Modern Day Opium Craze

Sipping Poppy Tea.In a story in the Sacramento News and Review, Peter Thompson writes about his drug use. At 16 he tried making mead, but when that failed he continued to look elsewhere:

I began to see the supermarket and drugstore as potential drug dealers. I drank bottles of cough syrup before I knew what dextromethorphan (DXM) was. I ate catnip and didn’t feel anything. I ate nutmeg and felt everything. There was no Internet to guide me and nothing in the library about morning-glory seeds. My mother just happened to have some Heavenly Blues in the junk drawer. I had never seen the carpet move like that before. I tried everything in the medicine aisle and everything in the bulk food hoppers. I became a Spiceisle junkie.

His story goes on, and it appears that he eventually becomes an adult with a wife and a house before finding a drug he can really put his arms around. He finds a recipe for opium tea, made from the flowers of poppies. And where to find poppies? Where else but eBay?

A query turned up all sizes and quantities of poppies. Some, called gigantheums, were as big as tennis balls. A special of “600 XXL-sized gigantheums” was selling for $399. Fortunately, for crafting projects requiring so many poppy plants, financing was available for $17 per month. For all of us hard-core flower arrangers, of course.

At first, the plants came double-boxed, rubber-banded by the dozen with the stems intact. But after a few more orders, the seller seemed to cut out the pretense that I might actually be using the poppies for floral arrangements and just sent the pods themselves.

The story is getting some strong reaction on AlterNet, where the comments reflect a quite a broad and interesting range of opinions.

What I didn’t see in the opinions, but interests me, is the notion that addiction, even the life threatening sort, has nothing to do with drugs. Thompson was itching for a high at 16 before he even knew why he wanted one.

At the end of his story, Thompson has been clean for a couple weeks, but:

The thing about it is I realize that I’m going to order more poppies. It’s not a question of “if.” I know where I can get them. It’s only a matter of time before I do this all over again. As long as someone sells the pods, and nobody cares to stop them, my recidivism is all but assured.

Who bears responsibility here? These stories end up being a sort of proof-by-anecdote that “drugs are bad,” but I think the real lesson is more complex.

I may be blaming the victim here, but the problem isn’t the seller. Building supply stores aren’t responsible for what their customers do with the bricks they purchase. There are lousy drivers out there, but nobody can hold dealers our manufacturers responsible for their crashes (except in the case of equipment failure), so why demonize eBay on this one?

14 thoughts on “Modern Day Opium Craze

  1. Every plant on earth has some sort of potential use by people, and people have the right to use what they want. i’m high off opium now just discovered it. if you can’t do a drug and not get addictied, dont fucking do it. shit you controll what goes inside you, not the guy who sells it. the dealer is not responsible for anything that happens to his or her customers.

  2. no, this piece is not satirical, and there is nothing ‘obvious’ in that direction. everything is straightforward.. poppy pods are available on ebay, and they’re usually strong…. i do agree though that this guy just won’t take responsibility for himself, which is very childish.

  3. It is the people who blame others fault, note I am being ironic. Seriously, for the most we are on a predetermined ride, bit like a rollercoaster, which is not to say that sometimes we don’t need help but again it is predetermined. Life is an adventure and there are many learning experiences, some are psycho active experiences and from these we often discover things about ourselves and the Universe. Why should government or big business obstruct our journey?

  4. The less this is in the media the happier I will be. Everyone shut the fuck up, please. It’s flowers. And tea. Go drink vodka if it upsets you.

  5. Come on that is like saying if they would quit selling tobbaco I could quit smokeing and not get lung cancer. If Exxon quit selling gas nobody would get killed in a car wreak. Oh well maybe if the supermarket quit selling food I could loose weight. It is the ones who refuse to take responsability for thier own choices and point the blame at someone else that mess up every thing for every one else. We have lost enough of our freedoms as it is. Every one please mind your own affairs. If you don’t like something then don’t do it. Go to NA or something and work {your} program, NOT MINE!!!

  6. This article reads like second-rate Jack Kerouac or Hunter S. Thompson. Or maybe more like Jason Blair or Stephen Glass. As an earlier commentor pointed out, the author clearly had a trajectory into extreme addictive behavoir long before he found poppies or really any drug at all. Further, while all should be warned that poppy tea is definitely adddictive, significantly so, the author is either grossly exaggerating his usage and its effects, or has an unusual reaction to poppy tea. I am a regular user of the tea (and on-and-off since 1994), and I get my pods from the same internet source that Thompson did. The quantities of pods he claims he consumed are too much to be practical. One thing about poppy tea is that it is to some extent self-regulating. If you make the tea too strong (too many pods per pint of water) it will be difficult to impossible to drink and KEEP down. He literally would have had to drink gallons of very strong tea and keep that up for weeks to produce the addiction he describes. Possible I suppose, but since he clearly also is a very experienced user of a variety of legal and illegal drugs, with access to the same, he could have satisfied his habit at a third the cost with heroin (smoking or snorting if needles were out). That’s primarily why I don’t believe him. He is a savvy, longterm druggie, but he claims not to behave at all like one, and without some sort of explanation why (like living in the Styx away from heroin dealers, but he says he did all this with poppies while living in Reno?). Again, yes poppies can cause problems, even for experienced users and addicts. But the potential for OD is almost nil except in those who are truly opioid naive, and also reckless and very unlucky (with a cast iron stomach and no taste buds!). A very inflammatory and misleading article.

  7. Yea, i think blaming ebay is childish.

    “As long as someone sells the pods, and nobody cares to stop them, my recidivism is all but assured.”

    Thats like an Alcoholic, saying “as long as someone sells liquor, im sure to be an alcoholic” and blaming everyone but himself…

  8. Poppy tea is harmless compared to alcohol. Maybe if Monday Night Football was sponsored by poppies, then it would be OK. The very, very , very small amount of people that will go through that much trouble pose no harm to anyone. The tea tastes really, really bad and there are so many side effects from the other alkaloids that it makes it not worth it. Lets attack the makers of oxycontin and all the stock-holding doctors that handed it out like candy to anyone. Case and point, I was given 20mg oxys for a sore throat…with out asking….

  9. all of you can suck my balls. im wasted off opium right now and i hate all of you and i just cried for a minute and i threw a brick of cheese through my kitchen window and i threw a midget onto a trampoline and mixed a chef up with the cookie monster in a bowl and smoked them. wooooohoooooo!!!!

  10. You would be money and time ahead if you use black tar and smoke on foil one can also make black tar tea if you wish. thanx

  11. aye folks hows it goin im retarded on the tea rightnow i think its a great natural drug but people need to be carefull try not to make it nationally recognized by fuckin up and drinkin to much kno ur shit and if u dont look it up on tha net from multible sources yea thats all i had to say… ps im hella loaded

  12. I have a project in school to find out how Herion,Opium is made from poppie plants . send me the order in writing to make such a drug.I am clean and will not us it,just want to know how Herion is made from plant for school.Please e-mail me back

  13. Hey there Duane. I do have the recipe for making it. However, I hardly believe that you are doing this for a school project. What teacher would risk his tenure, employment, and/or license to allow you to such a project.

    Anyway, if you want the recipe all you have to do is go on the web and look around. You WILL find it. I did. If you don’t find it, then post again, and I will let you know.

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