Pure, Natural Coca Leaf – A Healing Gift Of The Divine Plant

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Do You Want To Make Little Cigars Illegal In Your Community?

I’ll skip the long, long back story and get right to the point. If you’ve been looking for a way that individuals and small groups of people acting on their own initiative can control dangerous tobacco products at the local level, this is it. Here’s wishing you a successful 2019.

I recently had a number of off-the-shelf tobacco brands tested for pesticide residues. This was the first time this has been done in the US, in spite of the massive amounts of tax and private money spent every year on so-called “tobacco control and prevention”.

In this post I’m including hard evidence showing the concentration of illegal, totally banned DDT I found on the most popular brand of sweet & fruity little cigars, Swisher Sweets – the top choice among low-income, Black and Hispanic teens. They are also arguably the most toxic piece of shit in the whole pile of toxic shit that this rat pack of corporate criminals sells to kids. Don’t get me wrong – I found extreme pesticide contamination on many of the brands I tested – it’s just that the little cigars stood way out at the top of the contamination chart.

Don’t just take my word for the toxicity of little cigars – the University of North Carolina conducted an extensive study in 2016 comparing the toxicity of little cigar smoke, including swisher Sweets, compared with cigarette smoke. This study was also the first of its kind, just like my pesticide residue study. The North Carolina researchers found detailed hard evidence that little cigars are extremely toxic and are particularly dangerous to young, Black, and Latino smokers compared with cigarettes. (This study, combined with the hard evidence I’m sharing in this post, will blow your mind if you care about mass poisoning of innocent children.)

The one area that this North Carolina study missed was the key role that pesticide residues play in tobacco product toxicity. Like every other scientific and medical study before them, these researchers totally failed to account for pesticide contamination in the tobacco products they tested, and so they were understandably puzzled by the extreme levels of toxicity they found.

However, once you factor in pesticide contamination, the whole picture emerges clearly. The North Carolina data makes sense. It’s the differences in the pesticide burdens of different types of tobacco products that account for the differences in toxicity among types of tobacco products. That’s why it’s so important for local communities to understand the nature of this hidden threat to their children.

I found actionable levels of many different pesticide residues in all the tobacco products I just tested, including several cigarette brands popular with kids. But the overall pesticide contamination of Tobacco products, which regulators manage to ignore, isn’t the key point here. The key point for tobacco product control at the local level is that these little cigar/DDT results are not only grim news for smokers but flat out violate the law.

It is illegal to sell any product contaminated with this level of DDT anywhere in the US. and much of the world. Only soil or water-residual DDT is allowed in any food, beverage, cosmetic or other consumer product, and there is no way that the level I found could occur as a residual from soil or water – it was sprayed on the tobacco used to make this product, and it was sprayed recently. (See commentary below the data.)

The DDT concentration shown below is 700+ times the highest level found anywhere in the entire US food chain from lingering soil or water contamination, and I will guarantee that a sampling of 100 such products will yield similarly shocking results. 

So here’s my suggestion. Take this data on your phone to your health department. Show them the DDT levels. Tell them that the same little cigar products are being sold at the mini-mart. (They are.) 

And then ask them what the law says they have to do. Tell them that the investigator behind this data will send them the full, certified lab report naming the specific little cigar brand. I almost guarantee that they will try to wiggle out of it – “we don’t regulate tobacco products”, or “we don’t regulate pesticides in tobacco products” or, their favorite excuse – “well, tobacco is so bad anyway that we don’t care about a few pesticides”.

But here’s the beauty of the hard evidence I’m offering. It doesn’t matter if your local health officials think they can regulate tobacco products specifically or not. It doesn’t matter if they think have the authority to regulate tobacco products or not. Unless they are somehow forbidden to investigate and take action in cases of toxic substance contamination in consumer products being sold to children in your county, they do have the authority to act. You may have to make them act by going to the School Board, the District Attorney, and your local media, but they do have the authority to act locally and independently on high-level DDT contamination of anything in your community – period.

These contaminated tobacco products are illegal not because they are tobacco products; they are illegal because they are consumer products contaminated with hazardous concentrations of extremely hazardous, totally banned pesticide chemicals that will be emitted when they are used as intended by the manufacturer.

If you enjoy a sweet irony, I can guarantee that when all the testing is done, most of the premium cigars that the 1% love just because they are so damned expensive will turn out to be the most highly contaminated of all. Although some premium cigar tobacco growers still use traditional methods, and grow tobacco without industrial chemicals, I’m quite certain that most premium cigars will prove to be far more contaminated than the cheap little cigars the busboys out behind that five-star restaurant have to smoke. 

                   Pesticide Residue Test Sample #1                                  Multnomah County, Oregon                       Received 12/13/2018

Oregon Cannabis Pesticide Residue Action Levels (PPM)



na = not a listed or regulated pesticide

Exceeds ORS Action Levels √

Unregistered Tobacco EPA/Oregon √√

Banned/Zero Tolerance √√√

Swisher Sweets


0.146 mg/kg



0.198 mg/kg


Carbendazim √√√

0.843 mg/kg

Carcinogen: WHO


0.443 mg/kg


DDT, p,p-  √√√

0.816 mg/kg**

0.0 – banned

Dimethomorph √√

0.0380 mg/kg


Fenamidone √√

0.0370 mg/kg



0.169 mg/kg


Indoxacarb √√

0.0790 mg/kg


Mandipropamid √√

0.0770 mg/kg


Pendimethalin √√

0.0910 mg/kg


Propamocarb √√

0.0910 mg/kg


Pyraclostrobin √√

0.0210 mg/kg

















** Relevant to risk assessment for these “Little Cigars”; the highest levels of DDT p, p- in all foods tested by FDA in their comprehensive “Total Diet Reports” for 2017, were for catfish filets and for frozen potato fries. The 2.17 ng/g potatoes and 2.3 ng/g levels expressed in the FDA “Total Diet Study” are the equivalents of 0.00217 mg/kg for potatoes and 0.0023 mg/kg for catfish. compared with 0.816 mg/kg in the single little cigar sample tested. Based on my knowledge of tobacco industry practices, additional testing will show serious levels of OCP and other classes of pesticide contamination particularly on tobacco products in the “discount” and low-price market segments and, as we will see, in the premium cigar market segment as well.

I know for certain that as we test other tobacco products, especially the cheap ones, we’ll find stuff that makes DDT look like a hint of mint. However, this data is right now, and approximately 800,000 children between 11-15 are smoking this particular brand of little cigar every day and inhaling every one of the pesticides listed.

But even if the only contaminant were the 0.816 mg/kg (or 816 mcg/kg) DDT ….

Average adult intakes of DDT were estimated to be 62 µg/person/day (1000 micrograms = 1 milligram) in 1965 and 240 µg/person/day in 1970, before the DDT ban was instituted. The FDA Total Diet Studies show that the daily intakes have fallen since the ban, with daily intakes (for a 16-year-old, 70 kg male) averaging 6.51, 2.38, 1.49, and 0.97 µg/person/day for 1978–1979, 1979–1980, 1984–1986, and 1986–1991, respectively.

“Based on all of the evidence available, the Department of Health and Human Services has determined that DDT is reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen. Similarly, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has determined that DDT is possibly carcinogenic to humans. EPA has determined that DDT, DDE, and DDD are probable human carcinogens.”

Here is a first-class study of the toxicity of cigarette smoke compared to little cigar smoke. It’s clear from this data and analysis that little cigars, including Swisher Sweets which were one of the brands tested, are far more toxic than cigarettes. Interestingly, the researchers were puzzled about where those huge differences in toxicity came from. ‘

It was at least partly from the hidden and unaccounted-for pesticides, which were overlooked in this study as they have been overlooked in virtually every American scientific and medical study of “tobacco” smoke. Little cigars are far more contaminated with far more toxic “crop protection agents” than cigarettes because of differences in how the tobacco is raised, and in how much highly contaminated tobacco manufacturing waste is used in making the product.

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A Community-Level Tobacco Control Strategy

We laugh at the silly idea of Cannabis as a “killer weed” now, but millions believed it and happily allowed the government to send generations of people to prison because they believed it. It seems absurd that anyone would be fooled by that ham-handed government propaganda, but millions were and many still are.

Keeping mind that what has happened in the past could happen again, and could be happening right now, let me ask you to consider this:

What if there is a much more subtle and sophisticated generations-long campaign of disinformation about Tobacco just like there was about Cannabis? What if it’s run by a powerful industry with endless money and not by a bunch of clueless bureaucrats thinking up stupid slogans.  What if the Tobacco industry has known for a long time that it has a severe, possibly fatal problem that it has managed to keep completely out of public view by spending vast sums of money on a combination of public persuasion and widespread, carefully targeted (but increasingly visible) official, scientific and medical corruption?

What if some or even most of the damage being caused in the modern world by commercial Tobacco products is not being caused by the Tobacco in those products but by previously unidentified hazardous toxic substances IN the tobacco products, and what if that means that these products can be controlled at the local level using existing local and state ordinances and laws?

I know that’s it’s a heresy, but fair-minded people will consider the actual evidence and not rest on an unquestioned assumption: maybe it’s not the tobacco in the tobacco products that’s killing most of the people.

The very foundation of the anti-tobacco, anti-smoking faith is that “Tobacco Is Bad Shit”. That’s the firm, unquestioning belief, and every tobacco prevention and control effort in the world is pinned to that article of faith. Tobacco causes illness and death. End of discussion. No questions. Full stop. We already know that Tobacco is bad shit, and we don’t want to hear any more about it. So let’s just move on and figure out how we can keep people from smoking and now vaping the goddamned stuff!

OK, but what if everybody is wrong? Really – what if everyone thinks things are one way, when they are actually another? Is that possible? What if people are all looking in one direction while the answer lies in another? Has there ever been that kind of mass delusion in history? Of course there has been – that’s a central theme in the history of science. People believe something fundamental for generations. It’s obviously wrong, but nobody can see it.  The first one who points this out is attacked. Others speak up and say wait a minute, we should check this out and see if it’s true. They do, and it is. And then everybody says “Whocoulddaknowed?”

The oldest example of “everybody knows” is the flat earth delusion that ruled western minds for centuries. Maps showed the edges of the earth. Then one day – Oops! It’s round. Whocoulddaknowed? Then next the all-powerful church decided to burn heretics who pointed out simple, hard evidence that the world rotated rather than the heavens turning.everyone knew that the earth was the center of the universe and that everything in God’s heavens rotated around God’s earth. Then one day – Oops! Whocoulddaknowed? It took the church centuries to apologize to Galileo.  Then everyone laughed at the idea of invisible bugs causing disease because everyone knows it’s the vapors. Oops! again. Really, Whocoulddaknowed? Little invisible bugs. Well I’ll be damned.

Most of us scoff at that kind of profound ignorance as if we were invulnerable to the same folly. But I’m telling anyone who will listen – it’s not the tobacco that is sickening and killing millions.

I realize that tying those profound historical delusions to a delusion about Tobacco, even if it could be demonstrated, may seem trivial in comparison, but if anything the effect of the delusion about Tobacco has had greater impact than any of those mass delusions just cited. That’s because of our profound collective delusions about tobacco, carefully cultivated by the tobacco industry to shield itself from accountability, have allowed millions of completely preventable deaths in the past and the dying will continue long into the future because of our willful collective ignorance.

The last words attributed to Jesus were “Father forgive them. They know not what they do.” I have always believed that Jesus was using those last words not to comment for all eternity on those who were killing him, but on the one thing most responsible for the suffering and death of mankind.

So, I’ll ask again, what if most of the damage being caused by Tobacco products is actually being caused by pesticide residues that contaminate the Tobacco products? The tobacco products, the manufactured crap, not tobacco itself.

Here’s the thing. We know for sure that pesticide chemicals do exactly what they’re designed to do. They interrupt nerve transmissions, they destroy DNA, they poison internal organs, they mutate little bug babies – the scientists are endlessly creative. So in the end, it really doesn’t matter whether tobacco is bad or not – we know that pesticides are “bad” for sure. They are “xenobiotics” – substances “hostile to life”. But so many people are so tied up arguing the evils of Tobacco so passionately and hatefully that they don’t see themselves as precise  parallels with the Middle Ages “angels on the head of a pin” debate that consumed generations of “wise men”, while the Tobacco companies are snickering all the way to the bank.

