Philosophy of the Drug Film: Joachim Trier’s Oslo, August 31 and Louis Malle’s The Fire Within

Le Feu FolletThe philosophical drug film is a modern invention. Its literary equivalent dates at least to de Quincey. Most of these stories are biography, and whether or not you agree with the implication that there can be thoughtful purpose to addiction, even the medical community presupposes (in scientific answers) the philosophical question: “Why?” Unlike Trainspotting, with its emphasis on character, sensation and style (not unlike its source material)—or more didactic/exploitative predecessors such as The Man With the Golden Arm, Trash, The Panic in Needle Park, Christiane F. (ad infinitum/ad nauseam)—this rare breed of drug film distinguishes itself from its cousins by having something to say beyond didactics, grit, shock; even beyond characterisation and style. As of yet, most are literary adaptations; but film is a young medium.

Joachim Trier’s Oslo, August 31 (2011) might be called a film about social isolation (Trier has highlighted this theme in interviews) and self-reflection, but it is also that most curious kind of film: a philosophical film about addiction. Like Louis Malle’s The Fire Within (1963), it is a contemporized adaptation of the 1931 French novella Le Feu Follet, by Pierre Drieu La Rochelle (published in English as Will o’ the Wisp). The novella is based on the life of Dadaist/Surrealist poet/dandy Jacques Rigaut, who promised in his twenties to commit suicide at 30, and was as good as his word. I have long loved Malle’s film, and would like to have updated the story again myself. So it was much to my surprise when, by chance, I came across Oslo, August 31, and scene by scene, noted the story it was based on, as well as the fact that there might not be much point in filming it again for a while in light of Trier’s excellent work. Thankfully, Trier abandons Malle’s outdated moral façade of alcoholism and returns to the source with heroin as the protagonist’s drug of choice. The literary tradition of these stories powerfully suggests there is no more philosophical drug user than the intellectual opiate addict, whose drug does not stupefy the mind, and whose lifestyle presents both a rejection of and by society that surpasses many plights of poverty and prison, let alone the plight of the common drunk.

The Fire Within

“We drunks are poor cousins, and we know it. Anyway, we fade away fast.”

Alain Leroy (Maurice Ronet, in his best performance), is an alcoholic who doesn’t want to leave the comfort of his apartment at a luxury rehab clinic. He has made a conscious decision to end his life on July 21. In the meantime, he visits his friends one by one, taking a last chance to look for reasons to live. Sometimes he makes his visitations with the composure of a resurrected messiah, and at other times—when his emotions rise to the fore with alcohol, bonhomie (or lack thereof), or sexual attraction—he loses composure altogether. It is precisely these emotional experiences that present Alain with the opportunity to reconsider.

In a parallel life, Anders (Anders Danielsen Lie), a heroin addict two weeks away from completing rehab, journeys to Oslo for a job interview. His is the converse of Alain’s journey. Anders comes to Oslo with reasons to live, after a sudden attempted suicide in the opening of the film, whereas Alain is giving life one last chance to convince him not to leave it. By this logic, Alain is seeking unconvincing and Anders convincing that he should try again. This departure in point of view is the defining difference of the film.

While Alain starts his journey with composure before encountering emotional experiences, Anders starts his journey with a baptism of sorts. He emerges soaking wet and in tears from a sudden attempt to drown himself. It’s this rebirth that shapes his journey to Oslo, in which he becomes the metaphorical ghost of the past making visitations upon his friends and his world. But Anders journey is really an internal one; more so than Alain’s. Anders’ rationality grows and his emotions subside on his journey in Oslo. He responds like a man tempted by trials, with increasing calmness and conviction. Were it not for the trip to Oslo, Anders may have simply made another miserable attempt to walk into the lake. Instead, his journey provides a quest on which he confronts his fears with realities. Whether the conviction he draws from the experience is morally justifiable is irrelevant. Life offers no simple answers. In a sense, these are coming-of-age stories where maturity is reached in the contemplation of suicide, which is to say contemplation of the meaning of life.

Anders and Thomas

Anders rejects the muddled arguments of the complacent intellectual.

