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Opium
December 20, 2005 11:41 PM   Subscribe

Opium
posted by caddis (60 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
I will give the opium addicts/distributors this: they understood convenience. What other addiction has specially made acoutrements designed to best facilitate the abuse of a substance while refusing to even sit up?

gotta love that pipe.
posted by shmegegge at 11:45 PM on December 20, 2005


pretty hard to sit up when you are on a nod
posted by caddis at 11:50 PM on December 20, 2005


What other addiction has specially made acoutrements designed to best facilitate the abuse of a substance while refusing to even sit up?

Television?
posted by anarcation at 11:53 PM on December 20, 2005 [1 favorite]


anarcation: Zing!
posted by spacewrench at 11:59 PM on December 20, 2005


This is just CRAZY. I'd never heard of OPIUM before! Thanks for the link, caddis!
posted by kjh at 12:18 AM on December 21, 2005


It's one of the hedonic engineering sites, for those who didn't check out the site beyond the picture show. I always like those guys, though I suppose it's hard to be against people whose purpose in life is to make everyone happy.
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 12:25 AM on December 21, 2005


see also: cocaine.org

another "hedonic engineering" site. surprisingly informative.
posted by jcruelty at 12:27 AM on December 21, 2005


opium?
posted by wumpus at 12:32 AM on December 21, 2005


Some great resources there. The demonization of drugs probably does more to encourage lawlessness than any other human ritual.

For those suspicious about the efficacy of foreign occupations, twenty-first century colonialism, and the seemingly fruitless legislation of morality, this link is pretty disheartening.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 12:45 AM on December 21, 2005


Throughout my experimentation phaze, I steered clear of heroin, though I tried opium a couple times.
I figured I would REALLY like it. I'm saving it for my golden years. Maybe when I'm 80. I have a feeling that I'll never want to stop.
posted by Balisong at 1:15 AM on December 21, 2005


"All penalties for drug users should be dropped...Making drug abuse a crime is useless and even dangerous...Every year we seize more and more drugs but the quantity available still increases...Police are losing the drug battle worldwide"
Raymond Kendall
Secretary General of Interpol 1994

Interesting quote from the link. Would like to know what text the ellipses replaced though.
posted by Onanist at 1:57 AM on December 21, 2005


Amen, Balisong.
posted by Meatbomb at 3:17 AM on December 21, 2005


Would like to know what text the ellipses replaced though.

Drags on a pipe.
posted by NewBornHippy at 3:57 AM on December 21, 2005


The Alchemist's Song and the Big Smoke Photo Gallery.
posted by rmmcclay at 4:47 AM on December 21, 2005


For Chronic Pain sufferers (like me!) having your own patch of poppies is one of the best things you can do...

"Narcotics have been systematically scapegoated and demonized. The idea that anyone can use drugs and escape a horrible fate is an anathema to these idiots. I predict that in the near future right-wingers will use drug hysteria as a pretext to set up an international police apparatus." -William S. Burroughs

How true this is...the medicine that helps people the most is now the hardest to get...doctors (except state licensed anestheticiologists in pain management, and even they are under the scope) are deathly afraid of prescribing opioid meds for fear of the DEAs crusade. If antobiotics were prescribed like opioids, and opiods prescribed like antibiotics, this world would make a lot more sense.
posted by gren at 5:47 AM on December 21, 2005


are deathly afraid of prescribing opioid meds for fear of the DEAs crusade

Actually, they're afraid to prescribe opium because of its addictive nature. It was a popular painkiller in the 19th century with some doctors, but a lot of the patients had trouble kicking the habit when the time came to get off of the painkillers. Somewhat similar to what happened with morphine, I think.
posted by unreason at 5:53 AM on December 21, 2005


No, actually they're deathly afraid to prescribe opiates because of the DEA.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 7:26 AM on December 21, 2005


unreason: Addiction has not born out to be an issue with legitimate pain. For pain sufferers frankly, nothing works better than opiod and opiate medications (the distinction being synthetic versus poppy derived). gren pointed out that physicians come under a great deal of scrutiny for prescribing narcotics. Write for too many and the regulators appear to look over records. It's not a pretty scene but it's the way it is.
posted by shagoth at 7:26 AM on December 21, 2005


