At the beginning of the 19th century, opium influenced not only the policy of trading empires in the Far East, but also, quite unexpectedly, the aesthetic forms and style of European thought. In a sense, European society was awakening from narcissistic employment with a revival of classicism and turned out to be like a spectator at a temptingly metaphysical and aesthetically exotic banquet held by the Ottoman Great Turk, a banquet whose main aperitif was opium vision.

In this regard, it is impossible not to mention here about Thomas De Quincey. Like Timothy Leary in the 1960s, De Quincey was perfectly able to convey the visionary action of what he experienced. For De Quincy, it was an action in a poppy maze. He knew how to convey opium vision with that subtle melancholy that is typical of the Romantic era. Almost carelessly, as they say, “one-handed” he created in his “Confessions of one Englishman – opium consumer” a cultural image, “Zeitgeist” (spirit of the times – him) experiences of opium intoxication and a kind of metaphysics of opium. He invented the form of “drug confession” – the most important genre of subsequent narcotic literature. His descriptions of the world’s perception of opium are unsurpassed.

Many years ago, when I was looking through the “Antiquities of Rome” by Piranesi, Mr. Coleridge, who was standing nearby, described to me a series of illustrations by this artist, called “Dreams” by him and transmitting an image of his visions during feverish delirium. Some of them (I am writing only from the memory of Mr. Coleridge’s story) represented huge Gothic halls, where various machines and mechanisms, wheels, cables, blocks, levers, catapults, etc., stood on the floor — an expression of tremendous exerted power and resistance to be overcome. Sneaking along the walls, you notice the stairs, and on it, feeling for yourself a way up, Piranesi himself. Follow a little further up the steps, and you will see how they lead to a sudden, abrupt cliff, without any balustrades, not giving any further step to the one who reached the edge except deep down. Whatever happens to poor Piranesi, do you thinkat least here his labors must somehow be completed. But raise your gaze, and you will see a second flight of steps, even higher, on which Piranesi is again visible, this time standing on the very edge of the abyss. Look again, and you will see another airborne flight of steps; and again poor Piranesi, engaged in his inspired labor; and so on – until the unfinished steps and Piranesi are lost in the darkness at the top of the hall. With the same force of endless growth and self-reproduction, my constructions developed in dreams.and so on – until the unfinished steps and Piranesi are lost in the darkness at the top of the hall. With the same force of endless growth and self-reproduction, my constructions developed in dreams.and so on – until the unfinished steps and Piranesi are lost in the darkness at the top of the hall. With the same force of endless growth and self-reproduction, my constructions developed in dreams.

Opium cheers the spirit; he can evoke infinitely unfolding ribbons of thoughts and ecstatically enthusiastic speculations, and for half a century after De Quincey ‘s “Confessions” , serious attempts were made to use the effect of opium on creative abilities, especially on literary creativity. De Quincey made this attempt; he was the first writer who consciously studied through personal experience the method of forming dreams and visions – how opium helps shape them and how they are strengthened, how they are then rearranged and used in conscious art (he himself – in “passionate prose”, but this process will be applicable in poetry). He learned his waking writing technique, partly from observing how the mind works in dreams and dreams under the influence of opium.

He was convinced that “opium” dreams and dreams themselves can be a creative process, analogous to and leading to literary creativity. He used these dreams in his literary work not as some kind of decoration or allegory, not intently creating an atmosphere, somehow anticipating the plot or helping him, not even as a hint at some ultimate reality (although he considered them as such), but as an art form by itself. His study of the work of imagination in the creation of dreams was carried out with the same concentration as some of his contemporaries devoted to the waking imagination for the creation of poetry.


The analytical and psychological interest of people like De Quincey and the French psychiatrist J.-J. Moreau de Tours, and their relationship to the substances that they sought to study, marks the beginning of a not entirely successful attempt by science to achieve some kind of agreement with these materials. In their work, they meant that intoxication, apparently, can imitate insanity – a serious hint that insanity and, in general, most mental illnesses are rooted in physical causes. Opium dreams were viewed as a kind of theater of imagination in wakefulness. And in this fascination with dreams there is a certain anticipation of the psychoanalytic methods of Freud and Jung; this fascination is felt in all the literature of the 19th century — among Goethe, Baudelaire, Mallarme, Huysmans, and Heine. This is the song of the unconscious sirens, which has not sounded since the time of the destruction of Eleusis,but expressed in Romanticism and among the Pre-Raphaelites as a pagan riot, often driven by appeal to opium. Minxes with a modestly downcast gaze from the series of Beardsley drawings or the more sombre labyrinth visions of Odilon Redon or Dante Gabriel Rosetti are the personification of this aesthetics.