There are laws in place in every community to deal with pesticides as toxic substances, although those laws have been rigged by the pesticide manufacturers to cover what they thought was every contingency.

That’s the beauty of understanding that there are xenobiotic substances ON the tobacco products. It doesn’t matter what you think about tobacco itself, or even what laws and ordinances and regulations say about “tobacco” itself. Hate it or love it – doesn’t matter. These are products, and they are toxic, and they violate all kinds of laws on that basis. If you love Tobacco, you should care. If you hate Tobacco, you should care. Pesticide-free tobacco products would be a major improvement in the life of a community regardless.

So there really doesn’t have to be any argument at all about whether or not tobacco is bad and should be controlled – some of the pesticides on the tobacco products being sold in your community are flat illegal and there are available legal remedies that the law says MUST be applied. Take that to the bank – and to your health department. and don’t let them stonewall you about “lack of authority” – they have it. They have never used it before, and they probably haven’t ever thought about it, but if a toxic substance suddenly falls from the sky into the WalMart parking lot you can bet they won’t be sitting around wondering who is going to handle it. If somebody lets loose a can of DDT in a school you can bet that the local authorities aren’t going to call the state police and then wait. Communities can act when they are in immediate peril, and high concentrations of banned pesticide residues in tobacco products being smoked by children in the community meets that definition in spades.

Pesticides fall into a class of chemicals defined as “toxic substances” in a wide range of environmental and consumer protection regulations and statutes. In every state, there are statutes that empower local, county-level health officials to act when toxic substances threaten local public health. Yes there are pre-emption laws that forbid local communities from imposing greater restrictions on pesticides than state laws do, but in this case we’re talking about local communities using existing state laws on toxic substances in consumer products that, if detected at the any level, can trigger local action by public health authorities without waiting for permission from the state. This strategy may need tweaking in many communities, but because state and federal lawmakers have been incredibly (and perhaps in some cases deliberately) sloppy in writing tobacco product regulations I believe that tobacco product pesticide contamination opens a big wide door for local control.

In Oregon where I live, the credible allegation of the presence of banned “toxic substances” on any property located in the community is supposed to trigger mandatory regulatory responses if the allegation is properly made and supported by evidence. “Property” includes tobacco products sitting on the shelf down at the mini-mart. I’m currently working on educating our local public health administrator on her authority to act in this area.

In most jurisdictions I’ve looked at in California, Colorado, and other Cannabis-legal states, a broad range of “Property” is subject to “toxic substance” regulatory oversight by County public health authorities. 

I can hear the screams from the faithful now – but, but Tobacco is so bad that it doesn’t matter if there’s poison on the leaves! I would only ask the faithful – can you point to one scientific research study that compares the smoke or vapor of 100% pure, organic Tobacco with any Tobacco product on the market? There are none. Zero. And, that’s not one of those famous “distinctions without a difference”. Please think about that – if actual, real Tobacco smoke or vapor has never been tested, and if every report of toxic substances in “tobacco” smoke has been based on rigged “reference cigarettes” supplied by the industry itself, where does that leave the idea that, without any question, Tobacco is horrible, awful, dangerous stuff? It may be true, but there are no studies that prove it one way or another.

Since 1970 virtually every “scientific” study of tobacco products has used industry-supplied “reference cigarettes” that don’t give results relevant to either what is really on the commercial market or to organic or even simply leaf tobacco. At least 25% of those “reference cigarettes” are “reconstituted tobacco”, a synthetic product made from a highly variable mix of tobacco stems, stalks and factory-floor waste called “tobacco dust”. There is no way that the results of smoke stream or vapor stream analysis using “reference cigarettes” has anything to do with tobacco in pure form. I know that anti-tobacco advocates would fear that the results of such testing might clear Tobacco’s name and give people who like to smoke and vape a license to do so. But so what?

I would say to them, if it turns out that it isn’t the Tobacco but the pesticides, since the pesticides are a very controllable harm while people smoking and vaping are not controllable, then forget about your dislike of Tobacco and deal with the problem. Or , I would also ask them, do you secretly agree with that renegade government bureaucrat in the 1920’s who arranged to have bootleg whiskey poisoned with methanol in order to scare people into not drinking? Do you think, I would ask, that this was actually a pretty good idea and those drinkers deserved what they got? Or maybe you aren’t that cold-hearted and simply think that alcohol is so bad anyway, and those drinkers were poisoning themselves anyway, so what’s the big deal?

I would ask them these questions because any person who felt so strongly about alcohol that they would ignore the deliberate poisoning of drinkers by the government wouldn’t be worried about a few pesticides in Tobacco products. By the same reasoning, Tobacco is so bad anyway – who cares about pesticides? 

Think that an example from the 1920’s, a hundred years ago, is a bit irrelevant to today’s enlightened government? Well, remember Paraquat on Marijuana? The DEA came right out and said that regardless of what it did to Marijuana smokers, they were engaged in illegal activity and so it didn’t matter. Besides, from the government’s point of view, a few dead hippies weren’t worth getting worked up over. The idea that was sold to the public is clearly that Marijuana is so bad anyway who cares if the government poisons it – after all, they’re just trying to keep precious little American children from being lured into a life of degradation and crime. 

Workers apply fungicide “Ditio carbamato” to cigar tobacco in Nicaragua every 4 days

So what I’m saying is that the only fair and reasonable way to determine the truth, the relative degree of actual risk, would be to compare (1) commercial tobacco products with (2) organic tobacco smoke and vapor. Otherwise all that science on smoking, and all those horrible components of “tobacco” smoke and vapor, aren’t actually testing “tobacco” smoke or vapor at all. They are testing “Tobacco product” vapor and smoke, and most Tobacco products in America have no relationship to real Tobacco leaf. Again, a distinction with a big difference.

One more heretical question, if you’re with me so far. What if those toxic substances are in Tobacco products for one reason only – because it is more profitable for Tobacco product manufacturers to use these chemicals in Tobacco production than to produce Tobacco without them? Almost as an aside, premium cigars are among the most severely contaminated Tobacco products in the world, because the growers spare no expense in applying pesticides, fungicides and every other kind of chemical to keep bugs and worms 

from eating holes in those incredibly valuable cigar wrapper leaves. And why do they do that? Simple, again. It’s the money. A Tobacco leaf with bug holes can be used for making premium cigars, so once a bug takes a bite that leaf turns from gold into plain old shit. 

Tobacco products aren’t contaminated with pesticide residues because the growers and manufacturers want to poison their customers; they’re contaminated because everybody makes more money by using these chemicals and they aren’t being forced to clean up their products, so millions of people are dying just like the bugs and worms in the Tobacco fields. It’s really that simple.


The Tobacco industry has produced organic Tobacco products, with no pesticide residue contamination. It knows how. It simply chooses not to. That cost/benefit decision alone impoverishes and drives the loss of millions of lives every year with immeasurable suffering and grief.

Pretty damned grim, right? Well, maybe not.  

All it took to bring down Al Capone was one little charge of income tax evasion, and he wasn’t nearly the magnitude of monster these Tobacco companies are. Al thought he was riding pretty high too. Fancy suits. Expensive wine. Hookers. Blow. The best of everything. But he overlooked that one little crime, and that was enough. 

Who in your County public health structure has the regulatory authority to order inspection of commercial products that are credibly suspected of being contaminated with the residues of banned pesticides? 

Insist that they forget you are talking about Tobacco products.

Ask them what their action would be if you were coming to them with evidence that imported scented candles, or air fresheners, or incense being sold in your community were contaminated with these same pesticides at these same levels?

Geiss, O., Kotzias, D. – Determination of Ammonium, Urea and Pesticide Residues in Cigarette Tobacco. Fresenius Environmental Bulletin (FEB), No. 12 (2003), 1562– 1565

What would they do if they knew that children in the community were going to be inhaling vapors of Endosulfan, 4,4-DDE and Heptachlor over 100 times a day in homes where adults burned these candles?

How about if the issue was air fresheners contaminated with those same nerve toxins? Or maybe incense from China or India full of Chlordane?

What would they do if Tobacco products at the local mini-mart had the same contaminants as the cigarettes on the list you see here.

Oh, and about this cigarette pesticide data being from 2003? See my recent blog post with the Tobacco industry’s own data that shows these same pesticides – and about 100 more – still present on Tobacco worldwide in 2018. Show that data to your county public health department too.

If these two little bits of “income tax evasion” evidence aren’t enough to give your County public health officer “reasonable cause” to order inspection of commercial Tobacco products being sold in your County, let me know.

I’m doing some Tobacco product testing right now (12/18) in three of Oregon’s premier testing labs, and I plan to make the results available as part of a community-level Tobacco product control program.

Local communities have deferred too long to State and federal bureaucrats to protect them from Tobacco products. Simple residue testing of commercial tobacco products being sold in your community will give you ample evidence to insist that your local public health officials use their existing authority to enforce toxic substances regulations against contaminated Tobacco products for sale in your community.

If your community doesn’t have existing qualified pesticide residue testing labs, and most don’t, get in touch and ask for no-cost assistance from the Oregon Community Tobacco Control Partnership. 

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Stone Killers

If you want a new way to control the damage that Tobacco products do to your community, then this may interest you.

This post offers credible tobacco industry data showing all of the pesticides that contaminate Tobacco products worldwide. It is published by CORESTA, the tobacco industry’s captive science & research institute. This information alone can empower local initiatives by offering credible evidence that banned toxic substances may be contaminating locally-sold Tobacco products.

If your local health department has regulations that allow it to investigate whether a product being sold in your community is contaminated with banned pesticide residues, then this list will give them probable cause to sample locally-sold Tobacco products and test for the presence of banned pesticide chemicals.

It is important for you to keep in mind, when making such a request, that (1) it doesn’t matter that the products are Tobacco – they are just like pesticide contaminated candles, air fresheners or incense – and (2) these contaminants are present because of negligence by the manufacturer and lack of regulatory oversight by any superior authority, so the local authorities have to act in the interest of public health and safety.

So this is it – the official (but highly confidential) June, 2018 tobacco industry guide to the pesticide chemicals used on tobacco worldwide. It’s an industry list cautioning manufacturers to ‘watch out’ for these chemicals that remain on Tobacco from the fields, which means that it’s a list of what the industry knows is potentially present in any Tobacco product anywhere.

Many of these pesticides are damaging to human health at very low levels of chronic exposure – just like a smoker gets 100-200 times a day, 365 days a year puffing away and inhaling the pesticide residues invisibly contaminating the tobacco in their cigarette. (Except that it isn’t really tobacco, but that’s another post.)

But the really severe public health threat created by pesticides on Tobacco lies in the industry’s attempt to pivot toward vaporizing. Imagine that instead of being at least partially destroyed by combustion and smoking, all those pesticides are now being gently vaporized and delivered full-strength to your lungs as IQOS Tobacco vapor.

While the tobacco industry publishes pesticide standards for its members, it makes clear that nobody actually has to follow this industry guidance. The tobacco companies are safe from accountability because there is no testing of commercial cigarettes in the United States for the presence of any of these chemicals, and what little testing the FDA, EPA and USDA do perform almost seems deliberately designed to shield the tobacco industry from investigation. It’s not as if the FDA doesn’t have the authority to demand that Tobacco companies at least keep the contamination down a little. 

907(a)(1)(B) of Section 907 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act:

(B) ADDITIONAL SPECIAL RULE.—Beginning 2 years after the date of enactment of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, a tobacco product manufacturer shall not use tobacco, including foreign grown tobacco, that contains a pesticide chemical residue that is at a level greater than is specified by any tolerance applicable under Federal law to domestically grown tobacco.

Please keep that language in mind as you browse the list below. Chronic low-dose exposure to any one of the pesticides on this list, just by itself, is enough to cause serious damage to human adults, children and babies. The US government, along with the health authorities of every state, seem collectively uninterested in knowing what dozens of these violent chemicals, all being either burned or heated, smoked or vaporized and then inhaled actively or passively are doing to smokers or vapers, their families and everybody else downwind every day of their lives.

One last thing – notice that there are a lot of banned pesticides on the list. That’s because the Tobacco industry recognizes that large stores of these chemicals still exist and farmers still use them for one simple reason – they  kill bugs. It might also be that these chemicals are still being made in black factories in India and China.