...anyway, I'm now daily taking the generic form of Tylenol-4, which is codeine and acetaminophen. What bugs me is that because of drug abuse, I have to take all this acetaminophen which I don't really need and certainly isn't good on my liver, to make the opiate harder to abuse.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 7:28 AM on December 21, 2005


Anything you put into your body which removes your own free will by demanding it's own replenishment cannot be a good thing. Even if it's true that opiods do no physical harm over time, the mere process of addiction is harmful enough for me to support the "scapegoating" and "demonizing" of these drugs.

Drugs are bad, m'kay.
posted by JeffK at 7:33 AM on December 21, 2005


JeffK: Anything you put into your body which removes your own free will by demanding it's own replenishment cannot be a good thing.

Absolutely! I assume you will join in my crusade against the devil Oxygen, right JeffK?
posted by Justinian at 7:51 AM on December 21, 2005 [1 favorite]


Absolutely! I assume you will join in my crusade against the devil Oxygen, right JeffK?
posted by Justinian at 10:51 AM EST on December 21 [!]


That's kind of a silly comparison, isn't it?
posted by unreason at 7:59 AM on December 21, 2005


No. Gren is exactly right. Opiates should be completely legalized and antibiotics should be strictly regulated. A double bacon cheeseburger is far worse for you than a single dose of (pure) heroin but we don't make it illegal.
posted by Justinian at 8:03 AM on December 21, 2005


Anything you put into your body which removes your own free will by demanding it's own replenishment cannot be a good thing."

That's so simplistic that it indicates that you're a complete moron. You know, technically speaking.

A better example than Justinian's "oxygen" are the many examples of plants that have evolved themselves to produce tasty fruit so that they'll be eaten and the seeds distributed. Those are examples, in fact, of a substance that can vaguely claimed to have "intent" to alter the preferences and behavior of animals, including humans.

A much better example are the varieties of parasites that actually alter brain functioning. There is a parasite found commonly in dirt that induces in animals the desire to eat dirt.

The point is that a metabolism becoming conditioned to the presence of some chemical is really quite a long way from something that "removes your own free will by demanding it's own replenishment" when compared to a great many other things in the natural world. That being the case, Justinian's oxygen example isn't quite as far-afield as you might think.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 8:06 AM on December 21, 2005


...anyway, I'm now daily taking the generic form of Tylenol-4, which is codeine and acetaminophen. What bugs me is that because of drug abuse, I have to take all this acetaminophen which I don't really need and certainly isn't good on my liver, to make the opiate harder to abuse.

Ethereal Bligh: Ever try cold water extraction? It's quite easy and works well.
posted by signalnine at 8:13 AM on December 21, 2005


Thank you, E.B. I'll happily wear the badge of "complete moron" if it means that I don't want to be addicted to shit. Add to that, the fact that I also do not feel the need to alter my perception of reality, and call me a happy moron.
posted by JeffK at 8:23 AM on December 21, 2005


Do you drink coffee or caffeinated soda, JeffK? Eat chocolate?

Everybody alters their perception of reality.
posted by Justinian at 8:26 AM on December 21, 2005


Do you drink coffee or caffeinated soda, JeffK? Eat chocolate?

I'm sorry, are you actually comparing drug addicts to people who enjoy chocolate?

Everybody alters their perception of reality.
posted by Justinian at 11:26 AM EST on December 21 [!]


You mean like people who try to justify their habits by saying that everyone is addicted to something?
posted by unreason at 8:29 AM on December 21, 2005


Actually, they're afraid to prescribe opium because of its addictive nature. It was a popular painkiller in the 19th century with some doctors, but a lot of the patients had trouble kicking the habit when the time came to get off of the painkillers. Somewhat similar to what happened with morphine, I think.

They're not addictive if you only take them while you're in pain.