Alain questions the purpose of the academic’s life

Anders exists in a world with more faults than he can accept. But he also refuses to absolve himself of blame, or to accept platitudes as substitutes for the honest appraisal of the world that he demands. His first visitation is upon his friend, Thomas (Hans Olav Brenner), a university lecturer. Thomas, who looks as if he’s being haunted by a ghost, patronizes Anders with irrelevant quotations. He offers him stale platitudes and an invitation to complacency. Thomas offers an empty defense of life and the world. His head is “bursting with trivialities,” as his lecture culminates in a finale in which he explains how trivial his own existence is. When Thomas says, “Be a loser, if that’s what you want,” he means it literally and without sarcasm, and goes on to explain the boredom of his life, which is only interrupted by intermittent moments of little consequence. “I got a Playstation. We sit and play video games,” he admits, somewhat depressed. For all his ability to quote Proust with little or no point, it is Thomas who is the loser, and he suggests as much with his own total complacency. “Happy is probably an exaggeration, but it’s okay. You can get there if you want to.” To which Anders replies, “It’s not as if I want to live your life… It seems meaningless to me.” From Anders’ point of view, it is Thomas who is the ghost.

“I was dealing a bit as well. Should I put that on my CV?”

“I admire what you do, because you don’t believe in it.”

Anders assesses himself and the world with growing clarity on his journey. He calls himself stupid and unable to write, yet proves he is capable and intelligent in his job interview at the newspaper. He doesn’t avoid the interview: he takes the reasonable steps society might expect of him. But in the confines of the editor’s office, Anders can’t help but find more fault with more evidence of a vacuous world. At the editor’s invitation to comment, he criticizes the newspaper’s articles about HBO series and video games. The editor’s inane response: “People want something light.”

It is when the world seems unreasonable that Anders refuses to compromise. He won’t lie about his past, and is thus confronted by the editor’s palpable unease when the man finds he’s interviewing a heroin addict. But it’s Anders who rejects the editor, not the other way around. Emotional self-defense notwithstanding, Anders appraises the world with increasing rationality as the journey wears on. Rational appraisal gradually outweighs emotion and ultimately strengthens his convictions. Anders can’t accept a world where his arguably irrelevant past addiction would prevent him from being hired. He won’t even tell a harmless lie to compromise with such a world. He may set too high standards, but his pessimism and self-deprecation isn’t necessarily an emotional weakness. Anders is an intellectual, not an escapist. He reaches nihilism as a matter of logic. It’s hard to imagine Anders voice when Alain says to the object of his dislike, “I admire what you do, because you don’t believe in it.” Alain is the escapist who wishes he could go through the motions. Anders refuses on principle to try.

Alone in the crowd.

In a memorable scene, Anders sits in a restaurant observing the lives and conversations of those around him. At a nearby table a girl discusses a bucket list of things she would like to do in life: go skinny dipping, get a good job, make useful every day items—little things among the obligatory desires for fame and fortune. Anders will be confronted with some of these same experiences on his journey, and he will reject them all outright. To Anders they sound like ripples on the surface of time. He is looking for something more meaningful and real, but no one has it on offer.

So he ventures into the pretty, sunlit streets, where is alone with his thoughts among the bustling crowds. He recounts to himself what he learned from his parents. It is another inventory of delicate minutia, the small things in life that Thomas and the girl in the restaurant find worth living for. These memories, too, offer no real answers. Like the past, the future has little to offer him either. Children are a metaphor for this future in the film, and children consistently interrupt his journey, but Anders’ world-weariness never shows any cracks. To put off the search for meaning into the next generation is to simply spin a wheel back to the starting point.

The arc of the journey: emotion to reason, coming-of-age as coming-of-death

Anders is relatively self-assured about his ability to restrain himself from relapse if he chooses life. He simply doesn’t make that choice. His visit to the heroin dealer is a means to an end, not a thrill. He stands there bored, with contempt for the aimless life of the dealer who, like Thomas, has nothing to speak of but video games, aside from his depressing accumulation of electronics and shoes. Anders, unsurprisingly, is unimpressed. Perhaps he has a better fix on the meaning of life than those who have lived safer lives, and gone through less tragedy. What doesn’t kill you may not make you stronger, but it certainly opens your eyes.

As Anders says to Thomas, “It’s not about the heroin. Not really.”

Joachim Trier’s  Oslo, August 31 is available on DVD and Hulu Plus.

Louis Malle’s The Fire Within is available on Criterion DVD and Hulu Plus.

