In a stunning historical reversal, Frank Dikötter, Lars Laamann, and Zhou Xun tell this different story of the relationship between opium and the Chinese. They reveal that opium actually had few harmful effects on either health or longevity; in fact, it was prepared and appreciated in highly complex rituals with inbuilt constraints preventing excessive use. Opium was even used as a medicinal panacea in China before the availability of aspirin and penicillin. But as a result of the British effort to eradicate opium, the Chinese turned from the relatively benign use of that drug to heroin, morphine, cocaine, and countless other psychoactive substances.
Narcotic Culture provides abundant evidence that the transition from a tolerated opium culture to a system of prohibition produced a “cure” that was far worse than the disease.
Delving into a history of drugs and their abuses, Narcotic Culture is part revisionist history of imperial and twentieth-century Britain and part sobering portrait of the dangers of prohibition.
Same story as with hemp and tobacco – how exploitation and anti-bad-bad-”drug”-propaganda turn a gift into a poison…
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Narcotic Culture: A History of Drugs in China