Drugs and alcohol – the elixirs of a giddy walk down the path of doom and despair – have many different modes of ingestion. Until about five hundred years ago alcohol and drugs caused few problems for mankind. It was about that time that some Chinese bricklayer working on a really big wall discovered that he could smoke his opium. Recently some wizard of wackiness made a similar breakthrough with alcohol.
When doing an assessment with an alcoholic or drug addict, intake counselors at treatment centers ask how the drug was administered. It is an important question. The method of delivery speaks to the level of addiction, to the stage of progression.
Opium grows naturally in poppies. The gummy substance can be chewed for a small buzz. The Chinese chewed opium for many centuries with little societal harm done. Chewing opium breaks down the drug and the drugged saliva is swallowed, digested, filtered through the liver, sent to the blood steam where it is carried to the brain. That Chinese bricklayer of compelling imagination changed the dynamic. Smoked opium goes directly to the lungs and is absorbed directly into the blood and quickly delivered to the brain. The smoke is many many times more potent than the drug in the saliva. A profound and immediate rush of satisfaction overwhelms the smoker – nothing compares to the relief from daily worries.
In 1898 opium was synthesized into heroin. Heroin can be injected with a needle directly into the blood – no need to bother the lungs – the hit is immediate and powerful.
Cocoa leaves were chewed in the Latin American countries for hundreds of years. Workers would take a short break from their labors to chew a cocoa leaf – it was the early form of a coffee break. A small cocaine buzz boosted their energy and they went back to work. Cocaine was reduced to powder form in 1850. Snorting the potent powder magnified the buzz exponentially. By the early 1900’s cocaine powder was recognized as a powerful addictive drug that was destroying lives. The 2% solution added to Coca Cola was removed.
Alcohol users of the 21st Century are in grave danger. We live in a world of images – particularly our body image. Alcohol contains empty calories – meaning that it has no nutritional value but will add weight. The video above demonstrates the use of dry ice to evaporate alcohol, creating a smoky or vaporized product that can be inhaled. Again, the drug bypasses any normal bodily filters and goes directly to the lungs – and thus to the brain.
The jury is still out. We do not know what impact this behavior will have on alcohol addiction. The odd irony of this behavior is that when well intoxicated with alcohol people generally lower their standards and fat people look pretty good.