The Journal of
Cognitive Liberties

This article is from Vol. 2, Issue No. 2 pages 45-58
© 2001 CENTER FOR COGNITIVE LIBERTY AND ETHICS
All rights reserved worldwide.  ISSN: 1527-3946
 

 

 

 

Craving Cocaddiction
or
Craven Cocabhorrence

Jonathan Ott

The past two decades have seen increasing exaggeration of the toxicity of cocaine. An article in a leading Usan medical journal (Wetli & Wright 1979) characterized 68 Floridan fatalities as “Death[s] caused by recreational cocaine use,” when in fact most were heroin-overdose- and trauma-victims—including nine gunshot-deaths, five fatal car-crashes, even one drowning, as the decedent fled from police! Only 24 were “reliably” attributed to cocaine “poisoning,” seven being massively-dosed, ill-starred body-packers, one having gulped his stash at the prospect of imminent arrest! In a lugubrious discursion on cocainic cardiotoxicity, one expert (Max 1991) informed us 120-150 mg of oral-cocaine was insufficient “for a euphoriant effect,” which would have been news to Freud!

Ever avid for sensationalism and lock-step “confirmation” of governmental hogwash, the Usan (drug-) free press lined-up to blow hard in re this latest “killer drug”—readers of a popular science-magazine learned that the withal niggardly lines of cocaine depicted on its cover might make one feel “brilliant, tireless, masterful, invulnerable” but could “also kill you.” In due course they were bludgeoned by “Coke: the random killer” (Maranto 1985), a tendentious mishmash of vapid reporting and half-assed hyperbole, asserting cocaine could cause brain-damage, pursuant to the beliefs of yet another expert, embroidering untested speculations on prior animal-research...with amphetamines!

Alleging that some 22 million Usans had tried cocaine, and allowing deaths in consequence were “still rare” (note the “subtle” propaganda: still), the article went on to describe the “astonishing number of cocaine-related deaths [sic] in which the drug isn’t the direct cause,” such as “common” motor-vehicle accidents, not to sneeze at “the very real possibility” of being murdered! What is astonishing is to find such drivel in a purportedly scientific publication! Even the journal Science—the AAAS dutifully protecting drugabuseologist members’ interests—steadfastly maintains an editorial bias in favor of prohibitionist propaganda.

Many people made light of marijuana as the “killer drug,” only to be gulled by a tedious rerun of the same program in re cocaine. To put this in perspective, 500,000 premature deaths yearly in the U.S. are attributed to tobacco and alcohol (both taxed and regulated, alcohol-sale being a governmental monopoly in some Usan States), accompanied by 30,000+ traffic-fatalities (of course, we now know some of these are indirectly “caused” by cocaine). Notwithstanding such deft shuffling-in of vehicular and stash-swallowing fatalities, drownings and murders, fewer than 5000 Usan deaths have ever been “attributed” annually to all illicit drugs combined (Nadelmann 1989). Although one scheme consigned them to third and fourth rank (Gable 1993), a duo of drugabuseology kingpins (Goldstein &: Kalant 1990) declaimed eruditely that cocaine and amphetamines were the most “addictive” drugs, pushing opiates and “nicotine” (sic, tobacco) to second-rank, alcohol to third, stashing caffeine away in the fifth and last—all the while presenting statistics to the effect that only 3.4 million Usans were regular users of cocaine, as opposed to 1.9 million heroin-users (so far, so good), 64 million tobacco-users, 106 million alcohol-users and no fewer than 178 million caffeine-users!

It would seem their “relative risk of addiction” ought rather be: caffeine > alcohol > tobacco > cocaine > heroin; and that these experts should be sent back to school, there forced to write-out the definition of addiction 5000 times! Withal, their article served eloquently to underscore the political, not scientific, meaning of addiction, drugabuseological “magic bullet” against logic and common sense, and to define it clearly enough. A seminar-discussion on “LSD-addiction” (Abramson 1960) affords an example as entertaining as enlightening, of the shifting sands of addiction definition; likewise Wells (1974) on “marijuana-addiction.”

