(Editor’s Note) In this chapter we get to the crux of the matter regarding the impact of Opium on people’s health and longevity – Dr. Calkins finally says it straight out:
“Facts and opinions thus apparently conflicting in the exterior view are sufficiently reconcilable if various qualifying considerations be allowed due force. Prominent among these are purity in the article and moderation in the use.”
“As observes the Rev. Mr. Doolittle, “The favored classes, being possessed of abundant means, can always procure supplies of the purest quality, whereas artisans and others are necessarily limited to the inferior sorts.”
From that observation it is only a very short leap to acknowledging that if a person grows their own Opium poppies and harvests the tears of the poppy themselves, and smokes only these crystallized drops of the sun and moon in moderation, then all of the benefits and none of the harm that has been attributed to Opium addiction will fall upon that person.
Similarly, if in our society an ethical grower were able to produce pure, natural Opium for a collective of friends or local clients, and if that Opium were to pass into the hands of the smokers unadulterated by passing through a commercial chain of manipulation, adulteration, greed and deception, then entire communities could enjoy the benefits of the Opium poppy without any of the degradation and pain created entirely by capitalist exploitation. The Opioid Crisis is a crisis of Predatory Capitalism, not of Opium.
(If it matters, I make the same distinction between Capitalism and Predatory Capitalism that I do between hunting animals for food and slaughtering animals for perverted erotic pleasure.
The same principles apply to Cannabis, to Tobacco, to Coca Leaf, and to other spirit plants not as familiar in America. If any of these natural miracles are grown personally, or locally, and if they are either free or priced reasonably according to the labor and capital required to grow them, or if they are bartered for directly with the grower, then there will be no harm, no crime, no suffering, and no degradation of the human body or spirit. It is the predatory commercial chain that has been developed around each of these pure, natural plants that is the cause of unbearable pain on a global scale – not the plants themselves. The plants are sacred gifts of Mother Earth and the Great Spirit. The pain and suffering are entirely man-made.
(From: “Opium And the Opium Appetite”
by Alonzo Calkins, MD (1870)
Chapter X: Longevity And Personal Deterioration
“Abstulit clarum cita mors Achillem;
Longa Tithonurri minuit sehectus.” – Horace.