...anyway, I'm now daily taking the generic form of Tylenol-4, which is codeine and acetaminophen ... I have to take all this acetaminophen which I don't really need and certainly isn't good on my liver, to make the opiate harder to abuse.

If you disolve them in hot water, then cool the water, the acetaminophen will percipitate out. Then filter the tylenol out and boil away the cleaned water.
posted by delmoi at 8:31 AM on December 21, 2005


I'm sorry, are you actually comparing drug addicts to people who enjoy chocolate?

I'm saying there is no real difference between altering your perception of reality with caffeine, alcohol, or nicotine, or altering it with cocaine. It's a matter of degree not of kind.

You mean like people who try to justify their habits by saying that everyone is addicted to something?

Luckily for us I don't have a drug habit. How does it feel having being addicted to being patronizing?
posted by Justinian at 8:32 AM on December 21, 2005


unreason: appropriate username.

The problem with the war on drugs isn't that 'drugs are good' but that the war on drugs does far more practical damage. Would you rather take a cheap pill a couple of times a day, or be locked in jail for 30 years?

Opium was widely used historical by many people, including Winston Churchill. Just because it got banned in order to prevent white women from being lured into opium dens doesn't mean it's inherently evil.

As far as health effects go, it's not nearly as bad as cigarettes and only slightly more addictive. (And it doesn't stink)

There is simply no logical reason to say that legal opium is worse for society then legal nicotine.
posted by delmoi at 8:38 AM on December 21, 2005


I'm saying there is no real difference between altering your perception of reality with caffeine, alcohol, or nicotine, or altering it with cocaine. It's a matter of degree not of kind.

That's like saying that since getting shot and getting a hangnail are both injuries, it's a matter of degree, not kind.

Luckily for us I don't have a drug habit

If you do not have a drug habit, you will say that you don't.
If you do have a drug habit, you will say that you don't.

Therefore, your statement isn't really very meaningful.

How does it feel having being addicted to being patronizing?

I give people the respect they deserve based on their opinions. When someone says something silly like comparing chocolate to opium, they should expect to be treated like they said something silly. If you want to be treated with respect, then say things that deserve it.
posted by unreason at 8:38 AM on December 21, 2005


The problem with the war on drugs isn't that 'drugs are good' but that the war on drugs does far more practical damage.

Actually, if you would read my posts, you'll see that I never said that I didn't have problems with the War on Drugs. What I object to is not the idea that drugs should be legalized, but that they are harmless. The two are not connected.
posted by unreason at 8:41 AM on December 21, 2005


What I object to is not the idea that drugs should be legalized, but that they are harmless. The two are not connected.

Did someone say drugs, or chocolate, or television or bus exhaust are harmless? =)
posted by rmmcclay at 8:45 AM on December 21, 2005


"There is always a need for intoxication: China has
opium, Islam has hashish, the West has woman."

André Malraux

Well no wonder my husband is always trying to lick me and inhale my aroma!

I'm on some serious cough medicine right now and I'm convinced I would love laudanum. My days are spent in a dreamy, half-asleep daze with vivid dreams. Oh sweet, sweet languor.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 8:48 AM on December 21, 2005


Didn't we have this fight last year?
posted by JeffK at 9:08 AM on December 21, 2005


Oxygen contributes to your eventual death.

If you disolve them in hot water, then cool the water, the acetaminophen will percipitate out. Then filter the tylenol out and boil away the cleaned water.

Does thie, errr, work for hydrocodone, delmoi? Just curious, you understand.
posted by IronLizard at 9:13 AM on December 21, 2005


Yeah, for the record and as a first-person report, taking opiates for pain, including chronic pain, doesn't really get you high like it does if you're not experiencing the pain. It just makes the pain less, often dramatically less. I don't know why this is the case (that there's the difference of effects), but it's true.

These opiates in combination with a strong NSAID I'm taking have helped me a great deal, making it possible for me to be somewhat more mobile than I've been, even though this is a losing battle as each of my joints grind themselves into bits more and more each day.