DEA Investigates Journalists For Krokodil Abuse

Krokodil Tears

NEW YORK, MONDAY, 4:31 PM — Journalists are hysterical over krokodil, the new designer drug that is being abused by Rupert Murdoch’s employees and scaring the sanity out of reporters everywhere. One alleged journalist spoke to us confidentially, saying, “It’s perfect. There’s nothing else to write about. And this story gives you a serious buzz. No one read my last article, about the dog that saved a pet hamster by swimming underwater. But people injecting gasoline, and flesh falling from human limbs in time for Halloween, man, people love that. “Flesh-eating krokodil”. See? That’s a what’s-it-called. Anyway, I can come up with this stuff constantly. I just make it all up as I go.” The alleged journalist then looked nervous and shouted, “I am a golden god!” before spinning around at high speed in an office chair.

Journalists may have something more to fear than the truth, however, as several DEA spokespersons have admitted the agency believes journalists are actually getting high on the krokodil story itself, exhibiting disorientation and delusion. However, one spokesperson added, “It could be Rupert Murdoch is just playing another one of his famous pranks. Like when he tapped the dead girl’s phone. For Halloween.”

DEA has been monitoring krokodil story abuse on alleged news sites like FoxNews.com, DailyMail.co.uk and CNN.com. They are not confining their investigation to the Murdoch cartel. The agency says it is now “very concerned” about reports of reports about krokodil that show telltale signs of krokodil story hysteria. “Journalists are getting high on their own product, basically,” said a confidential DEA informant who works in the mail room of a major newspaper in Chicago that rhymes with noon.

The DEA is officially charged with enforcing drug prohibition in the United States and where ever else it feels like, but spends most of its time shooting civilians in developing nations, seizing the assets of everyone it arrests for a drug crime, spending the money it seized from everyone it arrested for a drug crime, lobbying Congress for more funding, and trying to convince the world that drug users are terrorists.

The DEA now has plans to send its sanest operatives to calm the krokodil fever. The agency primarily intends to use make-believe and hand puppets to deflect media criticism of itself. A DEA agent who believed he was off-record explained, “We had to draw a line when they started trying to embarrass DEA, suggesting it was our job to do something about some sick terrorist junkies.” When asked why hand puppets would be used in addition to the regular practice of employing make-believe in such operations, the agent said, “These reporters who are high on krokodil stories are basically like the kids in high school you would sell Aspirin to instead of LSD, and then you’d watch them act like they were tripping out. They are extremely suggestible.”

DEA PR flacks explained today that the hand puppets are necessary to show intoxicated journalists the difference between appropriate and inappropriate behavior–but not when it comes to their drug story abuse itself. An angry man wearing a jacket with the letters DEA printed on the back explained, “It’s not about them, it’s about us. Because we don’t care about a bunch of journalists getting high on a story about a drug they don’t understand. And we definitely don’t care about a few junky terrorists who are injecting gasoline soaked heroin, or crocodile, or whatever you call it. Our job is to protect DEA, not the public. For example, these sock puppets cost $92 a pair, which is a significant savings over our last operational purchase. Our budget is very important to us. It’s one of the things we’re working hard to protect. That and America.”

Early preview access to the hand puppet presentation indicates that appropriate DEA behavior is defined as robbing drug dealers at gunpoint and spending the stolen money on toys and military equipment, including more guns that fire larger caliber bullets, which allows agents to simulate Grand Theft Auto style video game violence in the real world. Inappropriate DEA behavior is defined as having anything to do with public health or drug treatment, which has been called “helping terrorists” by the agency.

A prototype DEA puppet,  for operational use against journalists in the "Crocodile War"

Prototype DEA puppet, for operational use against journalists in the “Crocodile War”

The current DEA operation follows last week’s daring daylight raid by a news crew on a single beleaguered agent in a DEA parking lot. The agent was overheard shouting while fleeing from reporters, “That’s not our job. We just shoot people and take their money.” When finally cornered, the agent attempted to placate the throng of desperate journalists, all showing visible signs of krokodil story withdrawal. He whimpered, “If krokodil exists, and I’m not saying it does, then the ones using it are the terrorists. Because they’re terrorizing Americans with those disgusting skin lesions on their faces or whatever the hell those things are, and also they’re trying to embarrass a federal agency. And embarrassing a federal agency is a federal crime. And they’re antisocial and violent. Only a violent person would do that to themselves.” Satiated with quotes to fill column space, the journalists began to nod off and the unidentified agent drove away at high speed in a black Cadillac Escalade with 22 inch rims.