Whether using banned pesticides or not, most small farmers in the Third World can’t even read the labels, if there are any, so all they care about is killing bugs and fungus. Every pound of tobacco that bugs eat and fungus destroys is one less pound the farmer has to sell to feed his family, which doesn’t mean that the kids just go without a snack for a day or two.

So of course hundreds of thousands of small tobacco farmers worldwide are going to use triple-witching stuff like Endrin, Heptachlor, Aldrin, and Dieldrin whenever they can get it or whenever they are told to use it. Because while manufacturing of these incredibly toxic chemicals is banned almost everywhere, ‘black’ factories in China and India are churning out the oldies but goodies by the ton and selling them in countries where 50% of all pesticides are used on just one crop – tobacco.

But of course regulatory authorities in the ‘advanced’ countries like the US don’t test for these banned pesticides in anything anymore, much less in tobacco products like cigarettes, because “nobody uses them anymore and all the old stores have been used up or destroyed long ago”.

Table 1.   Crop Protection Agent (CPA) Guidance Residue Levels (GRL)

This is not a list of recommended CPAs (Crop Protection Agents) for tobacco. That is a matter for official and/or industry bodies in each country.

  • GRLs have not yet been set for all CPAs registered for tobacco. Setting GRLs is an ongoing process based on a list of priorities decided by frequency of use and importance to leaf production.
  • The presence of a compound does not imply endorsement by CORESTA
  • The entries in the list do not replace MRLs (Maximum Residue Levels) set by the authorities. Compliance with MRLs is a legal requirement for countries that have set them for


Residue definition Notes
1 2,4,5-T 0.05 2,4,5-T
2 2,4-D 0.2 2,4-D
3 Acephate 0.1 Acephate
4 Acetamiprid 3 Acetamiprid
5 Acibenzolar-S-methyl 5 Acibenzolar-S-methyl
6 Alachlor 0.1 Alachlor



Aldicarb (S)



sum of Aldicarb, Aldicarb sulfoxide and Aldicarb sulfone, expressed as Aldicarb
8 Aldrin + Dieldrin 0.02 Aldrin + Dieldrin
9 Azinphos-ethyl 0.1 Azinphos-ethyl
10 Azinphos-methyl 0.3 Azinphos-methyl
11 Benalaxyl 2 Benalaxyl
12 Benfluralin 0.06 Benfluralin



Benomyl (a)

sum of Benomyl, Carbendazim, and Thiophanate-methyl expressed as Carbendazim  

see Carbendazim

14 Bifenthrin 3 Bifenthrin
15 Bromophos 0.04 Bromophos
16 Butralin 5 Butralin
17 Camphechlor (S) (Toxaphene) 0.3 Camphechlor (mixture of chlorinated camphenes)
18 Captan 0.7 Captan
19 Carbaryl 0.5 Carbaryl



Carbendazim (a)



sum of Benomyl, Carbendazim, and Thiophanate-methyl expressed as Carbendazim



Carbofuran (S)



sum of Carbofuran and 3- Hydroxycarbofuran expressed as Carbofuran
22 Chinomethionat 0.1 Chinomethionat
23 Chlorantraniliprole 10 Chlorantraniliprole
24 Chlordane (S) 0.1 sum of cis-Chlordane and trans- Chlordane
25 Chlorfenvinphos (S) 0.04 sum of (E)-Chlorfenvinphos and (Z)-Chlorfenvinphos




Residue definition Notes
26 Chlorothalonil 1 Chlorothalonil
27 Chlorpyrifos 0.5 Chlorpyrifos
28 Chlorpyrifos-methyl 0.2 Chlorpyrifos-methyl
29 Chlorthal-dimethyl 0.5 Chlorthal-dimethyl
30 Clomazone 0.2 Clomazone
31 Cyfluthrin (S) 2 Cyfluthrin (sum of all isomers)
32 Cyhalothrin (S) 0.5 Cyhalothrin (sum of all isomers)
33 Cymoxanil 0.1 Cymoxanil
34 Cypermethrin (S) 1 Cypermethrin (sum of all isomers)






sum of o,p’- and p,p’-DDT, o,p’-

and p,p’-DDD (TDE), o,p’- and p,p’-DDE expressed as DDT




Deltamethrin (b)



sum of Deltamethrin and Tralomethrin expressed as Deltamethrin





Demeton-S-methyl (S)




sum of Demeton-S-methyl, Oxydemeton-methyl (Demeton-S- methyl sulfoxide) and Demeton-S- methyl sulfone expressed as Demeton-S-methyl
38 Diazinon 0.1 Diazinon
39 Dicamba 0.2 Dicamba



Dichlorvos (c)



sum of Dichlorvos, Naled and Trichlorfon expressed as Dichlorvos
41 Dicloran 0.1 Dicloran
42 Diflubenzuron 0.1 Diflubenzuron



Dimethoate (d)



sum of Dimethoate and Omethoate expressed as Dimethoate
44 Dimethomorph (S) 2 sum of (E)-Dimethomorph and (Z)-Dimethomorph



Disulfoton (S)



sum of Disulfoton, Disulfoton sulfoxide, and Disulfoton sulfone expressed as Disulfoton

















Dithiocarbamates (as CS2) (e)


















Dithiocarbamates expressed as CS2

In countries where fungal diseases such as blue mould are a persistent problem in the field throughout the growing season, the use of dithio- carbamates (DTC) fungicides may be an essential part of the season-long disease management strategy and in keeping with GAP as a means of ensuring crop quality and economic viability for the producer. Under high disease pressure residues of dithio- carbamates (DTC) fungicides slightly in excess of the specified GRL may be observed.   In countries where there is not a field fungal disease problem the use of fungicides is not necessary, and there should be no residues detected. Consistent with GAP, dithiocarbamates (DTC) fungicides must be used only according to label instructions to combat fungal diseases in the seedbed and in the field.




Residue definition Notes



Endosulfans (S)



sum of alpha- and beta-isomers and Endosulfan-sulphate expressed as Endosulfan
48 Endrin 0.05 Endrin
49 Ethoprophos 0.1 Ethoprophos
50 Famoxadone 5 Famoxadone



Fenamiphos (S)



sum of Fenamiphos, Fenamiphos sulfoxide and Fenamiphos sulfone expressed as Fenamiphos
52 Fenitrothion 0.1 Fenitrothion



Fenthion (S)



sum of Fenthion, Fenthion sulfoxide and Fenthion sulfone expressed as Fenthion
54 Fenvalerate (S) 1 Fenvalerate (sum of all isomers including Esfenvalerate)
55 Fluazifop-butyl (S) 1 Fluazifop-butyl (sum of all isomers)
56 Flumetralin 5 Flumetralin
57 Fluopyram (g) 5 Fluopyram
58 Folpet 0.2 Folpet
59 HCH (a-, b-, d-) 0.05 HCH (a-, b-, d-)
60 HCH (g-) (Lindane) 0.05 HCH (g-) (Lindane)



Heptachlor (S)



sum of Heptachlor and two Heptachlor epoxides (cis- and trans-) expressed as Heptachlor
62 Hexachlorobenzene 0.02 Hexachlorobenzene
63 Imidacloprid 5 Imidacloprid
64 Indoxacarb (S) 15 Sum of S isomer + R isomer



Iprodione (S)



sum of Iprodione and N-3,5- dichlorophenyl-3-isopropyl-2,4- dioxoimidazolyzin-1-carboxamide expressed as Iprodione
66 Malathion 0.5 Malathion











Maleic hydrazide











Maleic hydrazide (free and bounded form)

In some instances, where GAP is implemented and label recom- mendations with regard to application rates and timing are strictly adhered to, residue levels may exceed the current GRL of 80 ppm as a result of extreme weather conditions and the current technology available for application. However, as with all CPAs, all efforts should be made to strictly follow label application rates, and use should be no more than necessary to achieve the desired effect.
68 Metalaxyl (S) 2 sum of all isomers including Metalaxyl-M / Mefenoxam
69 Methamidophos 1 Methamidophos
70 Methidathion 0.1 Methidathion



Methiocarb (S)



sum of Methiocarb, Methiocarb sulfoxide, and Methiocarb sulfone expressed as Methiocarb




Residue definition Notes



Methomyl (f)



sum of Methomyl, Methomyl- oxime, and Thiodicarb expressed as Methomyl
73 Methoxychlor 0.05 Methoxychlor
74 Mevinphos (S) 0.04 Mevinphos (sum E and Z isomers)
75 Mirex 0.08 Mirex
76 Monocrotophos 0.3 Monocrotophos



Naled (c)

sum of Dichlorvos, Naled, and Trichlorfon expressed as Dichlorvos  

see Dichlorvos

78 Nitrofen 0.02 Nitrofen
79 Omethoate (d) sum of Dimethoate and Omethoate expressed as Dimethoate see Dimethoate
80 Oxadixyl 0.1 Oxadixyl
81 Oxamyl 0.5 Oxamyl
82 Parathion (-ethyl) 0.06 Parathion
83 Parathion-methyl 0.1 Parathion-methyl
84 Pebulate 0.5 Pebulate
85 Penconazole 1 Penconazole
86 Pendimethalin 5 Pendimethalin
87 Permethrin (S) 0.5 Permethrin (sum of all isomers)
88 Phorate 0.05 Phorate
89 Phosalone 0.1 Phosalone
90 Phosphamidon (S) 0.05 Phosphamidon (sum of E and Z isomers)
91 Phoxim 0.5 Phoxim
92 Piperonyl butoxide 3 Piperonyl butoxide
93 Pirimicarb 0.5 Pirimicarb
94 Pirimiphos-methyl 0.1 Pirimiphos-methyl
95 Profenofos 0.1 Profenofos
96 Propoxur 0.1 Propoxur
97 Pymetrozine 1 Pymetrozine



Pyrethrins (S)



sum of Pyrethrins 1, Pyrethrins 2,

Cinerins 1, Cinerins 2, Jasmolins 1

and Jasmolins 2

99 Tefluthrin 0.1 Tefluthrin



Terbufos (S)



sum of Terbufos, Terbufos sulfoxide and Terbufos sulfone expressed as Terbufos
101 Thiamethoxam 5 Thiamethoxam



Thiodicarb (f)

sum of Methomyl, Methomyl- oxime, and Thiodicarb expressed as Methomyl  

see Methomyl

103 Thionazin 0.04 Thionazin



Thiophanate-methyl (a)

sum of Benomyl, Carbendazim, and Thiophanate-methyl expressed as Carbendazim  

see Carbendazim




Residue definition Notes



Tralomethrin (b)

sum of Deltamethrin and Tralomethrin expressed as Deltamethrin  

see Deltamethrin




Trichlorfon (c)

sum of Dichlorvos, Naled, and Trichlorfon expressed as Dichlorvos  

see Dichlorvos

107 Trifluralin 0.1 Trifluralin



  • Carbendazim is the degradation product of Benomyl and Thiophanate-methyl. In the case the same sample contains residues of both Carbendazim and/or Benomyl/Thiophanate-methyl, the sum of the residues should not exceed 2
  • Deltamethrin is the degradation product of Tralomethrin. In the case the same sample contains residues of both Deltamethrin and Tralomethrin, the sum of the two residues should not exceed 1
  • Dichlorvos is the degradation product   of  Naled  and     In the case the same sample contains residues of both Dichlorvos and/or Naled/Trichlorfon, the sum of the residues should not exceed 0.1 ppm.
  • Omethoate is the degradation product of Dimethoate. In the case the same sample contains residues of both Dimethoate and Omethoate, the sum of the two residues should not exceed 0.5
  • The Dithiocarbamates Group includes the EBDCs: Mancozeb, Maneb, Metiram, Nabam and Zineb – as well as Amobam, Ferbam, Policarbamate, Propineb, Thiram and
  • Methomyl is the degradation product of Thiodicarb. In the case the same sample contains residues of both Methomyl and Thiodicarb, the sum of the two residues should not exceed 1
  • Fluopyram added to GRL list June

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Toxic Waste In Cigarettes – Are We Angry Yet?

Can you believe that RJR tried to get a tax credit for disposing of tobacco waste by processing it into cigarettes instead of dumping it in the landfill? Check it out – links to the original court case are below.

As this post is written the tobacco fields of Virginia and the Carolinas are flooded and destroyed. There are millions of pounds of waterlogged tobacco lying in mud mixed with sewage and dead pigs,the whole mess waiting to be plowed under or hauled away.

