Quotes about Opiates

“Junk is the ultimate commodity, the merchandise is not sold to the consumer- the consumer is sold to the merchandise.”
William S. Burroughs

“Junk is not like alcohol or weed, a means to increased enjoyment of life. Junk is not a kick. It is a way of life.”
William S. Burroughs

“The junk merchant doesn’t sell his product to the consumer, he sells the consumer to the product. He does not improve and simplify his merchandise. He degrades and simplifies the client.”
William S. Burroughs, “Naked Lunch

“It is not opium which makes me work but its absence, and in order for me to feel its absence it must from time to time be present.”
Antonin Artaud

“Tobacco and opium have broad backs, and will cheerfully carry the load of armies, if you choose to make them pay high for such joy as they give and such harm as they do.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Thou hast the keys of Paradise, oh just, subtle, and mighty opium!”
Thomas De Quincey

“Everything one does in life, even love, occurs in an express train racing toward death. To smoke opium is to get out of the train while it is still moving. It is to concern oneself with something other than life or death.”
Jean Cocteau

“It is difficult to live without opium after having known it because it is difficult, after knowing opium, to take earth seriously. And unless one is a saint, it is difficult to live without taking earth seriously.”
Jean Cocteau

“Opium teaches only one thing, which is that aside from physical sufffering, there is nothing real.”
André Malraux

“Among the remedies which it has pleased Almighty God to give to man to relieve his sufferings, none is so universal and so efficacious as opium.”
Thomas Sydenham

“Our current drug crisis is a tragedy born of a phony system of classification. For reasons that are little more than accidents of history, we have divided a group of nonfood substances into two categories: items purchasable for supposed pleasure (such as alcohol), and illicit drugs. The categories were once reversed. Opiates were legal in America before the Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914, and members of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, who campaigned against alcohol during the day, drank their valued “women’s tonics” at night, products laced with laudanum (tincture of opium).

I could abide—though I would still oppose—our current intransigence if we applied the principle of total interdiction to all harmful drugs. But how can we possibly defend our current policy based on a dichotomy that encourages us to view one class of substances as a preeminent scourge while the two most dangerous and life-destroying substances by far, alcohol and tobacco, form a second class advertised in neon on every street corner of urban America? And why, moreover, should heroin be viewed with horror while chemical cognates that are no different from heroin than lemonade is from iced tea perform work of enormous compassion by relieving the pain of terminal cancer patients in their last days?”
Stephen J. Gould, evolutionary biologist (Taxonomy as Politics, Dissent, Winter 1990, p.73

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