March 11th, 2004, 11:12 PM
What I'v known all along
I found this today, and it sort of makes me smile that finally someone is trying to take a country in the right direction:
Narcophobia and the Opium Myth
Posted by ajones -- December 11, 2003
Reprinted from the Straits Times article "Has the Opium Myth gone up in Smoke?", by Deep K. Datta-Ray, December 8th 2003.
LONDON - British Home Secretary David Blunkett has reclassified cannabis to the lowest grade on the scale of controlled substances. The British government - and others including Canada and several US states - are re-evaluating their narcophobic views which took root a century and a half ago in China and led to the Opium Wars.
Governments are realising that not all drugs are an unmitigated evil and a difference is being drawn between synthetic hard drugs that threaten society and purified natural substances with medicinal values and a place in Asia's traditional cultures.
The war that Western imperialism forced on the decaying Qing empire, and which identified China as the original victim - Patient Zero - of a global drug plague, actually coincided with the conviction among both the Chinese and British governments that drugs were bad and required suppressing.
Understandably, the opium trade has been called 'the most long-continued and systematic international crime of modern times' perpetrated by the West on a vulnerable Asian nation. But what exactly was the effect of this supposedly pernicious substance?
Opium's impact on health has been dramatised. Medical evidence points to only one effect - mild constipation. In Britain, frequent users did not suffer any detrimental effects. On the contrary, they enjoyed good health into their eighties.
South Asians took opium pills without any serious social or physical damage. In contrast, imported European spirits faced strong opposition from India's Hindus and Muslims. Contrary to folklore, few opium users in China or elsewhere lost control of themselves.
In the late 1930s, when prices soared in Canton, most users halved their consumption to make ends meet. Obviously, spiralling addiction was not the inevitable result of smoking.
China's elite in the tumultuous 1800s regarded opium as the new status symbol - like fine calligraphy in traditional society. Connoisseurship was a carefully cultivated gentleman's art and 'Patna opium' the exotic indulgence. Smoking paraphernalia became collectors' items, much like Europeans collected Wedgwood tea sets. Expensive pipes fashioned out of precious blackwood or jade and inlaid with ornate silver decoration became social markers.
Rock-bottom prices in the late 19th century nationalised an elite pastime without any of the sinister effects that haunt the lay imagination. A British consul in Hainan reported that 'although nearly everyone uses it, one never meets the opium skeleton vividly depicted in philanthropic works, rather the reverse - a hardy peasantry, healthy and energetic'.
Seeking the dismal opium den of lore, Somerset Maugham found clean and tidy places, as a League of Nations report in 1930 noted, where the only customers were an elderly rubicund gentleman reading a newspaper, two friends chatting over a pipe, and a family with a child!
'Opium was our medicine, it was all we had,' cried an ex-Kuomintang soldier. Opium was the only pain-killer available to Britain's working classes until penicillin appeared in the 1940s.
In the early 1820s, a painful global cholera epidemic proved opium to be the perfect analgesic though, admittedly, it also caused constipation.
So why did the world engage in what Professor Frank Dikotter of London's School of Oriental and African Studies calls a narcophobic discourse?
As modern medicine developed, the new European medical associations sought moral authority and legal power by transforming opium from a European and Asian folk remedy into a controlled substance.
At the same time, narcophobia became an effective scapegoat for China's rulers. Opium was both the enemy within - morally depraved and physically weak addicts - and the enemy outside - conniving foreign powers bent on enslaving the country.
But the cure proved worse than the disease. Smokers incarcerated in detoxification centres died often within days after relying for years on opium to combat various diseases.
Tragically, the ban encouraged smuggling of hard drugs like morphine, heroin and cocaine which are a menace to stability. They did not require complicated user paraphernalia. What was needed were syringes, which the poor re-used without disinfecting. Needles spread disease and hundreds of bodies with injection marks were found by the road in Manchurian cities.
In trying to erase an unhappy past, communist China also stamped out a sophisticated smoking culture that had evolved over centuries. Europeans introduced tobacco in the 16th century, the Chinese laced it with opium in the 18th century, and dropped the tobacco in the 19th as the quality of British opium improved and stabilised.
The circle closed in the 20th century with a return to tobacco in the form of cigarettes. Deng Xiaoping attributed his longevity to cigarettes. 'Young Asia no longer smoked (opium) because grandfather smoked,' noted the famous French philosopher Jean Cocteau.
