have a Chinaman on (one's) back

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have a Chinaman on (one's) back

To suffer from an addiction to narcotics or the withdrawal symptoms caused by it. A derogatory phrase, it likely refers to opium's classical association with Southeast Asia. Having that Chinaman on her back has kept Janet out of work for years. I want to get clean and turn my life around, but having this Chinaman on my back is absolute torture.
See also: back, Chinaman, have, on
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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