Or not. It turns out that cigarette giant RJR has a series of secret processes for making all kinds of tobacco waste into cigarettes. The tobacco farmers may be 100% wiped out, but I’ll bet RJR already has crews out there gathering up those dead stalks while they’re firing up the equipment to run that crap through their secret “G-Series” processes. More on that shortly.

But … if a few months from now that second-hand cigarette smoke drifting around on the streets suddenly starts smelling faintly like rancid pigshit with maybe a hint of faux mint you’ll know why.

Here’s the background on the secret G-Series processes that RJR doesn’t voluntarily reveal to anyone. 

To Set The Scene

Picture a North Carolina courtroom in 1998. The great, all-powerful RJ Reynolds has just filed an appeal against a ruling by the North Carolina Department of Environment & Natural Resources. And lost.

The ruling says sorry, RJR can’t classify the tobacco stems, scraps, dust and trash that it uses to manufacture its cigarette products as solid waste.

Now, doesn’t that bring up the question – why would RJR want to classify its manufacturing materials as solid waste?

It sounds like a sneaky little tax loophole but hey, if RJR wants to get a tax credit for disposing of their waste in an environmentally sound fashion, what’s the problem?

The problem is that RJ Reynolds claims it is “disposing of” this waste by manufacturing it into cigarettes, and says that qualifies it for tax breaks because the waste isn’t going into landfills.  It’s being bought and smoked by their customers.

There are some really clever folks down North Carolina way.

Can’t you just see those no-neck monsters with cheap haircuts sitting around the table gloating, all fashionably attired in blue dress shirts with white collars. “Get this – we already know how to take all that trash that doesn’t cost us a dime and get a bunch of dumb fucks to pay us big bucks to smoke it, and now our lawyers are saying we’re gonna get ourselves a big tax break for making them smoke that shit and not tossing it into the landfill. Pretty damn sweet!”

The Secret G-Series Processes

What made the RJR boys giggle is that their research scientists have been really successful over decades of work in coming up with a whole series of ways to use worthless tobacco trash and waste to make cigarettes. These processes, code-named the “G Series” were a major set of developments for RJR. They form the base of a major part of their wealth, allowing them to manufacture synthetic smoking materials out of tobacco trash and recycled waste and supply it to the entire US cigarette industry. (The Europeans won’t touch this shit.)

Here’s a quick look at some of the code-named RJR projects to develop processes for turning trash into cigarettes.

The RJR G-Series Codes

Internal Identification Codes for G-Processed Tobaccos follow this pattern:

G__-nnL = base for item id.

G = is a number for the process

Nn i= a number for a specific version

L = a letter for a modification

The G-Code Family

G7, G16, and G17 series codes refer to reconstituted tobacco processes while G13, G14 and G18 refer to expanded tobacco processes. G15 series refers to pectin release cast sheets.

G-Code Examples:

G7-A Ammoniated tobacco sheet developed in response to Marlboro (RJR, 1991b).

G7AE Ammonia applied to the G7 extract prior to making the reconstituted sheet (Gignac et al, 1988).

G7-10B 1.2% DAP Treated G7-1 Sheet

G7-DAP Evaluate DAP for improving the taste of G7A (RJR, 1989b).

G13-23 Freon Expanded Cut Filler

G14-1 Expanded Cut Roll Stems

G15-2 Pectin release Cast Sheet (100% Dust Recipe)

G16-2 Lowest Nicotine Tobacco Sheet

G17-1 Reconstituted Tobacco Strands (RTS)

G18-1 Propane Expanded Process (PEP)

To access the full Tobacco company manufacturing code base go to:

RJR’s “Toxic Waste Into Cigarettes” Court Case – The Smoking Gun

The “Toxic Waste Into Cigarettes” case number is no. COA01-74 in the North Carolina Court of Appeals filed: 19 February 2002. The full text of the case and the court’s ruling is available at

The basic idea is that since RJ Reynolds is disposing of millions of pounds of waste every year by making it into cigarettes and selling them to American smokers rather than dumping all that waste in a landfill, the company therefore deserves a tax break for being good environmental stewards. The testimony of RJR and others recorded in this lawsuit reveals information about how RJ Reynolds manufactures its products that ought to give any cigarette smoker, and any regulator, and any jury, cause to realize the extent of the knowingly deceptive and harmful practices of this cigarette giant.

The only reason all this doesn’t set off alarm bells is that the so-called “tobacco” industry has spent (quite literally) billions of dollars on social conditioning so that your reaction on reading anything negative about cigarettes is very likely “So what – I know all that. I’m tired of hearing about it. It’s old news.” 

If you think those ideas are your own, think again. They are implanted.

But really consider the evidence, so cleverly hidden in plain sight, and it becomes compelling and conclusive even in partial outline. Sooner or later the cigarette industry is going to have to answer for this hidden but discernible criminal conspiracy against humanity, which is of a magnitude and horror that makes it virtually incomprehensible even to thoughtful minds. And that, of course, is exactly the idea.

The Evidence

Here are a few of the details directly from the court papers from COA01-74 North Carolina:

  1. In manufacturing tobacco products, Reynolds does buy tobacco leaves at auction. The tobacco is sent to a stemmery, where the stems (hard, woody part of the leaf) are separated from the lamina portion of the leaf (material in between the stems). The separation process also generates small scraps of tobacco (scraps) and very fine scraps of tobacco (dust). The usable tobacco lamina material is sent to the manufacturing operation where it is blended and becomes part of what winds up as a cigarette.

  2. The stems, scraps and dust are packed into containers and sent to a storage facility until they are either processed into reconstituted sheet tobacco, through related treatments known as the G-Series processes, or are discarded. The reconstituted sheet tobacco is shredded and blended with the processed lamina strips and made into filler for cigarettes. The reconstituted tobacco filler is part of most brands of cigarettes made by Reynolds, and enables cigarettes to be made with lower tar and nicotine content which according to Reynolds has been “demanded by smoking consumers”.

  3. Reynolds uses approximately seventy million pounds of tobacco stems, scrap and dust each year in making reconstituted sheet tobacco for its own use, and many millions more for other manufacturers. Reynolds also disposes of between five and seven million pounds of tobacco waste materials in landfills each year. This material is of a lower quality than the stems, scrap and dust used in the G-Series processes; much of it is generated by the manufacturing process, rather than the stemmery, though some tobacco waste generated by the stemmery is also disposed of.

  4. In order to keep up with its production requirements for reconstituted tobacco, Reynolds imports tobacco stems purchased overseas. For example, in 2006 (the latest year for which US Government data is available), the US imported 136.8 Million pounds of Tobacco stems. In other words, there weren’t nearly enough stems being produced from US tobacco for the manufacturers to use in making their products. These manufacturers, on the other hand, would probably say “Well, Tobacco stems are still real Tobacco, so what’s the big deal?” The big deal of course is that many of the most dangerous pesticides used on tobacco overseas (like slug and snail control chemicals) are taken up from soil application into the roots and stems, and others translocate from the leaf where they are sprayed into the stems and stalks.

  5. Reynolds sells reconstituted tobacco to other manufacturers of tobacco products, and manufactures reconstituted sheet tobacco for other tobacco manufacturers, using stems, scraps and dust supplied by them. As you can read in the case file, one of Reynolds’ witnesses testified that even if there were no tax incentives for recycling and resource recovery of or from solid waste, “Reynolds would still operate the G-7 process because of its cost-effectiveness.”

  6. While it’s bad enough that this corporation wants tax breaks for selling waste to its customers, what isn’t revealed here is that this “tobacco” waste is highly contaminated with toxic, carcinogenic, mutagenic and endocrine-disrupting agricultural chemicals and pesticides. That single sentence “In order to keep up with its production requirements for reconstituted tobacco, Reynolds imports tobacco stems purchased overseas” holds the clue. When you look at where RJ Reynolds buys its tons of waste overseas you find that it is coming from countries that have absolutely no regulations on pesticide and other toxic chemical use on tobacco crops. This means that the waste that RJ Reynolds is putting in its cigarettes, and that Reynolds is selling to other cigarette manufacturers as reconstituted “sheet” contains high levels of pesticides that are totally banned for use on any crop in the US.

  7. Many of these chemicals are known carcinogens, they are known to destroy nervous systems, they are known to produce deformed babies, and they are known to produce a range of debilitating and fatal diseases in humans. Furthermore, carefully-done research studies show that many of these pesticides, especially the more recent chemicals that attack DNA and other genetic materials in insects, are far more dangerous to children, young women, and the unborn in every population, and to people with Latin, Native American, Asian or African biological ancestry, than they are to adult Caucasian males. That explains why pesticide residues in cigarettes “aren’t a problem” for the white guys running the so-called “tobacco” industry.

  8. RJ Reynolds and all the others could choose to manufacture their cigarette brands from pure tobacco leaf grown in the US or even other countries under strict pesticide regulations. The reason they choose to pack their products with toxic waste instead is because it is so profitable to do so, and because nobody has called any of them on the practice.

RJR Lost That One

As it happened, not so fast smart guys. The North Carolina judge actually ruled that time even the mighty RJR legal department had gone too far. The judge said no, the Dept. of Environment & Natural Resources is right, and you can’t claim a tax credit for disposing of your toxic waste by getting your customers to smoke it. Boo Hoo. RJR lost that one – or did they?

They didn’t get a tax credit for making people smoke their waste instead of polluting the landfill with it, but I’m betting that what the engineer says in the court testimony remains true – “it’s so profitable that even if they don’t get a tax break they’ll still use G-7”.

I can’t tell whether or not RJR is still using any of its patented “G-Series” processes in 2018 for disposing of toxic waste by making it into cigarettes and telling smokers they’re getting “true tobacco taste” or “natural tobacco”, or something equally deceptive. However, RJR is the biggest supplier of tobacco “sheet” to other manufacturers, and appears to be the biggest importer of tobacco waste for that purpose, so my guess is that the “G-Series” is not only alive and well (unlike smokers) but flourishing (also unlike smokers).

So just to see what’s happening these days I’ve just filed a FOIA request for the USDA records that cover the $2 Billion worth of tobacco stems and trash imported in 2017. These records will show every US company that imported this toxic waste, the waste’s country of origin, and the importer’s certification for each shipment that it isn’t contaminated with residues of any banned pesticide like dioxin or DDT.

Update (10/30/18) – no need to file a FOIA request – all the data on tobacco waste imports by American ‘tobacco’ companies that make that waste into cigarettes is right here.

It turns out that RJR is NOT the biggest importer of tobacco waste for cigarette manufacturing – that honor goes to Philip Morris as you can see if you click here.

Now if you would like to see a short video by Philip Morris that explains how they turn waste into cigarettes, click here. Just keep in mind that they slip the Big Lie in at about 2:11 into the video.

That’s all they have to do to import those millions of pounds of toxic waste they’re going to make into cigarettes. They just sign and go, and nobody ever checks again. That may change.

A little donation would go a long way toward supporting my efforts here. 


I’ll share the results of this FOIA inquiry in another blog post.

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Dr. Calkins Chapter 17 – The Awful Power

“A true opium of evil people is a belief in nothingness after death — the huge solace of thinking that for our betrayals, greed, cowardice, and murders that we are not going to be judged.”   Czesław Miłosz 

Editor’s Note:

While there is no denying the power of Opium to addict, that power is not universal, nor is it always invincible. Dr. Calkins book is filled with exceptions, as well as with sad stories of those who were not exceptions. This chapter is largely about those who were victims.

However terrible the power of Opium to addict has always been and still can be for many people, the current “Opioid Crisis” isn’t really an Opium crisis. Instead, it is a crisis born of chemical manipulation of the natural gift of the Poppy into a chemical weapon, used for their own purposes by the world’s governments, banks, oligarchs, dictatorships, gangs, corporations, and other organized criminal organizations.

Perhaps the greatest virtue of Cannabis is that almost none of the power that Opium possesses is given to the evil ones of this world by Cannabis. There has been exploitation, and plenty of evil intent has surrounded Cannabis in the past, but that was not because of the power of Cannabis to addict, which is does not; rather it was because of the power of Cannabis to liberate and give pleasure without addiction.