As that aesthetics had a darker side, poppy chemistry began to produce more dangerous and potent derivatives in terms of addiction. A hypodermic syringe was invented in 1853, and since then opiate users have had a warning example of intravenous consuming morphine, severe addiction, an example that is sufficient to temper their addiction.

The XIX century was experiencing the selection and classification of an amazing variety of new means and stimulants, which brought two centuries of research and exploitation of vast lands. Tobacco consumption (in one form or another) has become widespread, especially among men, in all classes of society. Opium was abused less, but nevertheless it was a great many people, also from all walks of life. Distilled alcohol was produced and consumed in much larger quantities than ever before. In such a situation, the sober society emerged, and modern positions on the issue of drugs began to take shape. But the present abuse of synthetic substances and its result were still ahead – in the twentieth century.


Morphine was isolated in 1805 by the young German chemist Friedrich Serturner. For Serturnera, morphine was the purest essence of a poppy plant. He gave him a name derived from the name of the Greek god of dreams, Morpheus. This success in isolating the essence of opium poppy and inspired chemists to attempt to isolate pure compounds from other tried and tested pharmacology products. Means to relieve heart disease were obtained from digitalis. Quinine was extracted from quinine wood and, purified, used in colonies to fight malaria. And from the leaves of a single South American shrub, a new and promising local anesthetic, cocaine, was extracted.

Morphine consumption was limited and sporadic until the middle of the 19th century. At first, outside of medicine, it was used mainly by suicides, but this period was short and morphine soon established itself as a new and very unusual kind of drug. In 1853, Alexander Wood invented a hypodermic needle. Before his invention, doctors used hollow stalks of lilac to inject substances into the body. The syringe appeared just in time – to be used to introduce morphine to soldiers wounded in the American Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War. This created a certain pattern, with the manifestation of which we will meet again in the history of opiates – war as a factor in addiction.

By 1890, the use of morphine on the battlefield led to a significant increase in the number of drug addicts in Europe and the USA. Among the veterans of the Civil War who returned home, there were so many morphineists unwillingly that the yellow press began to talk about morphine addiction as a “soldier’s illness”.


Purified alcohol and white sugar preceded morphine as addictive samples of high-purity compounds, but morphine became an example of modern “strong agents”, that is, injected with high-addiction drug injections. At first, such substances were extracted from opiates, but very soon cocaine joined their list. Heroin, created as a treatment for morphine addiction, after its introduction, quickly replaced morphine as a synthetic opiate, preferred among addicts. Heroin retained this status throughout the 20th century.

Heroin and in the public’s imagination quickly supplanted all other means, as for the devilry of drug addiction. And although statistics show that alcohol kills 10 times more often than heroin, addiction to heroin is still today regarded as the very bottom of a narcotic defect. There are two reasons for this point of view.

One of them is the real power of addiction caused by heroin. The passionate attraction to heroin and the illegal or violent acts that this attraction may cause, have created the heroin reputation of a drug whose adherents are ready to kill for it. Adherents of tobacco, too, could kill for their dose, if need be, but instead, they just run in the morning to buy a pack of cigarettes.

Another reason for disliking heroin devotees is the characteristic features of the intoxication they cause. Immediately after the injection man is cheerful, full of enthusiasm. However, this active reaction to the injection soon gives way to “drowsiness”, or “nodding”. The goal of a drug addict with every introduction of junk [Under American jangling, junk refers to the general name of opium and / or its derivatives, including all synthetic from demerol to palphium, this “nap”, to fall into a detached state of drowsiness in which many opiate dreams can unfold. In this state, there is no pain, no regret, no despair, no fear. Heroin is a perfect remedy for anyone who suffers from a lack of self-esteem or is injured by something. This means for battlefields, concentration camps, wards of cancer patients and ghettos. It is a means of resigned and bloomingclearly dying and victims, not located to fight or not able to fight.

Junk is the perfect product … an absolute product. There is no need for trade negotiations. The customer will crawl along the gutter and beg for a purchase … A junk dealer does not sell his goods to the consumer, he sells the consumer to his goods. It humiliates and simplifies the client. He pays his serving junk.

