11 thoughts on “Addiction”

  1. Makovy kolac — in Slovak, “Mak” is poppy seed, and “kolac” is cake/ pie. (“Torta” is also cake. They really don’t make US style pie. But have lots of tasty deserts, like the one pictured. My mother-in-law often bakes them. um, yummy.)

  2. I had so many recipes for poppy-seed this and that, which I didn’t make all the time that I was in the military, for fear of having a positive result for opiates on the regularly unscheduled and random whiz-quizzes.

  3. One of my husband’s friends (left in ’68 and hadn’t seen his mother for a dozen years) visited my mother-in-law’s. His eyes started watering when she put one of these out on the table – it tasted, felt like home to him. Hers were great and full of poppy seed – but I don’t think as much as this incredibly generous one. Still you probably wouldn’t have wanted to be drug tested after a couple of pieces.

  4. One of the things I utterly resent about the war on drugs is that my family modified its food habits to avoid poppy seed cakes when my dad got a job that required regular testing and here we are decades later and they never changed back. It was a little bit of memory and family culture that died just to avoid false positives.

  5. The war on drugs is a bit like abortion. There are two sides and neither side will ever convince the other. In the 1920s public opinion gradually turned against drugs which had been legal before the Harrison Narcotic Act of 1914. The story of the act is interesting. It was, of course, the era of prohibition.

    Through most of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the antialcohol forces in the United States were gaining ground. The anti-opiate forces, in contrast, remained weak and poorly organized. Why, then, did opiate prohibition precede alcohol prohibition by five years?

    After the Spanish-American War, when the United States War Department took over the chore of governing the Philippine Islands, it inherited a whole system for licensing narcotics addicts and supplying them with opium legally-a system established under Spanish rule. A War Department Commission of Inquiry was appointed under the Right Reverend Charles H. Brent, Episcopal Bishop of the Philippine Islands, to study alternatives to the Spanish system. After taking evidence on programs of narcotics control throughout the Far East, the Brent Commission recommended that narcotics should be subject to international rather than merely national control. 1

    This proposal struck a responsive chord in the United States State Department. For many years, Britain had been criticized for shipping opium grown in India into China; indeed, two nineteenth-century “opium wars” between Britain and China had been fought over this issue. Many Chinese saw opium from India as unfair cut-rate competition for their home-grown product. American missionaries in China complained that British opium was ruining the Chinese people; American traders similarly complained that the silver bullion China was trading for British opium could better be traded for other, perhaps American, products.*The agitation against British opium sales to China continued unabated after 1900. Thus the United States State Department saw a way not only to solve the War Department’s Philippine opium problem but also to please American missionaries and traders. President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906, at the request of Bishop Brent, called for an international opium conference, which was held in Shanghai in 1909. A second conference was held at The Hague in 1911, and out of it came the first international opium agreement, The Hague Convention of 1912, aimed primarily at solving the opium problems of the Far East, especially China.

    * Some American traders also sent opium into China on a small scale. 2 Some of New England’s world-renowned “China clippers” were in fact opium clippers.

    It was against this background that the Senate in 1914 considered the Harrison narcotic bill. The chief proponent of the measure was Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan, a man of deep prohibitionist and missionary convictions and sympathies. He urged that the law be promptly passed to fulfill United States obligations under the new international treaty. 3

    The supporters of the Harrison bill said little in the Congressional debates (which lasted several days) about the evils of narcotics addiction in the United States. They talked more about the need to implement The Hague Convention of 1912. Even Senator Mann of Mann Act fame, spokesman for the bill in the Senate, talked about international obligations rather than domestic morality.

    On its face, moreover, the Harrison bill did not appear to be a prohibition law at all. Its official title was “An Act to provide for the registration of, with collectors of internal revenue, and to impose a special tax upon all persons who produce, import, manufacture, compound, deal in, dispense, sell, distribute, or give away opium or coca leaves, their salts, derivatives, or preparations, and for other purposes .” 4 The law specifically provided that manufacturers, importers, pharmacists, and physicians prescribing narcotics should be licensed to do so, at a moderate fee. The patent-medicine manufacturers were exempted even from the licensing and tax provisions, provided that they limited themselves to “preparations and remedies which do not contain more than two grains of opium, or more than one-fourth of a grain of morphine, or more than one-eighth of a grain of heroin . in one avoirdupois ounce.” 5 Far from appearing to be a prohibition law, the Harrison Narcotic Act on its face was merely a law for the orderly marketing of opium, morphine, heroin, end other drugs-in small quantities over the counter, and in larger Quantities on a physician’s prescription. Indeed, the right of a physician to prescribe was spelled out in apparently unambiguous terms: “Nothing contained in this section shall apply . . . to the dispensing or distribution of any of the aforesaid drugs to a patient by a physician, dentist, or veterinary surgeon registered under this Act in the course of his professional practice only.” 6 Registered physicians were required only to keep records of drugs dispensed or prescribed. it is unlikely that a single legislator realized in 1914 that the law Congress was passing would later be decreed a prohibition law.