I find, probably luckily for me, that I don't like very much at all the intoxicating feelings of these narcotics. If I abuse them, and I do occasionally, it's in one of two ways: either because I think that taking an extra amount will help me sleep, or taking an extra amount will prophylactically prevent some pain I expect to see increase because of recent activity. But when I do take too much, I find I don't like the way it makes me feel.

Also, I have been able to notice a more subtle effect via my writing here on metafilter. The stronger the opiate is affecting me, the more typos I'll make, and they're typos of a very particular kind: they're homonyms. It's a really strange effect, actually, or at least it seems so to me. The other thing I've noticed are some mild memory problems. I don't like these things, but the drugs help me a great deal.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 9:16 AM on December 21, 2005


IronLizard - "jes"
posted by AllesKlar at 9:32 AM on December 21, 2005


Yes, yes, opiates are a gift from God but withdrawals can make you believe in the Devil.
posted by kozad at 9:54 AM on December 21, 2005


Couple of opium anecdotes just for the heck of it.

When I was a teen, I had a friend who lived in a really rustic northern California foothill town. In any case, on his very remote property, he had a small plot of opium plants that had been there since the Chinese laborers who worked to build the railroad planted it there during the 19th Century. We used to go up every year during the "harvest" time, collect the raw sap and smoke it, usually with a bit of pot or taken with a bit of shrooms to spice up the experience. Like being inside a great big warm pillow. Yummy stuff. Decided to avoid heroin after that .. would like it WAY too much.

Many years later, I found myself in Tasmania, travelling around, visiting friends. Ended up spending Christmas dinner at a friends friend, who just happened to be a farmer raising opium for pharmaceutical uses. The fields were pretty much fallow by then (I think), but I do recall wandering around the remaining fields of dying indigo blossoms with a buddy, a bottle of local wine between us, having a great chuckle that we were drunk, at Christmas, having a walk through opium fields.
posted by elendil71 at 9:56 AM on December 21, 2005


According to a recent news items, a painkiller's been developed that has a good affinity for mu-opioid receptors but not for delta-opioid receptors hence providing pain-relief but preventing tolerance.
posted by Gyan at 10:17 AM on December 21, 2005


Actually, if you would read my posts, you'll see that I never said that I didn't have problems with the War on Drugs. What I object to is not the idea that drugs should be legalized, but that they are harmless. The two are not connected.

Ah, well okay then. I don't think all drugs are 'harmless' (Although marijuana comes close, and nicotine and alcohol definitely do not) but I think they should be legal, as long as they don't cause really serious problems (beyond the cost of enforcement)
posted by delmoi at 10:22 AM on December 21, 2005


Does thie, errr, work for hydrocodone, delmoi? Just curious, you understand.

I don't know, I've never tried it.
posted by delmoi at 10:23 AM on December 21, 2005


The problem with the war on drugs isn't that 'drugs are good' but that the war on drugs does far more practical damage.

I must disagree. What makes the war on drugs so bad, is that drugs are indeed very good, a huge net positive for any open society. Controlling my access to drugs is an attempt to police the inside of my skull. No thanks to that, m'kay?
posted by Meatbomb at 11:42 AM on December 21, 2005 [1 favorite]


I'm a good ex-hippie liberal who's done a fair amount of drug experiementation without regret. I believe the war on drugs is futile and outrageous.

But I have really mixed feelings about opiates. If it were easy to obtain, I am convinced I would be hopelessly addicted within days. I am never in possession of any opiates for very long. Imagine how you feel after eating quickly an entire carton of B and J Chubby Hubby, it's so friggin good you just can't stop yourself until it's all gone. If they made gallon cartons, I'd finish that too.

I'd like to see lots of things legalized, I just don't think I could trust myself to ever do anything but get high if opiates were legal.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 12:21 PM on December 21, 2005


"Reality is a crutch for people who can't handle drugs"
George Bernard Shaw

God Bless Shaw, the first Gonzoist
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 12:24 PM on December 21, 2005


"I'd like to see lots of things legalized, I just don't think I could trust myself to ever do anything but get high if opiates were legal."

I fully and deeply believe in the idea of there being a distinct "addictive personality type". I can clearly see the distinction between myself and other people I've known. I've known and been close to a number of people who were addicts of some sort of another, and the way they respond to certain substances is pretty identifiable. And I simply don't respond that way.