Junk corresponds to the basic formula of the “evil” virus: the Algebra of Needs . The face of evil is always the face of total need. A drug addict is a person who has a total need for drugs. With frequent repetition, the need to become infinite, over it lost control. Using the terms of total need, we ask : “Would you not become?” Yes, they would. You would lie, cheat, report on your friends, steal, do anything , just to satisfy the total need. Because you would be in a state of total illness, total obsession and would not have had the opportunity to act in any other way. Addicts are sick people who cannot tread in a different way. A mad dog has no choice – it bites.


Like heroin, cocaine is a modern drug of high purity, isolated from a plant with a long history of traditional consumption. For millennia, the inhabitants of the mountainous wet forests of South America have stored cultural values ​​that contribute to the ritual and religious consumption of food and stimulant – coca.

The locals in the areas where coca has traditionally been cultivated and consumed will certainly tell you: “Coca no es un droga ,, es comida” (“Coca is not a drug, it is food”). And pretty much it is. Self-consumed doses of ground coca contain a significant percentage of the daily required vitamins and minerals. Coca is also a powerful appetite suppressant. It is impossible to appreciate the importance of these factors without understanding the situation regarding the presence of proteins in the forests of the Amazon and in the highlands of the Andes. An occasional traveler may suggest that the lush vegetation of the rainforest means an abundance of fruits, edible seeds and roots. However, it is not. The competition for available protein resources is so cruel among the thousands of species of life in the jungle flora and fauna that almost all usable organic materials are actually already embedded in the interconnection of living systems. And a plant that suppresses appetite will help a person to penetrate such an environment.

Of course, appetite suppression is just one characteristic feature of coca consumption. Another characteristic is stimulation. The tropical rainforest environment is a difficult habitat. Collecting food and building shelter often requires transporting large quantities of material over considerable distances. And often machete is the only tool suitable for somehow breaking through impassable thickets.

For the culture of the ancient Incas in Peru, and later for the local population and the colonists-metises, coca was a goddess, a kind of echo in the New World of the white goddess Graves Levkotei. It is significant that the goddess Mama Coca in the form of a girl offering a saving coca branch to the Spanish conqueror is embossed on the front list of the classic “History of coca – the divine Inca plant” by W. Golden Mortimer.

Cocaine was first isolated in 1859. Pharmacology was undergoing a kind of renaissance, and cocaine research continued for several more decades. At this stage of our discussion, it is probably hardly necessary to mention that cocaine was initially praised as an excellent remedy against morphine. The young Sigmund Freud was also among the medical researchers attracted by the new tool.

Today it is impossible to say with certainty to what extent coca can increase a person’s psychic abilities. I get the impression that its long-term consumption can lead to a lasting improvement if the inhibitions manifested before it were taken were the result of only physical causes or exhaustion. Of course, the immediate effect of a dose of coca cannot be compared with the effect of morphine injection; but, on the other hand, there is no danger of general harm to the body, as in the case of chronic consumption of morphine.

Freud’s discoveries, which he subsequently refused, were neither too widely known nor well accepted in the circles where they were known. But already his Viennese follower Karl Koller took a further step in the medical use of cocaine – opened the possibility of its use as a local anesthetic. Koller’s discovery made a real revolution in surgery; in 1885, this property of cocaine was hailed as a terrific medical breakthrough. However, with the widespread use of this drug, its effect as an addictive stimulant was also noted. Cocaine was an inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson, who describes in his story “The Strange History of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” some means that causes a sudden personality change. A fact that has contributed to the rapidly growing reputation of cocaine as a dangerous new vice for the rich and libertines.


Not all literary mentions of cocaine portrayed him in such a terrible light. In 1888, the British physician Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote his now famous short story The Sign of Four, in which admiring detective Sherlock Holmes remarks on his use of cocaine: “I suppose his physical influence is bad. However, I find it so incomparably stimulating and clarifying the mind that its secondary action is a minor matter. ”

Koka followed a pattern already made with coffee, tea and chocolate, that is, she quickly attracted the attention of enterprising people. Chief among those who saw the commercial potential of coca was Frenchman M. Angelo Mariani. In 1888, the first bottle of “Vin Mariani” (ill. 23) was sold on the market, and a whole stream of wines, tonic and elixir based on or with the addition of coca soon appeared.

Mariani was the greatest demonstration of the virtues of coca that the world has ever known. He was imbued with information about coke, surrounding himself with artifacts of the Inca culture, spreading the garden of coca at home and filling the trading empire, which glorified his tonic wine. Thanks to his genius in advertising, he approached the closest living ever to “turn the world around.” Queen Victoria, Pope Leo XIII, Sarah Bernard, Thomas Edison and hundreds of other celebrities and medical representatives publicly testified the tonic properties of his products in a series of 12 volumes published by his company.