For now, frantic and confused journalists are seeking their next fix in a search for photographs of facial skin necrosis, which many agree would be an improvement over shots of gangrenous arms.

UPDATE: Facial skin necrosis images have been tracked down by pretend-journalists at the Daily Mail, who have developed a serious krokodil story habit

That was not journalism. And neither is this.

Interview: Thomas De Quincey on Krokodil, Famous Author Has Sympathy For Victims

Thomas De Quincy invented drug confessional literature, but he would like the imitations to stop.

Thomas De Quincy invented the drug confessional, but would like the imitations to stop.

Junkphilosophy.com has scored an interview with Thomas De Quincey, the literary founder of modern drug culture.

Today we’ll ask him about his thoughts on krokodil. Krokodil is the media’s new darling drug. It’s a disaster in home cooking—a poorly made, gasoline and lighter fluid tainted version of desomorphine that the sensationalist press thinks is some kind of new invention. Made in home kitchens by desperate junkies in Russia, krokodil is now frightening junkies in more civilised countries whose previous fears mostly centered on being imprisoned for the rest of their lives for trying to feel good; to feel the way other people feel every day and take for granted. The media doesn’t see the irony that as a product of desperation, kitchen chemistry, and the absence of junky access to necessary medication, krokodil is simply yet another consequence of drug prohibition; no more and no less so than was the HIV epidemic in Britain after the banning of needle exchanges.

JUNKPHILOSOPHY:  Thomas De Quincey, it’s an honor to speak with the man who single-handedly invented modern drug culture. How are you?

THOMAS DE QUINCEY: In the phrase of ladies in the straw, ‘as well as can be expected.’

JP: What are your thoughts on the media’s new drug craze: krokodil?

TDQ: Often did this hideous reptile haunt my dreams.

JP: Your work has been heavily influenced by dreams and has, in turn, influenced psychoanalysis. How does krokodil haunt you?

TDQ: Many times the very same dream was broken up in the very same way: I heard gentle voices speaking to me (I hear everything when I am sleeping); and instantly I awoke: it was broad noon; and my children were standing, hand in hand, at my bed-side; come to show me their coloured shoes…

JP: Do you have personal experience with krokodil?

TDQ: The cursed crocodile became to me the object of more horror than almost all the rest.

JP: Well, krokodil certainly makes your laudanum habit seem harmless by comparison. But getting back to…

TDQ: I was compelled to live with him… for centuries. I escaped sometimes, and found myself in Chinese houses, with cane tables, etc. All the feet of the tables, sofas, etc. soon became instinct with life: the abominable head of the crocodile, and his leering eyes, looked out at me, multiplied into a thousand repetitions: and I stood loathing and fascinated.

Crocodile

JP: I’d like to take us out of dreams and back to reality for a minute. (This isn’t the Daily Mail, after all.) Krokodil is made from bad internet recipes in home kitchens and supposedly contains gasoline, red phosphorus and possibly lighter fluid. Apparently, none of the big-time bootleggers are making it in their labs. If they were, I suppose this wouldn’t be a story because they’d make it at least to the pharmaceutical standard of not immediately causing their customers’ deaths. With that in mind, why do you think anyone would use krokodil?

TDQ: How came any reasonable being to subject himself to such a yoke of misery, voluntarily to incur a captivity so servile, and knowingly fetter himself with such a seven-fold chain?

JP: Yeah.

TDQ: Infirmity and misery do not, of necessity, imply guilt. I protest that so awful was the transition from the damned crocodile, and the other unutterable monsters and abortions… to the sight of innocent human natures and of infancy, that, in the mighty and sudden revulsion of mind, I wept, and could not forbear it, as I kissed their faces.

JP: I’m glad to see some sympathy shown for the people who used krokodil. Especially by a person in your position: a philosopher, man of letters and celebrity. Because I think you’re about the only one, celebrity or not, who is showing any sympathy.

TDQ: I am terrified by the modes of life, by the manners, and the barrier of utter abhorrence, and want of sympathy, placed between us by feelings deeper than I can analyze.

