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Publishing Hypocrisy

When I wrote my first book, Heroin User's Handbook, the concern of everyone was that the book romanticized heroin and Little Book of Opium that it was too "positive". I thus took great care with that book and with Little Book of Heroin, to make them highly objective.

So when I was contracted to write Little Book of Opium, I was just as careful. The resulting book (which is co-written by The Helper was great, as far as I was concerned. It was a highly objective book with a lot of information that just isn't available in an accessible form.

But my publisher was not pleased.

I was told that the book was boring. It needed to have more of the romance of opium. Descriptions of opium dreams, more sex, and more recipes and other "how to" material. In other words, I was told the opposite of what I was told for the heroin books.

This is indicative of the hypocrisy that our culture has regarding opium and heroin. Opium may have a bad reputation, but it is nothing compared to heroin. Opium is drank or smoked. In the public consciousness, heroin is always injected. Heroin is simply a far more dangerous drug than opium.

But the science of the two drugs is clear. The effect of opium is dominated by its morphine content--almost to the exclusion of every other compound found in it. Heroin, on the other hand, is a pro-drug. It--like codeine--has an effect only when it is broken down into morphine.

I must admit, however, that it is fun to be set free of the ridged confines of the heroin books. The opium book will certainly not be a pro-drug book; it will be objective drug information. In fact, the information about the romance of opium will probably make it more objective.

by Dr. H © 2002


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