Posts Tagged ‘Drugs’
From 1999 to 2010, the sale of prescription painkillers to pharmacies and doctors’ offices quadrupled. In the exact same time span, the number of overdose deaths from prescription painkillers also quadrupled, rising to almost 17,000…
How the American opiate epidemic was started by one pharmaceutical company: “Poison Pill.”
* Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary
As we note that “one pill makes you larger and one pill makes you small,” we might send re-engineered birthday greetings to Sir Thomas Bouch; he was born on this date in 1822. A railway engineer and executive whose career began at age 17, Bouch was knighted for designing the two-mile-long Tay River Bridge— on which an estimated 75 people died when the bridge collapsed. An enquiry found Bouch to be liable, by virtue of bad design and construction; he died four months after the verdict.
Bouch is thus also indirectly responsible for the best-known poem, “The Tay Bridge Disaster,” by the gentleman widely-regarded to have been the the worst published poet in British history, William Topaz McGonagall.
* Andy Warhol
As we adjust our dials, we might send transcendental birthday greetings to Albert Hofmann; he was born on this date in 1906. As a young chemist at Sandoz in Switzerland, Hofmann was searching for a respiratory and circulatory stimulant when he fabricated lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD); handling it, he absorbed a bit through his fingertips and realized that the compound had psychoactive effects. Three days later, on April 19, 1943– a day now known as “Bicycle Day”– Hofmann intentionally ingested 250 micrograms of LSD then rode home on a bike, a journey that became, pun intended, the first intentional acid trip. Hofmann was also the first person to isolate, synthesize, and name the principal psychedelic mushroom compounds psilocybin and psilocin.
He died in 2008, at the age of 102.
THE CANON OF PHILOSOPHY STUDENT KARAOKE SONGS
By Jarry Lee
“Total Eclipse of Descartes”
“Don’t You (Foucault About Me)”
“U Kant Touch This”
“Hit Me Baby Wittgenstein”
“Camus Feel the Love Tonight?”
“Get the Party Sartred”
“I Kissed Hegel (And I Liked It)”
“Ain’t No Montaigne High Enough”
“Pop, Locke & Drop It”
“Bataille Will Always Love You”
“My Milkshake Brings All the Baudrillard”
“Rousseau Vain (You Probably Think This Song is About You)”
“Love Voltaire Us Apart”
* Ludwig “Baby” Wittgenstein
As we clear our throats, we might might send psychedelic birthday greetings to Terence Kemp McKenna; he was born on this date in 1948. Often called called the “Timothy Leary of the 90s,” McKenna was a philosopher, psychonaut, ethnobotanist, lecturer, and author. His writings on the consciousness-expanding capacity of hallucinogenic drugs earned him some enemies. In 1993 Judy Corman, vice president of Phoenix House of New York, a drug treatment center, said in a letter to The New York Times: “Surely the fact that Terence McKenna says that the psilocybin mushroom ‘is the megaphone used by an alien, intergalactic Other to communicate with mankind’ is enough for us to wonder if taking LSD has done something to his mental faculties.” But that same year, biologist Richard Evans Schultes, of Harvard University, wrote in American Scientist in a review of McKenna’s book Food of the Gods, that it was; “a masterpiece of research and writing” and that it “should be read by every specialist working in the multifarious fields involved with the use of psychoactive drugs.” Concluding that “it is, without question, destined to play a major role in our future considerations of the role of the ancient use of psychoactive drugs, the historical shaping of our modern concerns about drugs and perhaps about man’s desire for escape from reality with drugs.”
It’s fine to hand-to-hand for some hat, but critical to insure ground control… If you’re going to spark it up, best to be in a space ship… And surely best to skip sack and slick altogether…
Find the decoder ring at argot.com’s “Drug Slang”
* G.K. Chesterton
As we take two and promise to call in the morning, we might recall that it was on this date in 1965, at the conclusion on Alan Freed‘s third consecutive “Rock ‘n’ Roll Show” at the Stage Theater in Hartford, police arrested 11 teens and closed the theater. At the subsequent hearing at which the theater’s license was revoked, respected psychiatrist and head of Hartford Institute of Living Dr. Francis J. Braceland testified that rock & roll is “a communicable disease with music appealing to adolescent insecurity & driving teenagers to do outlandish things…It’s cannibalistic & tribalistic.”