Just as the spiritual side of people has been corrupted by organized conspiracies in the form of churches, the pleasure-loving and creative side of Cannabis has been corrupted by those who, for a moment in time, controlled its sources. That time is now over, and the criminals have largely moved on to chemicals with the  indisputable power to addict, enslave, and exploit. Where the Opium Poppy has been cruelly manipulated by the world’s dark masters to enslave whole generations, the Cannabis flower has never given those dark forces the power of addiction to use as a weapon against mankind. 

Why call these chemical monstrosities forged from the flower of the Poppy weapons? Because they are employed precisely like all weapons, to force people to do the will of those who wield the weapon, and in this case the forces applied by the weapon are destitution, degradation, suffering and death.

The purpose seems to be to extract wealth of whatever pitifully small amount is possessed, and political acquiescence to whatever agenda is decreed, on the part of the maximum number of people while at the same time rendering them incapable of resistance or protest.

For some reason that I have never been able to discern, there are groups of people, invariably controlled by psychopaths, whose only purpose in life is the enslave other humans. I can’t imagine what satisfaction this gives to these people, but it clearly satisfies their greatest needs because it has been their behavior since the beginnings of time.

However even though I cannot make out the motivation of such people, nor understand what possible satisfaction they obtain, it is nevertheless quite clear to me where the concept of evil comes from, because these people are evil in the flesh, and their victims are the poor, powerless, gullible, careless, foolish and ignorant of the world.

You would think that people with such almost infinite power in their hands would at least try to gain their satisfaction from conquering a worthy opponent, if they are driven to combat rather than peace. But this is not their pattern. Rather, they invariably choose to exploit and overpower easy prey, so perhaps along with great evil goes great cowardice and self-loathing. I am certain that their lives are empty of love, and that although they may delude themelves into thinking that their power and wealth brings them pleasure, I am certain that they never once experience joy in their terrible lives.

But all I really know about these people is that they are beyond my understanding.

With that, allow me to introduce you to Chapter 17 of the great 1870 book “Opium And The Opium Appetite” by Alonzo Calkins, MD, in which he discusses the grip of Opium on the minds, hearts and bodies of millions of victims in his day. As you read this chapter, please reflect on how little has changed since the good doctor wrote these words over 150 years ago except in one meaningful way. Just as the power of the stone club and sword have morphed into the power of nuclear weapons, the power of the Poppy flower has morphed into the Opioids – Fentanyl, Oxycontin, and beyond.

(From) Opium And The Opium Appetite” by Alonzo Calkins, MD, published 1870 

Chapter XVII: Is The Opium-Appetite Qualifiedly Vincible?

“Qui nunc it per iter tenebricosum illuc, unde negant redire quenquam” – Catullus

“A fog is not to be brushed away with a fan.” – Japanese Proverb

Under existing physical debility, so impetuous are the longings for an adventitious stimulus of some sort, so various and plausible are the reasons alleged and the excuses offered for the using of such, so ingenious are the devices contrived for the secret procuring of supplies, and so convenient the subterfuges in exculpation of the fact when suspicion can no longer be quieted nor detection anticipated and avoided, that the doctors have come to receive the protestations of parties implicated with a most skeptical distrust if not with outright incredulity. The opium habit particularly, however carefully covered up against outside observation, must nevertheless drop its veil of concealment when fairly submitted to the scrutiny of an expert.

The turbid complexion, the rugose skin, the shrunken limb, the frigid touch, the tremulous gait, even the zigzaggery of muscular movement as viewed in the chirography alone, may serve as distinctive semeiotic indexes; or if indeed these signs be but faintly pronounced, yet the vivid sparklings and wild glancings of the half-averted eye, so provokingly treacherous to the tongue and its figments, are “confirmation strong” over any and all disguises.

Concurrent testimony is irrefragable testimony. Dr. Oppenheim, speaking for Western Asia, pronounces the influence “a fatal fascination, never to be broken by any wily stratagem or open force whatsoever.” Dr. Pidduck says of the opium eater, that “he can no more break away from his habit than the paralytic imbecile can throw off his lethargy.” Dr. Elliotson’s declaration, that “after diligent and extensive inquiry he could not find the first instance of voluntary renunciation,” is sustained by Dr. Palmer of Ontario, who “had never known, not even by hearsay, of the first instance of permanent reformation after the habit had become confirmed.”

In further attestation of the general conviction is the declaration of Dr. N. Allen, one of our experts upon all questions pertaining to physiology and hygiene, and a scrutinizing inquirer withal, who thus writes: “I have known several of either sex, persons among the foremost for native talent and acquired gifts, who had succumbed to the fatal habit, not one of whom ever succeeded through the use of whatever suggested remedy in breaking loose from the vice and recovering the lost ground.” Among the sufferers he notes in particular a lady of superior endowments and of exalted social position, the wife of a professional gentleman, who has been addicted to morphine for 15 years, and who now (to speak in homely but pertinent phrase) is about used up, or will be eventually, if we take the testimony of one who knows if anybody knows. The victim is as a careless sleeper caught and entwined in the coils of a boa; the grip is that of the Old Man of the Sea, who choked to death the unsuspecting wayfarer when once mounted astride his shoulders.

Detection and exposure, though scarcely avoidable in the end, may be averted or hindered for a season certainly. A woman of 30, who had been upon laudanum for six years at the rate by-and-by of 4 ounces a day, had contrived to keep her habit concealed for half this period even from the husband (Dr. S.). Verily truth is stranger than fiction – sometimes. There is a Mr. C. also, who some months since came under the writer’s personal inspection. This man, a mechanic, having contracted rheumatism in his earlier life (for which he had been treated with calomel to salivation), had resorted to opium as an alleviation of neuralgic pains, going on to such an extent that his physician finally gave him warning he must either break away from his opium or break down under it. This was fifteen years back, and a very considerable reduction of dose was actually made through the next five years; but increasing nervousness, and a super-added debility the consequence of a fistulous drain from one of the thighs, led to a revival of the habit in its pristine intensity nearly. There is an obvious emaciation affecting the entire frame, but the countenance is anxious-looking rather than haggard The dose for a year (as pretended) has been one teaspoonful of laudanum, once repeated, for the day; but not unlikely an ounce rather than a quarter as much would express more nearly the truth in the matter. Besides there is in this instance ocular evidence that example has had its force of operation.

Opium, an equivocal luxury in the beginning daintily approached, becomes ere long under the clamorous demands of a perverted appetite a dire alternative, a magisterially controlling power. Less rigid are the gyres, less galling the manacles that hold fast the malefactor in his prison, than is that bondage of the will-power which oppresses so overwhelmingly the opium devotee. The proximate cause of this moral enfeeblement is, a corporeal condition, a physical want, a power independent in itself and able to subordinate to itself the entire mental machinery. The dominant symptom is an intense constriction, thoracic or abdominal as may be, as intolerable in its operation as it is uncontrollable in its course. This pathologic state is thus adverted to by Van Swieten: “Alvus (opio familiariter adhibito) pertinacissime constringitur.”

Trousseau (and Linsly also) has described the morbid change both minutely and accurately. “The patient awakes from his half-torpid slumbering to a revived consciousness again, with parched fauces, a brassy taste in the mouth and a blistered tongue perhaps; a glacial coldness penetrates the entire frame-work while the body is bathed in sweat; the visceral organs are painfully compressed under the intense corrugation and constriction of the parietal incisures, or agitated with throbs as if they were being rent asunder, and profuse and uncontrollable dysenteric evacuations intensify the general agony, until death, no longer terrible in the immediate prospect, is coveted rather as a comforting alternative.”

Fearful as is the picture, it is no overdrawn representation. A Chinese writer describes the sensation in the stomach as an “indefinable but inappeasable longing;” De Quincey likens the feeling in the organ to “the gnawing of some imprisoned reptile;” the Hospital-patient, Mr. B., speaking from his own experience, pronounces the epigastrial constriction a something horrible beyond description; Grose represents the sufferer under the oppression as half-dead for the time. Mr. B. declares concerning himself, referring to a time when he had undertaken a breakoff, that “for ten days and nights together he lay without closing his eyes in sleep for once, so persistent were the torturings he had to endure.”

There was in New York one Dr. W., a man who had spent all, (not “in riotous living” like that other prodigal, but, worse than that, in the procuring of opium for his daily use), who was in the habit of calling at Naumann’s. About every day he purchased a packet of morphine, 15 grains precisely for the time, or two or three, provided the money held out. “Three such (so he said) would always set him right.” One time, just after leaving the shop and ere a “fit of the trembles” had entirely passed off, he fell upon the curbstone, but a second powder straightway put him on his legs again. No longer able to provide for himself, he was receiving from a friend a fixed gratuity to go for board and clothing; but so overpowering was his appetite that he stinted himself in his fare to bestow the more money on his stimulus. His course and end were what could be easily foreseen; physical wear, penury, and the dejection of spirit incident to his other depressions drove the suffering man at length to his last earthly home, the Island rendezvous.

Of the cases properly ranging with what might be denominated the order of the invincibles is a narrative of one now to come. Mrs. C, age 25, mother that had been and grass widow that was, consulted Dr. L. in reference to some form of sexual malady, yclept for convenience hysterial neuralgia. Some weeks having passed on with various treatment but without visible improvement, the patient after a close questioning one day at length confessed to her habit, declaring at the time that for her to think of renouncing her stimulus was simply preposterous. To show how much she used for the time, she drew out from a small cabinet a vial labelled “sulphate of morphine;” and from this she poured upon the palm of her hand what would weigh apparently about 10 grains. The vial it was now agreed should be committed to the custody of the mother, and be used thereafter only at her discretion. A few days having elapsed, another visit was made. The doctor on entering the chamber found the patient sitting up in bed, arms akimbo and hands nervously grasping the hypochondria, and delivering herself at short intervals and in shrill but half-suppressed utterances, after this style of ejaculation: “Oh, dear! Oh, dear! Mother, mother, give me the morphine!” A casket was brought in, from which having drawn a small bottle she proceeded to saturate her handkerchief with the contents. That liquid was chloroform. With such materials the patient had for a good while been practising upon herself, and with the knowledge and connivance of a homeopathist. In this case constipation had become an established symptom, the entire organic machinery had got racked out of joint, there was a wasting of the body, and, as the countenance too plainly betokened, “leanness had entered into her soul.” “May a man drive away a hungry lion in the wood, or quench the fire in the stubble when it hath begun to burn ?”

A case in conclusion of the chapter will show within how narrow limits the tiger may be chained without being restrained of his liberty altogether. A. F. H., of Ontario county, distiller, born in 1820, is now just 50 years of age. A robust constitution, not seriously impaired until late in life (notwithstanding a salivation undergone in his twelfth year for a malarious fever), was an original inheritance. His ordinary weight at the time of his majority was 195 pounds, and his physical vigor was equal to anybody’s. Compelled by the nature of his business to be exposed much, not to cold alone but to damps also (for sometimes he had to stand in water up to his knees an hour or more), he experienced occasional chills, and later a rheumatic inflammation which determined on the first invasion to the hips and knees. This was in 1848; from which date similar attacks proceeding from similar causes recurred twice a year at first, but later in periods gradually lengthening and also more frequently recurring.

Towards the close of the year 1858, so bent had the limbs become and so stiffened the joints, and to such a degree of intensity had the general suffering advanced, that the victim, who had striven so long and so stoutly to clear himself of the meshy web of symptoms in which he was to be so long and so inextricably entangled, now sensible his waning strength was no longer adequate to the struggle, betook himself to his bed, and kept it too out of sheer necessity for eighteen tedious months, never leaving it all this time only for the briefest periods and when lifted from it by the strong arms of friends at hand. The doctor, aware he was about to have an untoward case upon his hands, appears nevertheless to have “taken the responsibility,” with the vigor of a Jackson if not with the temerity of one. Tonics and nervines, as cinchona, colchicum, the nux, and other articles of approved reputation, appear to have been put to vigorous service, but not with encouraging results. Among the various resorts was opium, which was used for its sedative efficacy from the beginning, but without material advantage anyhow.

