That Guy’s On Heroin: is the photo blog of apparent drug users cruel or pointed?

The blog's founder said it's meant to "raise awareness of addiction in Baltimore."

Is this Tumblr cruel for showing people at their worst? Or is it helping to show the embarrassing pitfalls of using? Photo courtesy of That Guy's on Heroin.

From the seedy underbelly of the Baltimore-related blogosphere comes That Guy’s On Heroin (TGOH), a year-old Tumblr filled with reader-submitted photos and videos of people stumbling around the urban prairie of Charm City.
It’s the sort of thing that might make your average tourism or elected official cringe, but does it have a higher purpose, as its anonymous founder says it does? Or is it instead mocking people at their worst moments?
The blog’s proprietor writes on the About page: “This blog … is a real depiction of heroin addicts wandering city streets in a wacked-out, semi-conscious state.”
Each submission comes with an approximate location around the city (Patapsco and Pratt, Greenmount and Oliver, Light and Lombard), as well as a rating of the person’s outlandishness on a five-point scale and a cheeky photo description, which, well, probably isn’t accurate.
Visit That Guy’s On Heroin.
The blog’s founder, who asked to remain anonymous, started the site in March 2012. About six months after the blog’s founding came the TGOH Facebook page, which is responsible for between 10,000 and 50,000 page hits a week, said TGOH. On the actual blog site, TGOH averages roughly 1,000 unique visitors per day. We admit that some here at Technically Baltimore have become frequent visitors of late.
“I basically wanted to raise awareness to the issue,” said TGOH in an e-mail, who wouldn’t say anything more than that he “lives in a rowhouse” in the city. “And, instead of ignoring addiction, like the U.S. has for decades, possibly use this awareness to raise money to help fight addiction in Baltimore city.”
Though the founder of TGOH says he can’t yet go into detail, he has plans of doing just that: raising money through the site and donating it toward drug rehabilitation efforts.
So while some readers might be sending in photos for a few laughs — and the descriptions underneath the photos are overwhelmingly irreverent — TGOH insists that the blog isn’t some exercise in schadenfreude.
Whereas the occasional Reddit thread or Twitter discussion characterizes these kinds of photos as cruel to the person who may be experiencing a very weak moment in his or her life — and even cruel to Baltimore, which is portrayed as crawling with drug-induced zombie addicts — TGOH sees something else.

“By not showing those pictures you’re not helping those people either, and in many cases people that [messed] up have no idea how they look to the outside world and actually convince themselves they are doing OK, so you’re probably hurting them by letting it go on unopposed,” TGOH said. “I want people to be disgusted by what they see.”
Companies: Facebook

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