I've long, long been wary of opioids because I really, really like the way they make pain go away—as my life is more and more completely defined by pain and disability, that pain alleviating effect looms very large. But the thought of not having access to any opoids ever again doesn't particularly frighten me or make me anxious; when I run out of opioid meds I'm not in a particular hurry to get them replenished and in fact will frequently go a few days without doing so just because it's such a literal pain in the ass for me to navigate the enormity of the Costco where I get my prescriptions filled. (A task that I am immediately going to complete as soon as I finish writing this comment: I've been out of several of my meds for the last three days, the codeine very notably among them.)

In contrast to the way that I really like opioids, how much they help me, and yet how little I feel an addiction to them...is my relationship to sleep, which is arguably my real addiction. For whatever variety of reasons, sleep is my refuge from harsh reality and quite frankly the idea of my ability to sleep to be regimented and taken out of my own control is quite literally terrifying in the way that I strongly expect the idea of being without access to alcohol or a drug is terrifying to an addict. So I really intuitively suspect and have come to believe that this essence of need that I don't have in relationship to opoids, while other people do, and do have with regard to sleep, and other people don't, is precisely where this matter of "addiction" is to be found. And I think—without in any way intending to or wanting to validate the absurd "war on drugs"—that "addiction" is in fact a dire matter and something to be carefully watched for.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 2:01 PM on December 21, 2005


Yes, yes, opiates are a gift from God but withdrawals can make you believe in the Devil. is on the money.

I guess the real tragedy is that with opiates you don't know what you are getting into before you get into it. And withdrawal from a lengthy habit is a very, very bad experience.

I still believe that all drugs should be legal, however, even though I wouldn't choose to use myself anymore.
posted by Samuel Farrow at 2:03 PM on December 21, 2005


delmoi is referring to cold water filteration. Hydrocodone is water soluble as are most opiate derivatives (that I know of) and it works across the board. Use as little water as possible for the hot/cold water extraction and I'd do it in a fairly dark room. You'll lose a considerable amount of codeine (well considerable is relative to how much you have to start with) and it's not going completely get rid of non-opiate painkillers in the pills. It's several times safer on your liver than overdosing on Tylenol. There's a reason why people prefer Oxycontin to Percocet.

Of course if you're a normal, healthy person one or two trips without extracting Tylenol is not going to kill you, but don't take my word for it!
posted by geoff. at 2:08 PM on December 21, 2005


If you do not have a drug habit, you will say that you don't.
If you do have a drug habit, you will say that you don't.


I have a drug habit. There, that was easy to disprove.

When someone says something silly like comparing chocolate to opium

Clearly, you haven't eaten quality chocolate.
posted by Durhey at 2:27 PM on December 21, 2005


I've long thought that the war on drugs is futile and misguided, but in terms of it's effect on culture, I'm not so sure it hasn't been "successful". If the goal of the WoD has been to marginalize drug users, dealers and the culture itself, I'd say it's been working. At least in the US, drugs have probably never been so uncool. It's sad really, because I think in it's place is an empty, materialistic culture. It's true, if you're not addicted to drugs, it is something else, usually money or sex.
posted by jimmy76 at 2:29 PM on December 21, 2005



"Reality is a crutch for people who can't handle drugs"
George Bernard Shaw

I'd like to see a citation for this, other than a drug info site. Does not google well.
posted by dash_slot- at 3:37 PM on December 21, 2005


Poppies are pretty.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 4:34 PM on December 21, 2005


I don't understand why painkillers almost always have to be spiked with acetaminophen or aspirin. The only pure opiate painkillers that I know of are OxyContin (oxycodone), Dilaudid (hydromorphone), and the Fentanyl patch (morphine), and those painkillers are more expensive and much harder to obtain (not to mention the stigma that's attached to them). They should really make acetaminophen-free hydrocodone (such as Vicodin and Norco) and oxycodone pills (such as Percocet).
posted by Devils Slide at 6:48 PM on December 21, 2005


