have a Chinaman on (one's) back(redirected from Chinaman on their backs)
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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 East 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.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.