Three months had passed, and the patient was now beginning to entertain apprehensions of damage accruing from the continuous use of an agent so potent as opium; but somehow he got reassured again, convinced that the same could be dropped at any time and without embarrassment, in case any palpable detriment should come of it. First used was the concrete gum, in pills of the musket-shot size, three for the day. Subsequently and for experimental trial morphine was substituted, but without manifest advantage, and so a return was made to the original form. There was found to attach to the morphine one advantage, and also a disadvantage. The disturbance of the stomach was less considerable than as before, but there was to offset this a strange sensation as of sinking by a sudden precipitation into a chasm below, a hundred or two hundred feet down. This feeling occurred only concurrently with a doze, and very irregularly at that. It appears to have had something in common with the peculiar thrill of the epileptic aura.

Another three months having matured but without any appreciable benefit derived from the opiates, a gradationary reduction anticipative of ultimate abandonment was proposed and undertaken. At this stage an ounce would last perhaps ten days only, or again it would cover two weeks. The first experiment was with pills graduated by precise differences (the largest for the beginning), so that one ounce should extend through forty days. The sufferer having become very weak and proportionably irritable by the time he had gone half-way, suddenly put ship about, and from this day forward he appears to have followed his own bent very much. By the ninth month from the first the doctor also, whether from distrust of his patient or from discouragement in the course, (one or both considerations operating), ceased to render further attendance.

There was by this time established a complication of symptoms truly disheartening. Constipation beginning very early had long been a fixed condition scarcely alleviable by purgatives or other means, emaciation had proceeded to such an extreme that the skin seemed to hang loose about the limbs very much like the husk over a withered ear of corn, the entire frame was agitated with tossings to and fro, and not unfrequently was felt an alternating sense of heavy oppression, as it were a death torpor creeping over and pervading the entire bodily frame, and the whole aspect betokened a prostration insurmountable and desperate. The appetite, which a full dose would often sharpen up, gave place in the intervals to anorexia, with nausea or vomiting or both succeeding and perhaps the oftener in the early morning. Sleep, irregular in the main, was exempt however from the commonly additional companionship of dreams and visions. After the evening pill (there were usually three, for scarcely once, if that, amidst all these vicissitudes and trials was there an intermission of dose beyond eight hours), the patient would lie in a placid dreamy (not dreaming) repose, giving free scope to his fantastic reveries but “taking no thought for the morrow” meanwhile. The most refreshing sleep followed upon the morning pill. During the waking hours when under the full excitement he would feel “happy as a full-blown sunflower;” in the opposite state with the “ horrors” upon him, “ the sensations were what no imagination can conceive, much more what no pen could describe.”

The first trial at reform, abortive as it had turned out, did not however discourage future attempts undertaken of his own impulses. One time he made up a batch of pills graduated strictly by the scales. After this he hit upon the following device: Sixty pills made out of an ounce of the gum having been transferred to a bottle, there were added as a menstruum just so many tablespoonfuls of whiskey. As often as a tablespoonful-draught was poured off, so often was the vacuity replaced by additional measures of the pure whiskey. The trial was proceeded in until the medicinal strength of the liquor had got reduced by about fifty percent; but here the familiar nervous tremors reviving intercepted the well-intentioned undertaking, and our friend relapsed, to fight again upon the old line, but “not to fight it out upon the old line.”

Having now become excessively restive under repeated drawbacks and thoroughly intolerant of protracted confinement, Mr. H. was ready and on the watch for any “favoring gale” of hope under his complicated infirmities. Engrossed with the “loud talk and the tall professions” of one Mann down in Gotham (a sort of “seventh son of a seventh son”), weak as he was, and with a spine doubled upon itself almost, he journeyed away to New York, elate with joyous expectation in the beginning, but beguiled into a “delusion and a snare” in the end by the like of such fellows as “Keep the word of promise to the ear, But break it to the hope.”

Seven years had this man been a slave to opium, and for six of these years so intense had been the rackings in the joints, he was able to rise out of his chair (for he keeps the sitting posture mostly) no otherwise than as lifted by other hands applied to the armpits. In the course of these years he had at different times called to his aid from near and far physicians not a few, whose respective advisory views when put together for comparison wore a very particolored complexion.

Doctors are prone to disagree, even where they do not agree to disagree. Getting sight accidentally of a circular commending McMunn’s Elixir, he resolved to make a last effort at reform by a reduction upon that. The sensations experienced upon the change were a wonder to himself. The tremors subsided, the intestinal constriction relaxed, digestion and appetite improved, and comforting sleep was had withal, and the frame began to recover something of its original rotundity; and now, after a five-years’ trial, he is as well satisfied with the elixir as he was at the first. An ounce vial lasts for four days to a week, but the desire (never regular now) abates in summer or whenever the mind is preoccupied with extraneous affairs. His general aspect is decidedly good, and but for the spinal incurvation he could work by the ten-hour rule as well as he ever did. Alcohol, though tried, never served him any way as a substitute for the opium. Feeling that by a strong exercise of will he could break with his stimulus any day, he yet holds to the melius-cras idea, the same as thus expressed by Talleyrand, that “it is better to put off to tomorrow what need not be done today.”

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Anecdotes & Evidence: Extreme Dosage Of Opium

(Editor’s note) With this post I am resuming the chapter-by-chapter posting of the remarkable book “Opium And The Opium Appetite” by Alonzo Calkins, MD. This long and challenging book, published in 1870, allows us to hold a mirror up to our current “Opioid Crisis” and see it for what it really is – not a crisis of our times, but an ongoing theme in American life.

In this chapter Dr. Calkins discusses the many cases that he experienced personally, and that he gathered from other physicians and elsewhere, regarding extreme cases of Opium/Morphine consumption. Extremes of consumption were not always tied to addiction, as he points out, and the stories in this chapter ought to make us think twice about the “one dose and you’re hooked” meme that is so popular with those who make a living from ensuring that there is always a plentiful supply of souls in dire need of “rehabilitation” and “recovery”. 

Many people born since the 1990’s don’t understand the history of the “Opioid Crisis” because they were not yet born when previous “crises” were being manufactured and sold to the public by breathless media acting as the propaganda mouthpiece of the State. Consider, to take one of the worst examples of social disinformation, the “Crack Epidemic” of the 1980’s that sent tens of thousands of mostly young Black men to prison, creating an entire generation of fatherless Black children and fueling the next act in America’s “drug wars”.

While the “fake news” epithet may seem to be quite contemporary, the fact is that much of the “news” has always been fake, and never so much as when drugs are the topic. For all of his faults, Dr. Alonzo Calkins wrote what he saw and what he believed, and left us a record of what was true 150 years ago and remains true today – we don’t have an Opioid Crisis; we have a permanent crisis of the American soul.

“Opium And The Opium Appetite” by Alonzo Calkins, MD

Chapter XVI: The Posology (Dosage) Of Opium

“Exempla – quorum me turba fatigat.” — Ovid

“Let me have a drachm of poison. Sweet draught! Sweet, quotha? O fool! that now as luscious as locusts, shall shortly be in thy mouth as bitter as coloquintida!” — Romeo and Juliet

By those who have studied the “Ars nihili credendi” many of the statements recorded in this chapter will be transferred to the column of the incredibilia; but there is ample authentication behind nevertheless. Van Swieten refers to a dose of 16 grains as something extraordinary; Garcias (Morewood) knew a woman in Turkey, of good intelligence and of a conversational turn, who informed him her daily consumption was 10 drachms (!). Hufeland mentions a 30-gramme dose, one ounce less half a drachm. As a measure of effect, however, it should be understood the apothecary’s scales are but a very insufficient criterion.


Initial doses vary from a fraction of a grain upward; but amateurs start more boldly, as in the instance of a Chicago youth, who began upon 3 grains of morphine, and ran his course proportionably fast. Surgeon Smith names 5 grains of the chandoo for the neophyte; 290 grains he has known in the case of the veteran. Libermann, in the Chronique Medicale, has given a tabulated summary of a thousand smokers, of whom he kept a record while he was in China engaged in the imperial service, as here classified:

Of the thousand, 646 vary between 1 and 8 grammes, 250 between 10 and 20, and the remaining 104 range from 30 to 100 grammes. (The higher extreme seems scarcely credible, and perhaps the text should read grains.)

The Theriakis of Eupatoria not unfrequently go to 100 grains; the Hamals (porters) of Constantinople not seldom use an entire ounce.

The “big doses” are restricted by no lines of longitude. Dr. Hawkins was informed by a druggist of an eastern county in England concerning a farmer there, who one day came into the shop, asking for an ounce and a half of laudanum. This having been swallowed was after a brief time followed by a second draught, and again by a third, and several ounces besides were purchased for taking home. This “operator” was plainly of the new-school progressives.

But in bold practice New York City and the rest may safely challenge Birmingham, or Paris, or Canton. A woman of Atlanta (a buyer for a considerable time, and if she ain’t gone she lives there still) sends her daughter with the two-ounce vial for laudanum three times a day regularly (Redwine). The cause thereunto moving had been a proclivity to “spiritual liquor.” Wayne gives an instance of 6 ounces; Eimer of the same quantity daily repeated.

Paregoric and McMunn come in for their share in the awarding of honors. Besides the quart-measure are pint cases in plenty by Shedden, Lee, S. Smith, and others. McMunn also talks loud. Dr. Lente knows a woman at Cold Spring, who buys for the week three dozens of bottles. A gentleman who was making a purchase on Union Square one day, declared of himself that he used up, one day with another, 12 bottles. Dr. L. had seen and prescribed for a youth (as he then was), who, having become habituated to strong drink provided by injudicious friends for a lingering diarrhoea of his, had found in this elixir a present quietive for symptoms threatening delirium tremens. On a certain day he was known positively to have taken six bottles. This case, however, is thrown into shade altogether by a record at Binghamton, that of a lawyer, a detenu at the Asylum there half a dozen years since, whose totality was by his own record 3200 bottles, and for a certain day one and two-thirds dozens, the equivalent of a pint of laudanum within one ounce.

Morphine demands a separate section. MacGillivray’s patient has been noted already (chap. xii.). Dr. Gill of London had on his hands one time a professor of vegetarianism (50 years old actually, but, judged by his attenuated limbs and parchment skin 20 years ahead of that mark), whose stated supply was 55 grains. The allowance having been cut down flesh was substituted for porridge and cabbage, and in no long space Mr. Witherskin was able to make a much-improved show in the outer man. A third drachm case is from Redwine, that of “a brother fallen from his high estate,” who had pioneered upon whiskey. A fourth case is of a German woman lately in the hands of Naumann, who by a gradual progression through several years had finally reached one drachm precisely, at which mark she stood a considerable time. This person cured herself by pursuing, at the suggestion of Mr. N. (a very intelligent druggist), the gradative course. The weekly diminutions were made by grain and two-grain reductions in alternation.

A fifth case is communicated by Mr. Leys of Brooklyn, and the detail is a precise transcript of the record. A woman, thirty-five years old at the time of her death, wife and mother both, had been a regular purchaser for the six years precedent to her demise, though a consumer for several years earlier. Of medium embonpoint and with a fair countenance, she would scarcely have attracted casual attention otherwise than by the half-averted but lustrous eye. In regard to constipation hers was an exceptional case, nor was the final sickness (which was of the acute type) obviously traceable to her morbid habit. The dose for the first month of the six years was 16 grains (in the form of Magendie’s solution), which quantity had doubled by six months and quadrupled by the time a year had run. This 16 grains per month had grown by the end of the fourth year to 16 grains per day, and in another year to 20 grains. For the first half of the sixth year the progress was from 20 up to 30 grains; during the final six months one drachm was the measure, regularly called for as the morning came.

Number six is Mr. B., a prominent druggist in the metropolis, age 49, the subject of a severe chronic diarrhoea for half a dozen years. Morphine, which, like Choroebus penetrating the Grecian phalanx now within Ilion’s towers after assuming the helmet of the slain Androgeos, a pretended friend while an enemy in disguise, was early employed for its supposed curative efficacy (and indeed always to the present mitigation of symptoms, for “without it his bowels would run away from him”), but the benefit derived has ever been of ephemeral continuance only. No notable emaciation is observable as yet, nor has the general health become materially impaired. Magendie’s solution (16 grains to the ounce) is the form, and this is taken, an ounce for the time, in very precise measure, to the extent perhaps of four times that in the day, or again a pint may last the week through. He has been known to have his ounce four times in the day, and an additional one at his private office, i.e. 80 grains of the salt. In the general way, morphine to the amount of 15 grains is no uncommon dose; 30 to 36 grains is with rare exceptions the limit.