JP: Well said. Finally, on the challenge to prohibition that krokodil raises. Should this be a lesson that society must accept realities about the consequences of Prohibition? Heroin assisted treatment has proven successful in England, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Germany, etc. while Prohibition has proven a failure for a century, arguably causing more misery and death than prohibited drugs. Do you think that krokodil is a by-product of Prohibition itself? That the forces of prohibition—that they are the ones mainly responsible for—

TDQ: The main agents.

JP: Exactly.

TDQ: It may be observed, generally, that wherever two thoughts stand related to each other by a law of antagonism and exist, as it were, by mutual repulsion, they are apt to suggest each other.

JP: So, your take on prohibitionists?

TDQ: I could sooner live with lunatics, or brute animals.

JP: Thanks for speaking with us. It’s been a dream.

TDQ: I thank you.

Child Riding the Krokodil

Child on Krokodil

Silk Road Online Drug Bazaar was a Libertarian “Economic Simulation”

FBI claims Dread Pirate Roberts is actually a libertarian economic theorist

The FBI claims this pirate is actually a libertarian economic theorist

The FBI claims Ross William Ulbricht, 29, of Austin, Texas, ran an online drug market called the Silk Road using the alias Dread Pirate Roberts. Ross Ulbricht had this to say about his economic philosophy:

“I want to use economic theory as a means to abolish the use of coercion and agression amongst mankind… I believe violence, coercion and all forms of force by one person over another can come to an end. The most widespread and systemic use of force is amongst institutions and governments, so this is my current point of effort. The best way to change a government is to change the minds of the governed, however. To that end, I am creating an economic simulation to give people a first-hand experience of what it would be like to live in a world without the systemic use of force.”

Dread Pirate Roberts, by the way, is a character in the film The Princess Bride, who is not just one man, but a series of individuals who periodically pass the name and occupation of pirate captain to a chosen successor. The world seems to contain more than one radical libertarian willing to dress up their greed as a political ideology, so, you never know—maybe Ulbricht is just the latest captain of the Silk Road. Life imitates art.

Ulbricht hails from Texas, home of lots of other radical right wing libertarians, like perennial presidential contender Ron Paul. Cody Wilson deserves a mention, even if he considers himself an anarchist. Wilson is using 3-D printers to make assault rifles and isn’t breaking any laws. Regardless, libertarians want to give you some serious freedom. Or, at least, sell it to you.

Now, you may not be willing to view the Silk Road as anything but a for-profit endeavor. I’m sure that’s what the FBI thinks, not that they care one way or the other. But let’s imagine it really was an attempt to change the world.

Ross Ulbricht is actually a libertarian economic theorist

The FBI claims this man is actually a pirate from a 1980’s adventure film

The problem specifically with Silk Road is that it will take more than a radical “economic simulation” to achieve freedom from the injustices of the War on Drugs (Albricht’s quote didn’t get this specific, but it stands to reason if you ask, “freedom from what?”) Not to mention the fact that improving drug consumers’ shopping experiences (in what still amounts to a black market) doesn’t significantly improve drug safety. Having a feedback system and a more normalised shopping experience may have ensured that bad sellers got fewer customers, but the black market of Prohibition still guarantees the existence of toxicity, additives, and the poor manufacture of substances designed for human consumption. Drugs require control, safety—regulation, perhaps; which is anathema to many libertarians. The main problem then is the law, not the economy.

Second are cultural perceptions of drug use, and here Silk Road might have had some impact. Anything that lessens the stigma and risk of the black market has the cultural potential to change people’s minds about what it means to use drugs. But power (law) usually trumps culture (attitudes toward drug use). It’s a two-way street, and culture can change law, but only when cultural forces reach a critical mass. Normally, power dominates culture. And Dread Pirate Roberts is up against one of the great empires of our times, which puts his ability to effect cultural change there at a significant disadvantage.

As for the notion that laissez-faire economics leads to a more free society, let’s take a case Ulbricht himself mentions in the same LinkedIn comment: slavery. Slavery in the United States was certainly first and foremost a financial institution, but it didn’t end because of market changes. In fact, global market changes and rules restricting the U.S. market did very little to force change. It took a civil war to eradicate the market, and the culture of racism slavery created in the U.S. only shifted gradually over the following one hundred years.