At the beginning of this century, racists in the United States, spreading all kinds of nonsense, stubbornly instilled fears that blacks of the South, mad with cocaine, could attack whites. In 1906, a law on clean food and drugs was introduced, which made cocaine and morphine illegal and created a platform for the legally sanctioned prohibition of synthetic compounds causing addiction, which were found in the opium poppy and coca plant. Unlike tobacco, tea and coffee, which were first brought to bayonets and then legalized, morphine, heroin and cocaine began their careers in modern society as legal substances, but, being recognized as contributing to addiction, were prohibited. Why these funds, and not others? Maybe they cause more serious addiction? Or does the use of a subcutaneous injection itself cause unpleasant feelings? MaybeIs there any difference in the social and psychological effects of these substances, which made them a scapegoat for the harm done to society by alcohol and tobacco? All these are difficult questions that are not easy to answer. Nevertheless, if we want to understand the completely different nature of the atmosphere of the pharmacological market and drug use in the 20th century, these are questions that we need to try to answer.

The answer may partly consist in the fact that by the beginning of the 20th century there had been almost a century of experience in the use of synthetic drugs that cause addiction and its consequences in social terms. The stupid glorification of each new pharmacological agent as some kind of universal panacea for all ills was demonstrated quite well. The fact that it was possible to deny or leave unrecorded documents in the XVIII and even the XIX century, is not so easy to hide in the twentieth century. Increasingly improved means of communication and transportation make it possible to quickly disseminate information about drugs, as well as drugs themselves.

These technologies contributed to the immaculately organized and skillfully managed large criminal syndicates. But the emergence of these syndicates and modern systems for the production and distribution of drugs required a certain amount of connivance on the part of governments. Addiction characteristic of hard drugs has given them a bad reputation. Governments that have been selling drugs for centuries with impunity have suddenly found themselves in a completely new atmosphere of ideas of sobriety and social reforms, and were forced to transfer this profitable industry from ordinary commerce to the status of illegal activities. Now, governments that previously received money from the sale of drugs will receive them through a system of bribes and through situations in which they will be paid to “look the other way”.


The involvement of governments in drug trafficking and their direct responsibility for this will decrease under the cover of fraudulent enterprises, replacing direct profits, while retail prices will rise astronomically. The new pricing structure has made the pie of cash from the sale of drugs large enough so that both parties — the government and the crime syndicates — could take advantage of it to the fullest extent.

Indeed, a modern solution to the problem of drug cartels would be to act as trustees of national governments in the supply of addictive drugs. Governments can no longer participate openly in the world drug trade and claim legitimacy. Only outcast governments act without a cover. Legitimate governments prefer their intelligence agencies to deal in secret deals with the bosses of the drug business, pretending at this time that the obvious machine of diplomacy is busy with the drug problem, which is always presented in such a way that any reasonable person can believe that it is completely undecidable. It is significant that the main zones of strong drug production are tribal settlement zones. Modern imperialists would like us to believe that, no matter how hard they try,they never managed to “crush” and control these zones, for example, in Pakistan or Burma, where opium is produced on a large scale. Therefore, faceless tribal leaders, constantly replacing each other, and, moreover, with completely impenetrable names, can be considered responsible for all this.

From 1914 to 1939, the distribution of drugs was mainly in the hands of the same gangsters who also ran other areas characteristic of the gangster subculture — prostitution, usury and various kinds of racketeering. The prohibition of alcohol in the United States created a surprisingly large market for hard drugs, and also made it possible to make easy profits from illegally produced and sold without taxation of alcohol.

Government drug market manipulation took place in other countries. During World War II, the Japanese invaders of Manchuria seemed to have used a page from a book of British colonial rule a century earlier and produced huge amounts of opium and heroin in China for distribution inside the country. This was done not with views on profits, like the British, but with the intention to generate so many cases of addiction that the Chinese people’s will to resist the occupation was broken. Later, in the 60s, the CIA uses the same technique to crush political divisions in the American ghettos for blacks with an avalanche of super-pure heroin under “porcelain-white.”


The seriousness of addiction to synthetic drugs such as heroin and cocaine could not long remain unknown to the heirs of the slave trade and the opium wars — international intelligence services and secret police organizations — and not attract their attention. These shadow services and organizations are distinguished by an insatiable need for money (the source of which cannot be traced) to finance armies, terrorist groups, coups d’état, and the opposition that are their mainstay in commerce. Involvement in the world drug trade and in fact domination over it is irrefutably proven for such organizations as the CIA, “Opus Dei” and the French secret service.

