend on this site.”

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Andrew Zaleski

Andrew Zaleski is a freelance journalist in Philadelphia and the former lead reporter for Technical.ly Baltimore. Before moving to Philadelphia in June 2014, he was a contributing writer to Baltimore City Paper and a Tech Check commentator for WYPR 88.1 FM, Baltimore city’s National Public Radio affiliate. He has written for The Atlantic, Outside, Richmond magazine, Washington City Paper, Baltimore magazine, Baltimore Style magazine, Next City, Grist.org, The Atlantic Cities, and elsewhere.

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