Drug trivia

Here is some trivia about drugs that I have found on the web:


The opium poppy was first cultivated in around 3400 BCE in lower Mesopotamia. The Sumerians referred to it as Hul Gil, the ‘joy plant.’ The Sumerians would soon pass along the plant and its euphoric effects to the Assyrians. The art of poppy culling would continue from the Assyrians to the Babylonians who in turn would pass their knowledge onto the Egyptians.


Hassan Ben Sabbah, a boyhood friend of Omar Khayyam, the Arabian poet, gathered a group of warriors and captured the powerful Persian fort of Alamut. To maintain his power, Hassan formed a society of murderers to secretly kill all his enemies. The killers were known as “Fedais,” or Devoted Ones. When one of them was selected for a kill, he was first given hashish and entertained royally with all the most sensual and erotic delights of the Orient. He was told that he had been given a taste of things to come. After all this, the killer was not only willing, but also anxious, to die for his leader after this taste of Paradise. From this ceremony came the name “hashshashin,” meaning “hashish eater,” from which came today’s corruption, “assassin.”


Accurate American history tells us that famous names of the period like Wild Bill Hickock and Kit Carson actually frequented opium dens more often than saloons. The stereotyped picture we have of the cowboy in the bar drinking whiskey straight after a long hard ride on the dusty trail is only part of the story of the old west. Oftentimes times the cowboy was not in a bar at all. He was in a prone position in a dim candle-lit room smoking opium in the company of an oriental prostitute.


Because of its intense euphoric side effects, morphine was named after the Greek god of dreams, Morpheus.


In 1830 Britain solved its ballooning trade deficit with China by flooding it with opium grown in Bengal. This sparked the first opium war. The Chinese were defeated by the British. Along with paying a large indemnity, Hong Kong was ceded to the British.


The first recognized authority and advocate for cocaine was world famous psychologist, Sigmund Freud. Early in his career, Freud broadly promoted cocaine as a safe and useful tonic that could cure depression and sexual impotence.


Cocaine got a further boost in acceptability when in 1886 John Pemberton included cocaine as the main ingredient in his new soft drink, Coca Cola. It was cocaine’s euphoric and energizing effects on the consumer that was mostly responsible for skyrocketing Coca Cola into its place as the most popular soft drink in history. Public pressure forced Coca Cola to remove cocaine in 1903.


Snorting cocaine became popular at the beginning of the century. Cocaine can also be injected intravenously as Sherlock Holmes used to do.


U.S. efforts to contain the spread of Communism in Asia involved forging alliances with tribes and warlords inhabiting the areas of the Golden Triangle, (an expanse covering Laos, Thailand and Burma), thus providing accessibility and protection along the southeast border of China. In order to maintain their relationship with the warlords while continuing to fund the struggle against communism, the U.S. and France supplied the drug warlords and their armies with ammunition, arms and air transport for the production and sale of opium. The result: an explosion in the availability and illegal flow of heroin into the United States and into the hands of drug dealers and addicts.


It is possible to get high by licking a toad. The Cane Toad produces a toxin called bufotenine to ward off predators. When licked, this toxin acts as a hallucinogen.


In 2005 a study of Content Analysis of References to Substance Abuse in Popular Music  was carried out by Brian A. Primack of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. His team analysed Billboard magazine’s 279 most popular songs of that year. The researchers noted every mention of substance use in pop, rock, R&B/hip-hop, country and rap songs and they also looked within each genre to determine motivations for, associations with and consequences of drug, alcohol, and tobacco use. Their results included:


41.6% of songs had a substance use reference of any kind.

33.3% contained explicit substance use references


One or more references to substance use were found in:

3 of 35 pop songs (9%)

9 of 66 rock songs (14%)

11 of 55 R&B/hip-hop songs (20%)

22 of 61 country songs (36%)

48 of 62 rap songs (77%)


2.9% of the 279 songs portrayed tobacco use

23.7% depicted alcohol use

13.6% depicted marijuana use

11.5% depicted other or unspecified substance use

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