Gravity of action may be as disproportioned to quantity as is the case of alcoholics. An instance of idiosyncrasy referable to this section is given by Dr. Barnes. The occasion was an existing diarrhoea. With the approbation of a doctor opium had been used daily for three weeks, by the end of which time, “although the flux was subdued the opium was not subdued.” The medicine acted strangely, kindling Then up a fire in the stomach as it seemed, so that for another three weeks nothing swallowed would lie, rice water excepted, and all the vital powers seemed to be flagging. A year having proceeded in this manner, a change to the right-about was resolved on. Agonies and horrors followed upon the breaking up, to abate only by littles, but success was secured at last. For a time from the first, but for a brief period only, a sort of ideal tranquility, a visionary happiness followed each dose, but the subsequent experience was the reverse of all this. The recollection of the sufferings had survived as vividly twenty-five years after as if they had been of yesterday. The dose (the gum was used) had at no time exceeded four grains.

The caprices of single doses taken for a special occasion are even more variant and strange than the operations under continued use. Of minimum doses of fatality there have been noted (as already mentioned) 3 grains of the gum (Grisolle), a grain of morphia, and half an ounce of laudanum, and there have been even less than these. Maximum doses of tolerance are the very antipodes of such. Recovery has followed upon the ingestion of 30 and 60 grains of the gum, and once after 20 drachms had been swallowed. Instances of like result are recorded of morphia in doses of 30, 55, 60, and even 75 grains, and after laudanum, as in two cases, where 5 ounces had been taken, and in a third where the quantity was 6 ounces.

The records of practice in disease are yet more astounding. Doses fearlessly used at this day for various forms of organic derangement would only a half-century since have staggered the boldest. For instance, Pinel allowed a woman at La Charite, far gone with cancer uteri, 120 grains of solid opium for the twenty-four hours, and greatly to the alleviation of symptoms. M. Marc, in the Gazette de Paris, gives a similar case. His patient on one of the days took 62 grains of morphine. Monges and La Roche of Philadelphia had such a patient, whose allowance her last three months was 3 pints of laudanum for a day and a night, with some pure opium extra. For a urethral malformation a woman under Zaviani consumed in the progress of thirty-four years 200 pounds of the solid and above. On some days 200 grains was her mark. Dr. Knight of New Haven once had a patient with uterine cancer, who used daily and for a very considerable time, and without prejudice also, a drachm of morphine at least, and from that even up to 3 drachms. Bellevue Hospital records make a show ahead even of these. In a case of puerperal peritonitis occurring in 1862, Dr. Clark administered in the course of seven days various preparations, equivalent altogether to 200 ounces of opium proper, and on one of the days 472 grains, an ounce to within a fraction.

Medium doses.

Rev. G. Smith, an English missionary, made a tour of observation one day around Amoy, having Lim-pai, a reformed opium eater, for cicerone, with the following results. Upon questioning ten persons as met indiscriminately and at random, he found their average to be 1 mace or 60 grains. The general average he ascertained to be 3 candareens (= 17% grains) of the chandoo (Allen). The mean for Aleppo Russell puts at 3 drachms; a high figure certainly, even for the maw of a Turk. Dr. Garrod, however, knew of a Turkish gentleman, a mere youth, who used one drachm in the morning and the same repeated at night, besides the laudanum he took in the intervals, an ounce or more.

At the Pauper-house, Singapore, Dr. Little ascertained that of fifteen persons, smokers for periods varying from 3 to 20 and averaging 11 years, the medium dose was 32 grains. At the Mount Hope Asylum 2 to 4 ounces of laudanum is nothing uncommon (Dr. Stokes). Specific quantities are a drachm of the gum, 1 to 2 drachms of the salt, and a pint of the tincture, so much per week (Moore, Skey). The dose varies much with the pecuniary ability. A purchaser at Giles’s (such is a specimen-case) would get from time to time an ounce of laudanum only, it might be, and again twice or thrice that. Equability and moderation in dose is what is oftentimes but very capriciously respected. A gentleman called one day at Tarrant’s for a scruple of morphine; this, having dropped into a tumbler of water, he swallowed forthwith, with the intent, as was for the moment suspected, of poisoning himself. All anxiety was soon removed, however, by the stranger’s explanation that “such was his way.”

Gradual Advances.

“The small quantity of Opium,” observes Dr. Little, “soon loses its effect, and to produce the requisite excitement the little pea must be doubled and again increased, until, as I have known, the original has got multiplied a hundredfold.”

A married woman turned of 50, who began upon two ounces of laudanum for a week, has now, after a considerable term, attained to the pint-mark (Leys). A spinster of 55 was several years in getting as high as 6 ounces per week. Dr. Palmer reports two cases where the weekly consumption was 2 drachms of morphine, and four others in which the quantity was half that Among his opium-cases was Mrs. O’G., addicted to the drug about forty years, .who by very slow advances had reached at last two drachms for the week, with the addition of a little whiskey taken as a priming. Another instance was Mrs. T., 50 years old at her death, who had been a consumer for nigh upon half of this term. She even in her latter years had not exceeded a drachm for the week to the very last year, but here the quantity was doubled. An extra interest attaches to this last case, in connection with the question of degeneracy. Of the two children born subsequently to the confirmation of the habit, the elder, a son always feeble and sickly, died at fifteen; the daughter, contrarily to what might be expected, now eleven years old, has a robust and thriving aspect. The patient died a year ago of pneumonia.

A lady of Ontario county with whom the writer has conferred, Mrs. S., age 60 or above, mother now of several grown-up children, became an invalid ere she had completed her maiden life; whereupon, with the concurrence of a physician, she sought relief in morphine. From the beginning through the entire period the advances have been very gradual to a drachm for three weeks (the present limit), or if for any special exigency this amount has been at all exceeded, she has ever been careful to recover the lost ground, returning again to the fixed standard. No other medicine has been found upon trial to answer her needs by way of substitution. Those common sufferings, such as constipation, agrypnia and ugly dreams, have not been among her experiences, nor is there during the day any marked exhilaration, or indeed any very definitely-pronounced characteristic, with the exception of the peculiar skin-hue and a somewhat toddling gait. A discontinuance was not advised.

Periodic augmentations in a ratio constantly increasing are according to the normal course; but then there are stages also of what may be called a “satisfied craving,” lasting for months or even years. Formiggini had a patient with a facial neuralgia that had come of caries of the maxilla, who used one gramme of morphine daily. This kept her system at the saturation point; but this precise quantity the lady must have, no less, no more; any excess she could not (or would not) tolerate, and if put on reduced allowance she became desperate (Revue de Paris).

The Lancet, 1832, contains a case not dissimilar. In this instance hysteria was the objective malady. A woman, now of the respectable age of 50, used for her measure 20 grains of the gum, so much precisely, day after day. (These hysterial cases require a good deal of humoring, particularly when spinsters are concerned who have arrived at a “certain age,” that age of all ages the most uncertain.) Dr. S. S. sends the case of a woman twenty-five years old and married, who made a beginning upon laudanum in her 20th year. Lately she has kept herself strictly to 4 ounces for the twenty-four hours; but “this much she will have at all events, even if she must beg for it or steal for it.”

Jones had for a reputed customer an elderly lady of the Hudson River border somewhere along, who purchased her supply of him for several years, sending a granddaughter (her deputy in the transaction) once a month for the pint of laudanum. Like the rest she ceased by-and-by to make report representatively or otherwise. “They come and go,” as Dr. Guion says.

A woman of mature age, an attendant at Eimer’s for fifteen years continuously there was, whose weekly purchase was what would make an average of half a drachm for a day. There was also a teacher attached to one of the public schools in Brooklyn, who was so careful of her ways, that she was at the pains of crossing East River about every four days, to get as many ounces of laudanum from a doctor at the West End (Mr. L.). Her general aspect all this time gave no indication of any progressing deterioration, nor was there so much as constipation complained of. This person all at once ceased to reappear; whether it was that she had opened a new account with another doctor, or whether she had gone to settle an old account with death, did not transpire.

Moderation in quantity and steadiness of dose are oftener observable perhaps in case of congenital infirmity or traumatic lesion; for instance, when spinal irritation or an ununited fracture is the coexisting evil.

Inconsiderable advances upon the existing dose are seldom hazardous, where a large stride might prove critical. An inquest at Bradford, England, brought out the following facts: a woman with chronic asthma (one of those maladies that contraindicate opium absolutely) had taken a dose considerably exceeding the usual one, causing her death only a few hours after. A second case to be adduced comes from Binghamton. A patient there was, who, having strayed off to town one evening, felt disposed to have a fresh sip of an old friend; and so, having purchased two ounces of laudanum he swallowed the whole at once, a quantity he had never ventured on before. Dr. Day reached him, but not immediately, nor until the comatose stage had set in. The battery with other appropriate helps was put to expeditious use, but to no purpose, for death had his victim the very same night.

There was a New York lady, now of middle age, a custom-visitor at Bedford’s for years together, who for the alleviation of an existing intra-pelvic tumor had used morphine a long time, but in very definite and exactly-measured doses always. Her usage was to have the 48 grains (her amount for the day) divided into three-grain packets, so that the times of recurrence should come with the expiration of every hour and a half. One morning it appears, but for some reason not cleared up, she had put four of the divisions together for a single dose, thus having swallowed 12 grains instead of the 4. The stimulative action proper was overwhelmed by the predominant toxic force, and a fatal coma set in.

The rule of progressive cumulation reversed is among the rarest of the rare, and asseverations made to fortify such pretensions must ever be taken cum grano salis, i.e. at a very considerable discount.

There used to present herself very regularly at Goodall’s a young woman with her four-ounce laudanum vial. That she used twice four ounces every day was manifest from a circumstance she did not appear herself to have thought of, the extra label that had been superadded at another shop. There was a merchant who had broken down upon McMunn’s, an irregular visitor at Gates’s, who whenever he called would drink off a vial of the elixir, and take away several of the same sort, for occasional use only as he pretended, when doubtless he did the same thing at other druggeries. A Frenchman, known to Naumann for nineteen years, who all this time and even before had been familiar with laudanum, had a two-thirds ounce vial, which he was very particular to have filled once a day. The double labelling it was that exposed him. Long and freely as this monsieur had been addicted to his stimulus, he showed no distinctive indication of the habit other than in the peculiar sallowness of complexion.

Devices intended for disguising the extent if not the fact of the enslavement are as ingenious and varied as the contrivers are numerous. Two considerations act as prompters to such course; the supposed power of exerting a certain self-control over the paroxysmal excitement, and the apprehension of encountering a frowning public opinion in case the deception is unmasked.

Miss P., a spinster of thirty summers (and who was liable to continue such for as many winters), had purchased of Loines in the course of two years (so the ledger showed) 13 gallons of McMunn’s solution, without enumerating the additional supplies she had certainly procured in the interims from other establishments. This course it appears had been followed up so clandestinely all the while, that outside of her own family not a surmise of the existing habit had found place even among the naturally credulous. Opium eaters, if they cannot obviate suspicion altogether, may by the exercise of a dextrous ingenuity often put this same suspicion on its good behavior. A nibble from the mass, a pinch from the packet or a sip from the vial may create no more wonder, than the brandy flask slyly drawn from the pocket, or the delicate thumbing of the rappee box by the suaviter-faced tourist in the linen overall.

Reductions upon established doses, palpable in quantity if not of permanent continuance too, are to be reckoned among the actualities as well as the possibilities. De Quincey once fell back from his professed maximum of 8000 drops to 1000, and without experiencing any considerable discomfort either. Mr. B. of the Hospital calculated upon personal trials, that for real working service half an ounce of the gum or half a drachm of the alkaloid is as good as twice that. In the occasional use, amidst the daily avocations of business, it is possible to exercise much “prudence and discretion,” what is in accordance with the views of Dr. Pitcher (who appears to have a sharp eye for observation), and also of Dr. Lee. The merchant, for instance, who feels the need of an extra stimulus of some sort, by substituting a pill of opium in place of the half-gill of whiskey, is better able to work himself out of the perplexities of the hour without attracting the notice of some censorious neighbor, who is ever quick in discerning the mote in a brother’s eye though unaware all the time of the beam in his own eye.


