Used to be, you had to have had six hours of chemistry to be able to comprehend the term “opioid.” Now it’s on page A-2 of the paper almost every damn day:
The news media makes a lot of noise about addiction, but I wonder how much of a problem it really is. If you look at the estimates of how much heroin and cocaine are being imported, it looks like either everyone is getting stoned every day —or— some people are using a heck of a lot, like a gram a day. I don’t think everyone is getting stoned, so there must be large population of heavy drug users.
As for busts (arrests), I wouldn’t be surprised if it was just the newcomers who are getting busted. The old established outfits don’t want any competition, so they are happy to tip off the cops whenever they get wind of an upstart trying to horn in on their racket.
Ultimately, of course, the government becomes the dealer of choice:
So the best people were quite determined not to see Linda. And Linda, for her part, had no desire to see them. The return to civilization was for her the return to soma, was the possibility of lying in bed and taking holiday after holiday, without ever having to come back to a headache or a fit of vomiting, without ever being made to feel as you always felt after peyotl, as though you’d done something so shamefully anti-social that you could never hold up your head again. Soma played none of these unpleasant tricks. The holiday it gave was perfect and, if the morning after was disagreeable, it was so, not intrinsically, but only by comparison with the joys of the holiday. The remedy was to make the holiday continuous. Greedily she clamoured for ever larger, ever more frequent doses. Dr. Shaw at first demurred; then let her have what she wanted. She took as much as twenty grammes a day.
“Which will finish her off in a month or two,” the doctor confided to Bernard. “One day the respiratory centre will be paralyzed. No more breathing. Finished. And a good thing too. If we could rejuvenate, of course it would be different. But we can’t.”
“You are a true believer, blessings of the State, blessings of the masses. Work hard, increase production, prevent accidents and be happy.’