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
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
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
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
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