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Opium Addiction: The Stress Of Modern Life In 1870

(Editor’s Note) I’m sure that to most of us living today, life in 1870 does seem simpler from the perspective of 2018, but that’s only if you are looking at the external environment in which people lived back then. The internal realities of life 150 years ago were exactly the same as they are today. Some of the external causes of the pain and suffering experienced by so many today have changed, but only superficially. Poverty hasn’t changed; exploitation hasn’t changed; homelessness hasn’t changed; hopelessness hasn’t changed; war and cruelty haven’t changed; class and racial hatred haven’t changed; and for the most part most people still don’t give a shit what happens to other people as long as they get theirs.

Although they pretend they do – and that hasn’t changed either.

So with that Jeremiad out of the way, here is Dr. Calkins Chapter Fourteen in which he concludes that nobody really understands anything about why some people – many people, in fact – choose to use substances that make them feel better for a little while and then go on to over-use and become trapped by those substances. He suspects that it has something to do with the basic human condition, as do I. 

(From) “Opium And The Opium Appetite”

by Alonzo Calkins, MD (1870)

Chapter XIV: Causes And Occasions

“His alias poteram et plures subnectere causas.” – Juvenal.

“Give you a reason for compulsion!

If reasons were as plenty as blackberries,

I would not give you a reason for compulsion.” – Henry IV

The Causes may be distinguished in a twofold classification, – the physical and the moral.

Under the former division range neurotic and arthritic maladies, such as hold the body in a close gripe, e.g. rheumatism, dysenteric drains, haemorrhoidal tumors, cancerous growths, a retarded convalescence following acute disease, hysteria. Occasional incitants are, paucity of food coupled with the overworking of body or mind either, the familiar use of some nursery cordial, a vicarious interchange with alcoholics.

Dr. Christison had a lady-patient, then twenty-five years of age, using daily at the time of morphine (to which she had been habituated in childhood by a nurse) 15 grains. Contrary to all presumption, there was not any sensible deterioration of the natural vigor.

Dr. Palmer has traced the habit, as established in three youths, to precisely the same sort of early habituation.

A case (not an unusual one) originating in uterine disease with a cystic complication, is communicated by Dr. G. W. Hanna, of Monroe county, New York. Mrs. B., a widow of thirty-four years and a mother (a woman of superior gifts and fine presence still, though opium has made its inroads), began with laudanum as a palliator of pain simply, and in this way got confirmed in her habits. This course has gone on now six years, and the quantity at present used is, according to her own statement, half an ounce on some days, on others twice as much; and indeed it is safe to say the latter amount is within the mark; for whereas she formerly procured her supply in the neighborhood, now she sends to a city ten miles off, and no doubt to create a false impression that should operate as a blind among her neighbors. Having been repeatedly admonished by the doctor that it was “sink or swim” with her, she has made repeated attempts at reform, but ineffectually. Lately she had held out for three days, having had none of her drug in the house for so long; but the prospect is unpropitious, and the more as another stimulus has been superadded. The care of a young family, now devolved upon herself alone, doubtless co-operates in aggravation of the primary cause.

In the life social, where not dress and etiquette alone, but religion besides, acknowledges fealty to fashion, diseases too assume putative shapes in correspondence with some prevailing idea, a “vox omnibus una” nominally, be the real type what it may. At one period all maladies merge into dyspepsia; liver complaint dominates, or neuralgia. Two cases, whose locale was the goodly city of Gotham, are here presented to a discerning public partly for their intrinsic value, partly for their extrinsic significance in bringing forth to the light home of the arcana of science.

First is Miss R., a spinster of thirty-five years, who was being treated for some rheumatic symptom which had found opportune shelter under the more fashionable name. This patient, in homoeopathic hands at the time, was using daily three packets of a something, one of which made her one day strangely stupid. The new physician, Dr. L., took a powder to Adamson of the College of Pharmacy for analyzation. The product was one and one-fourth grains of morphine, showing that the said subject was taking three grains and three-quarters of the alkaloid daily – quite other than infinitesimal doses, plainly. A timely change intercepted a course that would ere long have been fastened beyond change.

The fellow to this case was Mr. B., a gentleman of middle age, whose complaint, a sub-inflammatory affection of the hip – neuralgia again, or the old friend in a new face. This patient was being put through the granule discipline by those distinguished scientists of the Hahnemannic school, Messieurs les Docteurs F. and P.

According to prescription, this patient was taking powders varying, for different days. from six to nine, one of which, having been submitted to examination as was done in the preceding case, yielded one grain and a half nearly of morphine proper, the addendum being saccharum lactis. This “running the machine” had gone on for five weeks, when Drs. P. and L. were invited to assume the charge.

Opium is frequently used against chronic maladies, either as a palliative proper or vicariously of other medicines of more questionable efficacy, and the more especially for the purpose of procuring sleep under nervous agitation. An instance in illustration was Mrs. W. (the late), a lady of a New England city, who, having been married soon after attaining her majority to a “fast man,” thereby became an invalid for the remnant of her life, that is unto her 37th year. The physical contamination, the “fons et origo mali,” innocently contracted on her part (the real nature of which she was never perhaps made fully cognizant of), was one of those whose tendency is to grow with advancing time rather than to die out with a definite lapse of time. Constipation early established was ever a grievous annoyance, even with the moderate alleviation afforded by purgatives and the syringe. Extreme nervousness, with paroxysms of hysteria, had expression in the most wild and incongruent extravagances; and as for sleep, that was irregular of course and never refreshing. The face presented an oedematous fulness and a putty-like hue, and this with the eye fitfully glaring in its strange wildness, told of the internal commotion more forcibly than tongue could give utterance to. The symptoms and habits of this patient were family known to Dr. S., of whom she had made her purchases for ten years continuously. Here is the report of articles prepared regularly for her use the last two years of her life:

Of Magendie’s solution 4 ounces, of laudanum 4 ounces, of morphine 24 grains combined in pill-form with 36 of guaiacum, “much altogether for every 2 days, the equivalent in a single day of 52 grains of morphine.”

Another case, having its origin in a physical is from Dr. Pitcher. Mrs. R., 35 years of age at the present date, was married at 20. To this point fair health, barring a slight menstrual irregularity, had been enjoyed without any notable variation, but from this time, or soon after, a severe vaginismus had become established. To mitigate this symptom the husband (an apothecary) had supplied her freely with morphine, and so by-and-by the habit became perpetuated. Impregnation had at no time occurred.

The woman was not seen again for the space of four years, but after this interval she was perceived to be in a changed condition. The primal irritation had passed away, but a constitutional obstruction was found to have succeeded, and besides a growing taste for alcoholic liquors had been freely indulged. There had been, notwithstanding, no pretermission of the opium. The two stimuli have been continued, going on in friendly companionship for eight years now. The immediate effects of the conjunction were an impaired appetite for food, and a waning of the moral sense. In evidence of the latter change was the fact, that an intense jealousy had taken possession of her imagination. The mental pathologic condition was of that kind which Brierre de Boismont denominates a folie raisonnanle. Her propensities, as evidenced in her habitual conduct, appeared more and more in contrast with her ordinary discourse as time went on, for her conversational gifts as once displayed were of a very superior order.

The present condition is this. The whiskey having been suspended she takes food with a relish; and, besides being unhampered by a multiplicity of household cares, she goes abroad much in the open air. Her consumption of morphine for a month together amounts to 12 drachms, with scarcely a variation for such period.

The case suggests several inquiries. Was the cause a remote rather than a proximate cause, a hereditary proclivity that is, or was there an exciting cause only, the peculiar condition that had ensued upon the new relation? Or, was it the maternal example that had operated as the main force? Or, rather, may not all the supposed conditions have coalesced in joint operation? “Felix qui pohiit rerum cognoscere causns.”

A very efficient, but as is to be hoped, a very occasional cause at the most is the solitary vice, but which was, as confessed, a cooperating influence in one of the instances included in our enumeration. A pretext for the procuring of laudanum in particular, not unfamiliar to the apothecary, is the pretended need of a liniment. Jones of B. had for several years a regular visitor, who required 6 to 8 ounces weekly on account of “neuralgia in the knee.” The liquid was regularly applied, no doubt, but to the epithelial lining of the oesophagus rather, and not to the cutaneous surface. This is orthodox practice, going upon the principle of metastasis or sympathetic transference. An ingenious excuse is oftentimes as good a passport as any.

In the inventory of proximate causes, a very liberal share is set down to the credit of the Faculty; if not beyond their deserts yet in the very face of their disclaimers. Too indiscriminately perhaps have they been pronounced in juridical parlance accessories before as well as after the fact. Some there are who prescribe opiates as a convenience under a pressing exigency, or as a cover to ignorance and to gain time in awaiting a more distinct evolution of symptoms, callous to the conviction that they may be “sowing dragon’s teeth meanwhile that shall by-and-by leap forth in their retributive power as armed men” (Van Deusen). Who can wonder that the sufferers, worn down as they get to be in body and abject as they become in spirit from perpetuated disease, are so eager in their extremity to surrender themselves into the hands of Opium’s unconscionable charlatans, seeing that even “Satan can transform himself into an angel of light?”

A case in point is from Moreton. The patient, a woman of thirty-five, in the full enjoyment of robust health before, became, through toiling incident to the care of children with domestic infelicities super-added, a subject for the doctor’s attention. Laudanum was prescribed as the cure-all, and by the end of five years about it turned out the end-all; for by this time the subject was utterly broken down past recovery.

The leading moral incitements, none the less various than the physical, and in potential force often surpassing them, are, perplexities in business, the reverses of fickle fortune, tedium vitce as from conjugal disagreement, “The chilling heaviness of heart From loss of love, the treachery of friends, Or death of those we dote on,” self-abandonment to a career of sensualism or crime, are as urgent as any. In every instance there is some pretended necessity put forward, when the real and sole reason – the “causarum prima exordia” – may be the passion for the stimulus itself and nothing else (Day).

Among the occasional causes should be specified what Forbes Winslow has denominated a “ psychological romance,” those “Fine Confessions, That make the reader envy the transgressions,” as saith the poet of Newstead concerning St. Augustine. When rhapsody shall have assumed the garb of earnest truth and romance shall have taken the impress of history, then may it be expected of De Quincey’s Confessions, draped as they are in a prismatic gaudiness of attire, that they shall work upon the unsuspecting reader as cautionary dissuasives (as they do not) rather than as provoking appetizers (as they do).

There is yet to be reported the very first exceptional case. That these “confessions to the fact” have directly encouraged tentative trials upon the same line of experiment is now very certainly known from independent counter-confessions.

The Rev. Walter Colton, late a chaplain in the U. S. Navy, having read out of curiosity De Quincey’s narrative at a time when he happened to be on the Mediterranean station, was tempted to make a trial of opium in his own person. The dose was inordinately large, and the effect appears to have been in proportion. “Soon lost to the realities of the outside world (so runs the narrative) for two days and two nights continuously, I awoke at length confused in mind and exhausted in body, having been recalled to my proper self, but only through the assiduous and untiring attentions and soothings of my bosom-friend. Let no one like me venture encounter with the dreamy ecstasies, the agonizing terrors of the opium dream; it is like scaling the battlements of heaven, only to make a desperate plunge into the fiery pit below.”

Blair, the omnivorous bookworm, “who while yet a youth lived upon ale, opium, brandy, and books,” was led to experiment upon himself in the same way and from the same persuasion (Knickerbocker, 1842). An attempt at abandonment, made after a time and in evident earnest, had brought him down from 80 grains to 17 grains; but here he stuck fast; for though his constipation had relaxed, and comfortable sleep to the extent of two hours and more had returned, nevertheless the ravenous gnawing in the stomach reviving compelled him to work up to his maximum again. Discouragements besides, growing out of irregular occupation and pecuniary embarrassments, appear to have disheartened him altogether, and we hear of him last being about to leave the country for his London home again. Many an Ephraimite is thus “joined to his idols.”

To the misuse of the pen, chargeable against De Quincey, must be superadded the weightier responsibility of domestic example. A sister of his, living under the same roof, followed in his wake, and so perseveringly as to have become in the course of a few years as spell-bound under the enchantment as he himself was (Sinclair). Five similar instances of daughters following the pernicious course of the mothers have come under the direct cognizance of the writer. Such in its plenitude is the power of example, that imperious dictator of all that’s good or bad in human nature.”

“Velocius et citius nos Corrumpunt exempla domestica.” — Juvenal.