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Diane Publishing Books
Narcotic Culture: A History of Drugs in China
Frank Dikotter (au); Lars Laamann (au); Zhou Xun (au)
‘China was turned into a nation of opium addicts by the pernicious forces of imperialist trade.’ This fascinating book systematically questions this assertion, showing that opium had few harmful effects on either health or longevity, that most smokers used it in moderate quantities without any fatal ‘loss of control’, & that it was prepared & appreciated in highly complex rituals with inbiult constraints on excessive use. In a culture of restraint, opium was an ideal social lubricant helpful in maintaining decorum & composure. It was also a medical panacea before the availability of aspirin & penicillin. If opium was medicine as much as recreation, this book provides abundant evidence that the transition from a tolerated opium culture to a system of prohibition produced a cure which was far worse than the disease. Heroin & morphine were snorted, smoked, chewed or injected in the wake of the anti-opium movement, often in conditions far more harmful than opium smoking. The book also discusses China’s other drugs, such as cocaine, nicotine, cannabis & synthetic opiates. Illus.
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