To change unjust laws that correspond to social norms, you must first change what people believe. A social movement, not an economic simulation, is required to end the Drug War.

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Suboxone: Corporations and Doctors Exploit Addicts For Profit

Reckitt Benckiser chasing opiate addicts

Reckitt Benckiser chasing opiate addicts

Alexander Trocchi once wrote a dreamy tale (though not perhaps as strange and nightmarish as this one), in which he said there is no more systematic nihilism than that of being a junky in America. Systematic nihilism sounds like an oxymoron, but let’s continue anyway. Another happy storyteller advises we judge the degree of civilization in a society by entering its prisons. Wait. Don’t be frightened. Most of the prisoners here are admittedly harmless. They were persecuted for crimes in which they did no wrong and didn’t hurt a fly. Why would scientists and politicians and corporations want to hurt these harmless souls? Lest you judge this society not harshly enough, let me tell you a story.

Once upon a time, there was an exception made to the not-so-golden rule of leaving addiction treatment in the dark ages, which only served to illustrate it. Two generic potions, buprenorphine and naloxone, were compounded together by an evil corporation with the demonic epithet of Reckitt Benckiser. Reckitt’s financial wizardry yielded a magical patent from these simple, garden-variety potions. He named the newest monster he’d created Suboxone. Curiously, buprenorphine was already in use for the very purpose Suboxone was created. Even curioser, Reckitt added naloxone to poison the new potion!

Meanwhile, buprenorphine was thought to be safer than mean mister methadone because buprenorphine is just a partial agonist. Weak willed. And naloxone, you see, doesn’t mix well with buprenorphine, because naloxone is an opiate antagonist, which is to say it reverses the effects of opiates and can cause people to suffer the tortures of the damned if taken in the wrong way. And the wrong way to take naloxone is to take it at all. Unless, perhaps, you’re dying in the ER from a heroin overdose. It’s not the sort of thing you want for breakfast with your Honey Smacks.

So, evil Reckitt Benckiser bribed Congress and told the certain kind of doctors who don’t care much for their victims–sorry: patients–that the poisonous naloxone would provide for a very instructive punishment. It would happily cause unbearable agony if people misused nasty Suboxone. And if they didn’t “misuse” it, they’d still be taking naloxone anyway, even though it might be quite bad for their bodies! Evil Reckitt and the careless doctors showed little compassion, as they were quite prejudiced toward these people they were supposed to be helping. Governments, too, found the punishment element quite appealing, what with the aforementioned and widespread cultural prejudices that exist toward harmless, innocent, flower-loving, hippie junky scum. After all, these were the same evil scientists, evil doctors, and evil politicians who made sure all forms of prescribed codeine in the land of America would be cut heavily with Tylenol, in order to kill children by inducing liver failure if they tried to enjoy taking the pills! After lots of pressure, even the good doctors in Italy who had been prescribing buprenorphine switched to the toxic Suboxone, the better to protect themselves from the social prejudices generally aimed at their patients.

Before crooked old Benckiser rolled out his toxic potion, the politicians in their Congress rushed to help him by passing an enabling act for doctors to prescribe Suboxone. The National Institute on Drug Abuse helped fund evil Reckitt’s new cash cow with Mommy and Daddy’s taxpayer money, awarding Suboxone orphan drug status—pretending the evil monster was even good enough to be called an orphan drug at all! Reckitt, for his part, claimed he faced poverty and was doing this for all the children of the world. He begged and begged for government aid. Then, in 2011, Reckitt reaped $1.3 Billion in sales of the pointless drug and laughed all the way to the nearest, crookedest JP Morgan Chase Bank.

When Reckitt’s patent was about to expire on the Suboxone tablet, he patented a sublingual film version, and promptly claimed the tablet he had previously sold was killing children (literally, that’s what Reckitt claimed). Insane as it sounds, using this kind of propaganda made a lot of sense, because Reckitt was talking to people who had been brainwashed by hysterical antidrug TV ads in the 1980s. This attempt to keep the harmless patients paying through the nose didn’t work, however, as Reckitt was promptly sued by an eager manufacturer of generic Suboxone, who wanted to join the cash cow. That cash cow is still being slaughtered today since generic Suboxone costs more than generic buprenorphine which does the exact same thing without the added risks and side effects of constantly ingesting naloxone without reason. Why is it so? Because the evil scientists and politicians and doctors, just like drug pushers, conspired to make sure no one can get buprenorphine without the dirty naloxone cut added to it.