The relationship of the US government with the mafia and drugs can be traced, as is well known, until the beginning of World War II. Two sensational joint operations of the OSS (Office of Strategic Services) and the United States Naval Intelligence contributed to establishing contacts (through Luciano Lucky) with the Sicilian Mafia and (through Dai Li) with Tu Jue Shene, the drug gang selling drugs in Shanghai. Both ties have spread over the post-war period.

The involvement of legitimate institutions remains the same with some exceptions. In the late 1970s, the focus of emphasis on the focus of heroin on cocaine in American strong drug culture was to change. This shift was partly a logical consequence of the defeat of the Americans in the Vietnam War and the rejection of Southeast Asia. It soon intensified when the Reagan programs against drug terrorism and its support opened up new opportunities for covert operations.

Nevertheless, it is unlikely that this seriousness of addiction to cocaine or social pay for its epidemic could ever be foreseen. Perhaps no one ever wondered what the consequences were that the American public was hooked on cocaine. Perhaps the creation of even more effective and even more addictive crack cocaine, consumed through smoking, was unexpected. It is very likely that the crack phenomenon is an example of technology that has gone out of control of its creators. In the 1980s, cocaine acquired a form more dangerous than any of its previous victims and any of its detractors could have imagined.

This is a new and disturbing pattern of development of the “man-drug” relationship, a scheme that cannot be ignored. If today we are faced with a superactive, in the sense of addiction, form of cocaine, then where is the guarantee that tomorrow there will be no superactive form of heroin? In fact, such forms of heroin already exist. Fortunately, they are simply not as easy to produce as crack cocaine. In the narcotic underground, “ice” appeared, a form of methamphetamine that was strongly addicted through smoking. Others will appear in the future – more conducive to addiction, more destructive than all that are possible today. How, then, will the law and society respond to this phenomenon? It remains to hope that the answer will not be the hypocritical display of subjects prone to showing up as examples of misbehavior.

From a historical point of view, limiting the availability of addictive substances should be seen as a particularly perverted example of the Calvinistic thinking of the dominion system, in which a sinner should be punished in this world, turning it into an exploited, hapless consumer. And punishes him for addiction, robbing him, a criminal-governmental association, which produces these addictive substances. The image of this is worse than the image of a snake devouring itself – this is again the Dionysian image of a mother eating her children, the image of a house that has risen against itself.


In his fantastic story “The Man in the High Castle” Philip K. Dick presented a kind of alternative world in which the Japanese and the Third Reich won the Second World War. In Dick’s fantasy world, the Japanese occupation authorities legalize marijuana as one of their first steps to curb the people of California. But everything is no less strange in our world, which conventional wisdom simply calls “reality”. In “this world,” the winners also inject some kind of all-pervading, super-powerful drug-forming society. This drug was the first of a growing group of high-order technical drugs that transfer the consumer to some alternative reality, acting directly on his senses without introducing chemicals into the nervous system. It’s about television. No epidemic, no fashion addiction,no religious hysteria has ever spread faster and has not created so many supporters for itself in such a short period.

The closest analogy to the power of addiction to television and the transformation of values ​​that occurs in the life of a heavily addicted consumer is probably heroin. Heroin makes the image flat, as if “aligns” it; heroin is neither cold nor hot; the junkie addict looks out at the world, confident that whatever happens is all that irrelevant. The illusion of knowledge and control, which gives heroin, is similar to the unconscious assumption of the television consumer, as if what he sees, somewhere in the world is “real”. In fact, the visible is a cosmetically improved type of product. Television, although not a chemical invasion, nevertheless contributes to the same extent addiction and is physiologically just as harmful as any other drug.

Not differing from drugs or alcohol at all, tele-experience allows its participant to cross out the real world and enter a pleasant and passive state. Anxieties and worries with the help of preoccupation with a TV program, suddenly disappear somewhere, just like when you go on a “journey” caused by drugs or alcohol. And just as alcoholics are only vaguely aware of their addiction, they feel as if they control their state more than they actually do … the viewer likewise overestimates his control, his control of the situation while watching a TV show. Ultimately, it is this harmful influence of television on the life of a huge number of people that determines it as a factor of serious addiction. The habit of TV disrupts the sense of time. It makes other perceptions vague and strangely unreal,taking some more “significant reality” as reality. This habit weakens relationships, reducing and sometimes eliminating normal opportunities to talk and talk.