I have (Ott 1997) deconstructed drugabuseological “Drugspeak” (Dally 1995) at considerable length, and here will only remark that addiction, and particularly the derogatory epithet addict, are pure, uncut, mendacious Drugspeak—suffice to note that the Oxford English Dictionary gives no substantive for the verb addict, and defines addiction by “devotion” and “penchant”; citing as earliest uses “addiction to hearing” (1641) and “proper Industry and Addiction to Books” (1675). Only in 1799 do we learn of “addiction to tobacco.” Should we wish to be perspicuous and speak plainly, unlike drugabuseologists or politicians, we must break our addiction habit. Habituation will suffice, defined simply by frequency and regularity, or a marked devotion or penchant for a given habit, whether it involve any drug or not. Of course, there are many cocaine-habitués, as there are habitués of numerous other drugs, like alcohol, marijuana and tobacco—and habitués of myriad other indulgences and practices.

Some few voices have been raised against this linguistic abuse of drugs (Parascandola 1995; Szasz 1985), while the supposititious “addictive liability” of cocaine (Banbery 1998; Leikin & Paloucek 1995; Schifano 1996) has been justly questioned (Alexander 1990; Erickson & Alexander 1998; Gossop et al. 1994). This notion of “cocaine-addiction” says far more about our drugabuseologists’ craving for funding—hence their dependence on cocaddiction—than about the phenomenon of cocainism or any cocaine-habit, however prodigious. Some few cocaddictionists have dimly descried that “addictive disorders” might bear some relation to helping people—viewed askant, however, from their pharmacopathological angle, as: “self-medication...for mood disorders and behavioral disturbances” (Khantzian 1985). One needs no medical degree to sniff-out the nincompoop-nosology subjacent to duplicitous diagnoses such as “mood disorders” and “behavioral disturbances.” However soft might be their thinking and linguistic focus, addictionists are loath to appear soft on “polysubstance abusers,” and so they blithely ignore the mounting pharmacogenetic evidence (detailed in Ott 1997; specifically on cocaine: Crabbe et al. 1994; Cravehik et al. 1996; Gelernter et al. 1994; Hyyatia & Sinclair 1993; Smith et al. 1992) crucial to understanding tastes for—and habituation to—cocaine and other drugs.

Having diagnosed addiction as a “brain-disease” in their nitwit-nosography, addiction-mongers then speak augustly of its “epidemiology” (millennial habits suddenly waxing epidemic—are medical schools really that bad?—one hopes literary-malpractice hackers proceed not to wax poetic in re such reified metaphors) and their pathetic pathology of pharmacothymia prescribes “pharmacotherapy for drug-addiction.” That’s right, folks, we need drugs to fight drugs!

When not cracking-open new and improved coke-cages, NIDA officials exhort what has rather revealingly been called “the Manhattan Project for chemists” (does this mean their “final solution” for the “drug-problem” will be to “nuke” us dopers?)—the development of “magic bullets for addiction” (Waldrop 1989). I have long since remarked that the only ones of proven efficacy are the .38 caliber variety, injected by police-special revolvers! In the good old days, cocaine was the “magic bullet” against alcoholism, morphinism and that “vicious habit” of nicotinism, but it had one tragic flaw—people liked it. Of course, we know now that cocaine is really more “addictive” than those lightweight pharmacological pathogens, and the freudulent drugabuseologists of yore mostly succeeded in “kindling” alcocainism, morphiococainism and nicocainism. Now that we know better, ‘most any drug which people don’t like, yet will keep them more or less ambulatory (that they may stagger back to the “clinic” for dosing and piss-testing), is trotted-out and touted as a quick-fix for cocainism—generally basking a year at best in the limelight until—sure as death and taxes—some other disgruntled drugabuseologist (who had unaccountably failed to think of it first) shoots it down, instead of up! Table 1 lists some clay-pigeons blown to pieces and presently littering the coke-cure shooting gallery.

Now, one thing stands out from this list—at least some of these coke-cures might potentially work, such as methylphenidate, and perhaps even cocaine itself; of course, these are no good...too many people like them. The same, alas, applies to MDMA, ayahuasca- and ibogaine-cures of the blow-brujos, not to mention to fluoxetine and the opioids buprenorphine, levomethadyl, methadone and morphine.

