Friday, October 16, 2015

Number 1801: Holiday of heroin horror!

This crime comics story is a cautionary tales, preaching to the readers about the dangers of drug addiction. I was never tempted by hard drugs. My addiction is coffee...caffeine. Give me my caffeine or I’ll start bustin’ heads!

Times have changed. Marijuana is legalized in some states, with probably more to come, but heroin is still not a drug anyone should mess with. The history of drug addiction goes back even further than this 1953 tale, when drugs like heroin, morphine, cocaine, were available on druggists’ shelves. They turned many people into addicts before the law stepped in and banned their sale. You can read about it here in this excerpt from the book, They Laughed When I Sat Down, by Frank Rowsome, Jr.: “A spoonful of opium helps the medicine go down”.

Now, man, pass me that pot...of coffee.

From Wanted Comics #51 (1953), drawn by Mort Leav:


Daniel [] said...

[If you don't care to listen to someone on a soapbox, then skip this comment.]

The available sorts of recreational drugs — intoxicants, hallucinogens, &c — have properties that one might believe no one wished them to have. For example, some induce persistent changes to the permeability of the synaptic membranes. In theory, new drugs that have the same effects desired by users, with less in the way of the the effects that most or all users do not want them to have. The pharmaceutical industry does not develop such drugs, however, because they would automatically be illegal or quickly made illegal. Our drugs are as bad as they are because of drug prohibition. The ostensible motivation of these laws is to protect us from drugs, but the real motivation is to punish drug users for a violation of a questionable moral system that is rarely acknowledged to be a moral system. And the reason that the mainstream discourse does not allow an airing of the point that less damaging drugs would be developed were it legal to do so is that such an airing would threaten the entire programme.

I don't advise the use of any drugs. I have never taken so much as a puff (or pinch) of tobacco or of marijuana, and have been a teetotaler all of my adult life.

But, from a moral perspective, I understand that I do not own other people, and that if we combine ourselves into majorities, these majorities can sum-up all their non-ownership of those outside of the majority, and find that democracy has no such claims either. And, from the perspective of economics, I understand what the actual effects of prohibition are; beyond the problem of the best possible developers being removed from the industry, quality control is dreadful, prices spiral upward, contracts between buyers and suppliers move to brutal means of enforcement, organized drug crime becomes a major political force in various nations.

While the word “addiction” is used ridiculously these days, real addicition exists when use induces a condition such that, if a drug is not thereäfter reädministered on a regular basis, there is some sort of meaningful suffering or (in theory) actual damage to the body. Again, no one develops less addictive or non-addictive alternatives because these would be illegal. In any case, what is almost always called “addiction” is change to the synapses. Use of some drugs causes more neurotransmitters to be released, or the uptake of these transmitters to be slowed, or the the reception of these transmitters to be enhanced. The body attempts to correct for this, by moving baseline performance in the opposite direction. Eventually, an addict must take substantial amounts of the drug simply to have his or her synapses perform as well as they used to perform with no drugs.

The physiology here is exactly that of depression. Most of the people whom we call “addicts” are people whose choice have induced what amounts to chronic depression. Well, I live with chronic depression. I didn't bring it on myself, and I certainly didn't induce it with drugs; it's an aspect of my life for other reasons. And, like the overwhelming majority of people who suffer from chronic depression, I'm honest, don't introduce violence into social interactions, don't break into homes or cars, &c. I could surely get some sort of temporary relief by using some of the various drugs out there, but I choose not to do so. Because depression itself does not cause anti-social behavior, and addiction itself does not cause anti-social behavior; addiction itself doesn't even cause drug use. We still have choices. Those addict who use their addiction as excuses for anti-social behavior have some deeper problem than addiction. Addiction had never been the real issue in the commission of crime.

J_D_La_Rue_67 said...

"In September my cousin tried Reefer for the very first time. Now he's doin' Horse. It's June".

This is one fine comic. I like the art, crude but effective, given the subject.
I wonder what Wertham had to say about this one. I mean, it's violent, but also educational. Always thought Wertham was a junkie, anyway.
The theory is that one thing leads to another, and this is often true. Not always, though.