From the ever-illuminating Lapham’s Quarterly.
As we remember to use a coaster, we might send shocking birthday greetings to a man who genrrously lubricated his labors, the enfant terrible of French letters, Arthur Rimbaud; he was born on this date in 1854. With his buddy, Symbolist poet Paul Verlaine, Rimbaud was a leader of the Decadent Movement; fueled by absinthe and hashish, he succeeded in shocking a literary establishment that was nonetheless awed by his visionary verse, which influenced modern literature and arts, inspired various musicians, and prefigured Surrealism.
All known literature is written in the language of common sense—except Rimbaud’s
– Paul Valéry
Spiders routinely spin the sort of web pictured above. When they are doing drugs, however, spiders’ webs become really interesting…
Cannabinoid receptors have been found in non-human mammals, birds, reptiles, fish and even some invertebrates, so there are plenty of animals that react to marijuana. Most of those reactions aren’t that surprising, or all that interesting, though. Dogs and cats act kind of funny and groggy after eating weed (please don’t feed them your stash, no matter how YouTube famous you want to be, though—the stuff can be toxic to them, especially dogs), and monkeys exposed to THC keep wanting more.
Spiders, though, are infinitely interesting when they get stoned because the effects of the drug are clear in the odd-looking webs they build afterwards.
Getting spiders high for science started in 1948, when German zoologist H.M. Peters got fed up with trying to study web-building behavior in spiders who wouldn’t do him the courtesy of working on his schedule. His garden spiders tended to build their webs between two and five a.m., and he asked his pharmacologist friend P.N. Witt if there might be some chemical stimulant that would coax the spiders into building their webs at a more reasonable time.
Witt tried giving the spiders some amphetamine and, while they kept building at their usual hour (to Peters’ dismay), the two scientists did notice that those webs were more haphazard than normal. Over the next few decades, Witt continued to dose spiders with a smorgasbord of psychoactive substances, including marijuana, LSD, caffeine and mescaline, to see how they reacted. Since spiders can’t use tiny bongs or drink from little mugs, Witt and his team either dissolved the drugs in sugar water or injected them into flies and then fed the spiders with them.
The drugs affected the size and shape of the spiders’ webs, the number of radii and spirals, the regularity of thread placement and other characteristics. By comparing photographs and measurements of normal and “drug webs,” Witt and other researchers could see how the different substances affected different aspects of the web and, by extension, the spiders’ motor skills and behavior.
Read the full story– and see webs spun on caffeine and chloral hydrate– at “What Does Marijuana Do to Spiders?”
As we commune with our inner monkey, we might recall that it was on this date in 490 BCE – ironically, as this year it’s Labor Day – that Pheidippides of Athens set out on the run that inspired the Marathon. Pheidippides was on a mission seeking military support from Sparta in defense against the invading Persian army. Tradition (that’s to say, Herodotus) holds that he ran the ran 246 km (153 miles) between the two city-states in two days. The Spartans, constrained by religious law, were unwilling to help until the next full moon. So two days later, Phidippides ran the return leg alone.
Pheidippides then ran the 40 km (25+ miles) from the battlefield to Athens to announce the Greek victory over Persia in the Battle of Marathon; he uttered the word Nenikékamen (“We have won”), collapsed, and died on the spot from exhaustion.
“You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes”*…
The Top Pharmaceutical Products by US Retail Sales in 2011
Compiled and Produced by the Njardarson Group (The University of Arizona): Edon Vitaku, Elizabeth A. Ilardi, Jon T. Njardarson
* Morpheus to Neo, in The Matrix.
As we swallow, we might spare a thought for Donald J. Cram; he died on this date in 2001. An organic chemist who specialized in the creation of molecules that mimic the chemical behaviour of molecules found in living systems, Cram shared a Nobel Prize for work that effectively founded the field of host-guest chemistry… and that led to advances in drug-delivery systems that enabled many of the products pictured above.