The attentive reader will have caught that the drugabuseologists have at length stumbled full-circle—from cocaine as a cure for morphinism, to morphine as a cure for cocainism! After all, the former worked for Fleischl-Marxow, the latter for Halsted! Although heroin was a bang-up success in early attempts to treat morphinism, this inexplicably seems not to have been tried for cocainism, and the coke-curers appear to have tripped-up with regard to still another missed opportunity, LSD. Take note, up-and-coming young drugabuseologists! Pursuant to suchlike cockamamie drugabuseologic, ought we not “backfire” the cocainic Tobacco Bullets® of yesteryear—that is, conscript nicotine as Blow-Bullet®? Forsooth, in an experiment which injected the term “nicotine-fix” with new meaning, human subjects thought high intravenous doses of nicotine were either amphetamine or cocaine (Henningfield et al. 1985)! Inasmuch as pergolide was recently reported (Wilcox 1995) to have been intentionally misused...to obtain a “psychedelic experience” by an astute lad who’d “surmised [it] had abuse potential” and so filched some from an elderly relative (he was probably a masturbator, too), perhaps this will have to be dropped from their arsenal; and a preemptive strike might as well blow away the related ergoline, terguride, along with it, to foreclose further such fertile surmises. Bona fide blow-brigadiers would do well to bone-up on dizocilpine. Insofar as this has been shown to attenuate both “dependence” on, and tolerance to, morphine, sure as shooting, some opiophiles will surmise it has “abuse-potential” and then will shoot this magic bullet (Trujillo & Akil 1991). In the same vein, phentolamine enhances the effects of amphetamines (Gunne et al. 1972). Yohimbine might titillate turgescent interest in replacement of “violent sexual arousal” from Freudian cocaine, but NIDA’s coke-cavalry had better boggle before blowing the bugle—once sold as fauxcaine in dope-rags under the rubric of Yocaine® like pemoline and phentermine, it has been used as a coke-cut. While pharmacopedants push speed (methylphenidate or Ritalin®) on their “hyperactive” charges, dismayed drugabuseologists are deputized for damage-control respecting so calamitous a contretemps in their cocainic crusade, and assert ingeniously that this dose of “drug-education” will immunize them against “later problems with drug abuse” (Holden 1999)!

This may not be as far-fetched as it seems: should the pill-popping pupils come to associate stimulants with school, perchance they’ll speedily cultivate a lifelong aversion to them! Fraser (1998b) concluded of this awesome arsenal of magic bullets for “cocaine-addiction”: “no pharmacological agent...has been demonstrated... to be significantly better than placebo.” Of course, given that Puritanical prohibitionists deem only total abstinence “healthy,” nothing could be, and the paramount political placebo is precisely that, nothing. Shooting the lowest success-score of “addiction-therapists,” the booze-bishops, cocktail-cardinals, dipsomania-deacons, gin-gurus, rum-reverends, sauce-swamis and vodka-vicars of the AA Church understandably prefer anonymity (Peele 1998). Seeking to replace one needle-habit with another, sharp addictionists have lately resorted to sticking (acupuncture) needles into “addicts” ears, that they might not stick syringe-needles into their arms (Lipton et al. 1994)!

Needlewise, we would be remiss not to mention the latest wizardry in whizz-bang weaponry for our addiction-army, the so-called “cocaine-vaccine.” No, the Spritzkrieg point-men don’t mean to “vaccinate” “patients” with such heavy doses of cocaine that they’d blow-off ingesting more, but rather to inject monoclonal antibodies engineered to chomp cocaine (Landry et al. 1993; Morell 1993; Self 1995)! Perforce coercive, this pin-headed “voodoo vaccination” ain’t all it’s cracked-up to be—sure to be ruinously expensive and to require at least monthly blow-boosters, by decreasing sensitivity to cocaine, it’ll prick obdurate cocainists to take more and larger doses—but if “nuking” dopers be the alternative... shoot, we’ll take it! As trenchant critic of pharmacracy T. Szasz (1985) remarked prophetically more than a quarter-century ago: “Addiction is no longer like a plague; it is a plague. A drug compulsorily administered to addicts is no longer like a vaccine; it is a vaccine.”

 

Notes


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Jonathan Ott is a natural products chemist, entheobotanist, writer, and member of the Center for Cognitive Liberty & Ethic’s Board of Advisors. This essay is exerpted from his forthcoming book, tentatively titled Just Say Blow. Coca and Cocaine: A Scientific Blowjob, to be jointly published by Entheobotanica, and At Verlag later this year.