I tried reefer just two times, and it was not that great. It was during my service, when I was short. Matter of fact, last time was the night before my discharge.
I had more problems with alcohol, to be honest.
But drugs ARE interesting. Years ago I worked in a medical library, and I found actual ads for Cocaine in old medical magazines... made me think of Sherlock Holmes. Holmes is a cocaine addict, a man of the 80's ... 1880's OR 1980's... :)
And Heroin... you wonder why this name, and you learn of the Nazis, and Bayer...
And coffee, yes. I'm a caffeine junkie, too.

Ryan Anthony said...

Last week, I broke a longstanding conviction of mine and joined Facebook. One of the first things I did was post a link to this blog. I'm always happy to advertise for you, Pappy. Yesterday, I posted two panels from this crime comic: I posted Page 3 Panel 3 to my own timeline, and I posted Page 1 Panel 4 to a Superman page with the caption, "This guy simply cannot wait for the premiere of SUPERGIRL."

Enjoyable story. Just like those old 30s cheapie flicks like Reefer Madness. I have a DVD set of those things; they're a hoot.

Pappy said...

Ryan, ah, Facebook. Yes, my son set up a Pappy's page for me a few years ago, and then I promptly lost the password and he couldn't remember it so it got abandoned. When I found the password years later I just deleted the whole thing.

I am thankful for you promoting me, Ryan. A few people like you posting links would do much better than a Facebook page devoted to the blog, I think. And it would be less work for me! Yay! Let's hear it for less work!

Pappy said...

Whew, Daniel...that is quite a statement.

Well, since you owned up to your problems with depression, I will too. I remember my first major depressive episode at age 6. No one understood depression at the time, so when I went into a deep depression (which happened approximately once, sometimes twice, a year) I was usually punished for my symptoms. I don't blame anyone; it was the way it was, the ignorance of the times. I got on medicaton in the mid-'90s when my depression was affecting not only my job, but my wife had just about had enough of being married to a guy whose moods swung like a pendulum.

What medication does for me is help me function on a day-to-day basis. I have never been ashamed of my condition, because for me it is no different than having any kind of medical problem for which one would seek help.

Drugs like cocaine and heroin scare me. Jeez, no depression could ever make me turn to drugs like those. All they would do is land me in jail, which as I have mentioned before, is the most horrible thing I think could happen to me. Talk about depressing!

After the U.S. banned OTC sales of cocaine, heroin, etc., doctors were allowed to prescribe them. Then, since we are at our very core a puritanical and punishment-oriented society, Congress passed an act that made it illegal for physicians to feed addictions. Some of that mentality still exists in prescriptions for opioid painkillers nowadays, making doctors wary of prescribing for people who have problems with chronic pain.

This all leads into my belief in the Law of Unintended Consequences. Whenever the law sets up to punish human weaknesses the criminals step in and provide the product. It usually makes the problem worse.

Take it for what it's worth. My 2¢ worth, anyway.

Pappy said...

J D, when I was in the U.S. Army, stationed in Nürnberg, Germany, in '67 and '68 drugs were just being introduced to the soldiers and our officers and non-coms had no idea what was going on. I worked as a clerk in the orderly room. I remember the Mess Sergeant coming in totally zonked, and our First Sergeant sent him to the dispensary for an alcohol test which, of course, turned up negative. I had enough experience to know the smell of marijuana, and had smelled it on the Mess Sergeant when he walked into the orderly room, but the First Sergeant was baffled because no alcohol was found.

My experimentation with any kind of weed was brief. I didn't like the way it made me feel. As I explained to Daniel, I had enough problems without adding to them with illicit substances.

Now, can we drop this subject? I feel like I've said too much about it.

Alicia American said...

I personally promise no1 in my band will use heroin until they R 27 yo! It wuld B unfashionable 2 dye any earlierer then THAT OMG! Gotta think of tha franchi$e!!! xoxoxoxo OMG We luv u Pappy xoxoxoxoxo