Book Review: The Birth of Heroin
and the Demonization of the Dope Fiend
by TH Metzger
Publisher: Loompanics Unlimited
Read this book a while back and really enjoyed it so I thought I'd write up a quick review.
In this book, Metzger talks about the stereotypical heroin addict: "a craven, diseased, desperate minion of Morpheus who wallows in a cesspool of decadence and habitual debasement." Most interestingy, he points out that this was not always so. Heroin (and the socieal archetype of the heroin addict) has a long and colorful history that Metzger lays out for the reader in an interesting and entertaining manner.
Metzger traces heroin from its inceptual roots as opium
, through the discovery of heroin in 1874, to its subsequent and metioric rise in worldwide usage to its becoming illegal and on to it's current status of something akin to a plague. From "God's Own Medicine" (GOM) to a scourge upon the land. He points out artfully how for something to end up in such a state of demonization, it must first be diefied, and he gives several examples of this from history.
The book also talks about the legal and political framework surrounding heroin as it relates is was associated with immigration from Asia (The Yellow Pearl) and The Harrison Tax Act which eventually and forever changed its legal status.
Metzger doesn't advocate heroin use, instead he examines the drug
's history and the misconceptions about it. Informative reading for open minds.
I throroughly enjoyed this book and learned much about this history of this drug and the huge impact it's had on this country and the human race in general over the years.