If it were easy to obtain, I am convinced I would be hopelessly addicted within days. I am never in possession of any opiates for very long. Imagine how you feel after eating quickly an entire carton of B and J Chubby Hubby, it's so friggin good you just can't stop yourself until it's all gone. If they made gallon cartons, I'd finish that too.
According to the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (overseen by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration), about 3 million Americans have used heroin. Of these, one in 10 report using the drug in the last year, and one in 20 say they've used it in the last month. The percentages for cocaine are similar. In both cases, daily use is so rare that the government does not provide figures for it. These findings indicate that the vast majority of heroin and cocaine users either never become addicted or, if they do, soon manage to moderate their use or abstain.
Hungry for The Next Fix
Behind the relentless, misguided search for a medical cure for addiction


Another way of looking at the passage highlighted above is that of all the people who tried heroin in thier lives, only 6% have used it in the last month. 6%.

Try these:

Addiction as a Cultural Concept

The Meaning of Addiction: Chapter 1 - The Concept of Addiction

The Meaning of Addiction: Chapter 3 - Theories of Addiction

If they made gallon cartons, I'd finish that too.

Unlike heroin, ice cream is freely available in this country. So, you can eat a whole pint of Ben & Jerry's at a sitting. Do you then run to the store and buy pint after pint after pint ? It's easy to obtain. If you finish a pint, you can go right out and buy more--you can buy as many as you want. You can go to Costco and buy pints by the box. No one will bat an eye. But you don't, do you ?

But you bring up a good point. If 94% of all the people who have used heroin haven't used it in the last month, then, eating ice cream is about as addictive as heroin. In fact, I'll bet that, of the 94% of all people who have used heroin in their lives who haven't used heroin in the last month, a lot of folks in that 94% have eaten ice cream in the last month.
posted by y2karl at 8:50 PM on December 21, 2005


" Anything you put into your body which removes your own free will by demanding it's own replenishment cannot be a good thing."

MMMK..., Just do without your Oxygen fix for about ten minutes, come back, and let's talk about it, huh? Chemically dependent? Yes, one and all. Drugs? Like the Lactic acid that you use to put your babes to sleep or the tryptophan you use on holidays to relax with family? Not you? No turkey OR milk? No caffeine? Alcohol? Nicotine? And those aren't 'Drugs"? Prohibition is unworkable. Period.
posted by FredsinPa at 4:42 AM on December 22, 2005


I wouldn't be reading/posting on Metafilter if it wasn't for coffee.

Nice hot coffee.

Q.E.D.
posted by iamck at 8:20 AM on December 22, 2005


Coffee
posted by caddis at 8:32 AM on December 22, 2005


It's really interesting to read these comments and hear everyone's opinions on this topic...

The problems associated with drug abuse in some developed countries that actually have the means and opportunities to solve their own social issues pales in comparison to the suffering being caused in other nations where drugs have been a traditional way of feeding one's family for countless generations. The war on drugs is simply a case of developed countries trying to make their problem somebody else's, while excercising control over smaller countries.
I've taken many of the drugs listed on this page (both legitamately and recreationally) and, as long as you don't abuse either there's no difference between getting home after work, sitting in your living room and getting drunk on beer watching the game and sitting in your living room, getting high on opium watching Milkdrop..

..Except for the fact that you would feel immeasurably better the next day after the opium, and be alot less likely to beat your wife when your team loses.

I find it easier to side with the drug users who have actually used the substance in question, than opponents to drug legalization who have never tried it before in their life.

And if you're sitting there thinking that the US government wouldn't make opium more available if they could find a way to make money off of it you're just plain stupid.

The key to reducing drug 'abuse' doesn't lie in controlling the substance and the country it's made in, it lies in changing the mindset and situations of the people 'abusing' the drugs and promoting progressive, sensible thought. Something this government has never excelled at.

People are abusing the drugs because they are trying to escape something in their life

What they are trying to escape from is what should be addressed?

(elendil71: That was a good story.)
posted by tbonicus at 1:08 PM on December 22, 2005


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