Its “cultivation goes back as far as 6,000 years, probably farther. Homer called it a “wondrous substance.” Those who consumed it, he marveled, ‘did not shed a tear all day long, even if their mother or father had died, even if a brother or beloved son was killed before their own eyes.’ For millennia, it has salved pain, suspended grief, and seduced humans with its intimations of the divine. It was a medicine before there was such a thing as medicine. Every attempt to banish it, destroy it, or prohibit it has failed.
It is, of course, the poppy, and its power is greater than ever. “Opium, heroin, morphine, and a universe of synthetic opioids, including the superpowerful painkiller fentanyl, are its proliferating offspring,” and “the molecules derived from it have effectively conquered contemporary America.”
This we know. Too well. In fact, we look at the sky high numbers of addicts and overdoses and “become almost numb” to them all. But look a little further and deeper and you’ll see this isn’t the first time America has fallen prey to an opioid epidemic -- it’s just the worst time.
For indisputable proof please read Andrew Sullivan’s riveting in-depth New York Magazine analysis, The Poison We Pick. There you’ll not only find the data, but you’ll find its precedence, and realize why if this scourge is to be eradicated, we’ve got to go beyond the numbers. And we’ve got to stop treating substance abusers as if they were less than human.
After all, would you stop reading the poems of Byron, Shelley and Keats if you found out they may have abused opium? Of course not. No more than you’d stop listening to The Beatles once you learned they took LSD.
Sullivan cites these and other “Romantic luminaries” (and their parallels to The Fab Four) for their capacity to describe what taking opioids feels like -- physically, mentally, emotionally and existentially. He also goes into opioids’ past, especially as it pertains to America’s history, and shows how “this love affair [with opioids] has been with us from the start.”
“The drug was ubiquitous among both the British and American forces in the War of Independence... Thomas Jefferson planted poppies at Monticello... Benjamin Franklin was reputed to be an addict in later life, as many were at the time… [and] during the Civil War many states cultivated poppies in order to treat not only the excruciating pain of horrific injuries but endemic dysentery. Subsequently, vast numbers of veterans came down with the condition known as ‘Soldier’s Disease.’”
Yes, opioids are an integral part of our history, but we at Recovery Boot Camp addicition treatment center, Healing Properties sober living facility and our affiliated Schnellenberger Family Foundation are committed to eliminating them from our future. It’s also why we wholeheartedly recommend -- and applaud -- Andrew Sullivan’s no-holds-barred expose, for here (and there) you’ll learn as much about the why behind addiction, as you’ll learn why the addict should no longer ever be stigmatized.