    The act did NOT ban narcotics. It was public opinion during the 20s that began to disapprove and discourage the use of opium and its derivatives. Cocaine had been in use for local anesthesia since the 1880s and its addiction potential was well known. Procaine was developed and called “Novocaine” to avoid the addiction problem.

    Anyway, I am personally in favor of legalizing marijuana and morphine/heroin but not cocaine. The trouble is we now have an epidemic of “designer drugs” that are synthetic and far more dangerous. The stopper will never be put back in the bottle.

  6. Mike K,

    I see the prohibitionist movement of both alcohol and other drugs as arising from the general tenor of the times that big centralized organization, especially of the government, could fix any problem. The idea was inspired by the success of vertically integrated corporation in raising standards of living and the perceived success of the government managing the WWI total war economy as well as the early public health initiatives following the discover of the germ theory of disease.

    I guess the most charitable thing we can say is that we had to give it a try. After all, if it had worked it would have lifted the burden of addiction from society and greatly benefited the most needful of the population, especially poor children.

    But it didn’t work and now it’s time to try something else.

  7. Shannon, part of the problem is that Pandora’s box is now open wide. What was once an issue of heroin and MJ is now a nightmare world of stuff like “Bath Salts” which are often legal but result in bizarre and dangerous behavior like the guy eating other men’s faces.

    First of all, what are bath salts?

    “The presumption is that most bath salts are MDPV, or methylenedioxypyrovalerone, although newer pyrovalerone derivatives are being made by illegal street chemists. Nobody really knows, because there is no way to test for these substances,” Horowitz says.
    Why are they called bath salts?

    “It’s confusing. Is this what we put in our bathtubs, like Epsom salts? No. But by marketing them as bath salts and labeling them ‘not for human consumption,’ they have been able to avoid them being specifically enumerated as illegal,” Horowitz says.
    What do you experience when you take bath salts?

    “Agitation, paranoia, hallucinations, chest pain, suicidality. It’s a very scary stimulant that is out there. We get high blood pressure and increased pulse, but there’s something more, something different that’s causing these other extreme effects. But right now, there’s no test to pick up this drug. The only way we know if someone has taken them is if they tell you they have.

    The clinical presentation is similar to mephedrone [a chemical found in other designer drugs], with agitation, psychosis, and stimulatory effects. Both of these agents should be of concern, as severe agitated behavior, like an amphetamine overdose, has occurred.

    We used to get amphetamine overdoses and they were weird enough.

    When Heroin was outlawed about 1922, Johns Hopkins OB service had enough heroin to use for labor, where it was the best drug, to last for ten years. It was used there until their supply ran out. Cocaine is too dangerous to legalize as it make people hyperactive and paranoid, a bad combination. But these other designer drugs are out of control and there is no way to control them now.

  8. Foo. People get high because they are going to get high. You can’t stop them doing it with laws — all you can do is create criminal conspiracies to subvert the law and create bad side effects from people taking one thing thinking it’s another, by destroying the reliability of the quality of the drug.

    I had some friends in the mid 80s in Gainesville, Florida, who smoked pot. Gainesville was known for its “high quality” pot, known colloquially as “Gainesville Green”. One summer, 1985, the local PD and DEA decided they were going to shut down the pot trade … and the did so, fairly effectively (I recall seeing a T-shirt that said “I survived the Great Gainesville Pot Famine, Summer, 1985”).

    So, my friends could no longer get pot. Did they stop getting high? NO. Of course not.

    They started doing coke. They’d never really done coke before, but it was now/still readily available and inexpensive compared to pot.

    The LAW is not the solution to this problem.

    Peer pressure has done far more to reduce drug use than any laws ever passed.

    Other than a small set of drugs that have side effects AFTER you’ve taken them and stopped being high (i.e., things like PCP) there is no rational justification for any drugs being illegal in themselves. Acting irresponsibly while on drugs (i.e., driving, etc.) is one thing. Getting high on them itself should not be a matter for Law.

  9. If we’re serious about legalizing drugs, let’s stop all the nonsense about tobacco. Re-open areas to smoking. Lower taxes on tobacco., Stop the propaganda. By the precautionary principle, let use tobacco as a test case: full and total legalization. Legal to smoke anywhere, legal to sell to anyone of age (e.g. 12 and up), etc. After fifty years, if no ill effects of the full legalization can be found, then we can legalize heroin, cocaine, and the lot.

  10. That sounds good. The closest I have gotten to making this stuff is when I put canned poppy filling on cookie dough to make Purim pastries as a child.

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