Mr Blunkett is forcing Britain to shake off a century of narcophobia by downgrading marijuana and focusing on the very real danger posed by synthetic substances. That is well and good. What is still required, though, is more examination of Patient Zero's example and experience, and a truly effective global drug policy that protects public health without counter-productive alarms and excursions.
Opium is so bad for you, yet a lot of those people used it to cure damn near everything. I do, and will continue to, untill I die. Not one human on this Earth can tell me I'm wrong, as I STILL challenge ANYONE to prove Opium harmful.
March 12th, 2004, 01:43 AM
I used to smoke black rock alot during my high school days, ofcourse that was years ago, man it sure would put some red in your eyes that not even thera tears could take out. That was the only damage I documented in my personal study and evaluation of opium. Now I only drink beer & 12y/o scotch or take the leagaly perscibed, because I not going back to county..........never
March 12th, 2004, 01:48 AM
That's the problem, you shouldn't be treated like a criminal in the first place. It has been more than proven safe, by many people. Much safer than alcohol or ciggaretts.
March 12th, 2004, 05:58 AM
After 9/11 they are really cracking down on the opium trade. "Safer than alcohol", **** that's the first honest statement I've seen in Cosmos since I've been here! Opium is a "blood drug ", meaning the more your blood circulates through the body the more you get furked up. That's why you see samples "dog eared" on the corner of some rave fliers(taped to the corner). Regular "dank" users never really even feel the affects of opium, they only sprinkle some on the KB to contain the burn" Controled Burning" if you will. So people using it for medical services, prlly are bed bound or handicap in some way, So they don't feel the effects that ravers or "dancers" do, so I can see why it is prescribed for medical use in alot of cultures.
March 12th, 2004, 01:38 PM
I wouldn't necessarily say opium is safer than alcohol- if taken sensibly - at the end of the day either drug (like anything else) will screw you up if you take too much of it. Thats why most people die with alcohol - cos they're bloody silly about how much they use. The amount you used to drink for example is not something you would really want to be doing very often if you wanted to stay in good health. Similarly taking stupidly excess amounts of opium will not do you any good - but as I say this is true of any substance including water.
But if you feel so strongly that opium should be legalised why don't you start some kind of action to get the law in the US changed instead of trying to persuade all of us? After all we ain't going to be able to help you other than come round to your pad and set up a hookah pipe.... although.... that's not a bad idea
Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes
March 12th, 2004, 02:15 PM
Have lost weeks of my life in an opeum den i can say there are some negitive effects....makes you jsut not care wouldbe the main one but some people see that as a positive. I have allways been of the opinion that either canabis and opiets should be legal or alcohal and tobaco shuld be illigal.
Who is more trustworthy then all of the gurus or Buddha’s?
March 12th, 2004, 04:57 PM
(just before I go to the pub!) me too as well actually - although I do like alcohol - but one of the effects you mention i.e. not caring, is the prime reason why opiates were made illegal in the UK (people aren't so easy to control when they stop caring and they don't do 'useful' and 'productive' things such as work like a slave 9-5) and it's also the prime reason why they won't be made legal for quite some time.
I have allways been of the opinion that either canabis and opiets should be legal or alcohal and tobaco shuld be illigal.
Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes
March 12th, 2004, 09:20 PM
The not caring thing depends on the person involved. It makes me actually care. I'm an ******* sober.
March 12th, 2004, 09:26 PM
Are you sober a lot then? j/k Nice post.
Originally posted here by gore
I'm an ******* sober.
N00b> STFU i r teh 1337 (english: You must be mistaken, good sir or madam. I believe myself to be quite a good player. On an unrelated matter, I also apparently enjoy math.)
March 12th, 2004, 09:39 PM
In the last few months, no, **** no. I hate being un Opiated. If I could, I would be on Opium, or at least Vicodin, 24/7. Before drugs, I was kicked out of school, getting straight Es on my report card (If you aren't familiar with the school system in America, an E is about as low a grade you can get). I started popping Vicodin, and I got back in school, I could concentrate, I get good grades now, I work, I almost have my degree.....Can you see me on TV telling Oprah how drugs ruined my life?
"It was terrible! I started doing drugs and caring! Before drugs, I had no job, I got kicked out fo school, and I wanted to die! Now look at me! I'm in college and working and a nicer person, it's terrible Oprah!"
Lol, then Dr. Phil's **** ass would tell me I'm bad and should go back to being suicidal and pissed all the time.