Monstrous Suboxone, of course, should never have been born. Buprenorphine already existed to help people. Reckitt behaved no differently than the mythological drug pusher of those hysterical 1980s taxpayer funded TV ads. The government predictably put its weight behind the giant corporation. Medical professionals predictably cashed in with Big Pharma, and are even now lobbying the government for less arbitrary restrictions on prescribing Suboxone. And we all lived miserably ever after.

So, children, does it all sound pleasant and just? Would you like to be treated as a social pariah without any redeeming qualities except when you’re seen a cash cow for the butcher’s block? Would you like to be subjected to punishment without crime and have force set before you in place of choice? When you get sick, would you like to have no other choice but to swallow medication designed to inflict harm upon you, and pay dearly for that privilege?

If so, maybe you would like to become a systematic nihilist too.

p.s. don’t use drugs

Krokodil Hunters Blame Flesh Eating Horse for Drug War Miseries

Steve Irwin was killed by a sting ray. Not a crocodile.

Steve Irwin was killed by a sting ray. Not a crocodile.

Krokodil, the prohibition-era (i.e. present day) moonshine version of desomorphine (dihydrodesoxymorphine, trade name Permonid) that, according to legend, was previously made strictly for self-use in the kitchens of suicidal Siberian smack addicts, took almost a decade to make it to Moscow (supposedly), and has finally made it to America (maybe). That is, if you can believe the hysterical American media, eager as ever to find an easy monster to frighten-for-cash those millions of gullible saps, all at the expense of a few seriously ill junkies. That’s also if you can disbelieve the DEA, which you already do, unless you’re unfamiliar with their interdiction statistics. DEA says krokodil’s existence in the U.S. is unconfirmed, despite all the hysterical reportage and ridiculous YouTube videos. The media has responded with total confusion, since they don’t quite comprehend that the DEA doesn’t exist to protect anyone’s health and also doesn’t like looking stupid, which the media doesn’t seem to mind.

In Illinois, a few hospitalized users who media are claiming were riding the Russian crocodile say they thought they were buying heroin, and unlike heroin, this stuff made them really sick. DEA is right that it could just be contaminated horse, which, while safe as houses when properly manufactured in a lab, isn’t so safe when it’s made in a hut by prohibition-era (i.e. present day) gangsters and sold by unscrupulous capitalists who cut it down further with whatever’s at hand in the kitchen.

Now, let’s say it was krokodil. Who would put such garbage into their body? Ask the fat idiot next to you at McDonald’s. Then take, for example, a Russian girl in Siberia who bought a bunch of codeine pills at the grocery store and then pretended she was a professional chemist with a pharmaceutical lab instead of a low paid laborer with a dirty kitchen. To her, making krokodil is an act of desperation in the face of poverty and Prohibition. Because if she had access to a decent maintenance program or a supply of safe opiates, I find it very hard to believe she’d make toxic moonshine and inject it into her vein. Sure, the sane thing she could have done was to have used cold water filtration on the codeine to rid it of harmful paracetamol (Tylenol) and just take a substantial dose of codeine to relieve her withdrawal and misery. So, if she really thought the simplicity of a pitcher of cold water wasn’t an option and proceeded directly to advanced kitchen chemistry, then she must have a serious habit, and be in serious need of help—which probably still hasn’t turned up, even if she’s since been hospitalized and photographed for the cover of the local newspaper and is now despised as a krokodil freak.

It’s really the same old story, and America could teach the world a thing or two about the subject if it would bother to learn the lesson itself. Alcohol prohibition in the U.S. led to poisoning, blindness, death, murder and gang wars, just to name a few of its side effects. The government just has a slight problem admitting wrongdoing. Bad habit. It’s currently in denial.

You’d expect the media, at least, to realize that there’s something here a lot more frightening than the drugs themselves; that is, the actual cause of these miseries. They probably do. It’s just that the truth doesn’t sell advertising packages. So don’t count on the media, or anyone else trying to make money in the process, to tell you that the War on Drugs is the real monster. Just be frightened. Because flesh-eating crocodile and contaminated horse pales in comparison.

Child Riding the Krokodil

Child on Crocodile

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