The Opium Habit by Day Horace B.;

The Opium Habit by Day Horace B.;

Author:Day, Horace B.;
Language: eng
Format: epub
Tags: history, opium, addiction, morphine, heroin, addict, the american civil war
ISBN: 4460775
Publisher: Andrews UK Ltd.
Published: 2012-06-19T16:00:00+00:00


The following narrative of a case of confirmed opium-eating was communicated to the editor of the Knickerbocker Magazine, in the year 1842, by Dr. B. W. M'Cready of New York, accompanied by the following statement:

Poor Blair, whose account of himself I send you, was brought to the City Hospital by a Baptist clergyman in 1835, at which time I was Resident Physician of the establishment. His wretched habit had at that time reduced him to a state of deplorable destitution, and he came to the hospital as much for the sake of a temporary asylum as to endeavor to wean himself from the vice which had brought him to such a condition. When he entered it was with the proviso that he should be allowed a certain quantity of opium per day, the amount of which was slowly but steadily decreased. The dose he commenced with was eighty grains; and this quantity he would roll into a large bolus, of a size apparently too great for an ordinary person to swallow, and take without any appearance of effort. Until he had swallowed his ordinary stimulus he appeared languid, nervous, and dejected. He at all times had a very pale and unhealthy look, and his spirits were irregular; although it would be difficult to separate the effects produced by the enormous quantity of opium to which he had been accustomed from the feelings caused in a proud and intellectual man by the utter and irretrievable ruin which he had brought upon himself. Finding him possessed of great information and uncommon ability, I furnished him with books and writing materials, and extended to him many privileges not enjoyed by the ordinary patients in the wards. Observing that he - as is common with most men of a proud disposition who have not met with the success in the world which they deem due to their merits - had paid great attention to his own feelings, I was desirous of having an account written by himself of the effects which opium had produced upon his system. On my making the request he furnished me with the memoir of himself now in your possession. His health at this time was very much impaired. I had been in the habit of giving him orders upon the apothecary for his daily quantum of opium, but when the dose had been reduced to sixteen grains I found that he had counterfeited the little tickets I gave him and thus often obtained treble and quadruple the quantity allowed. After this, of course, although I felt profoundly sorry for the man, the intercourse between us was only that presented by my duty. Shortly afterward he disappeared from the hospital late at night. I have since met him several times in the streets; but for the last three or four years I have neither seen nor heard of him. With his habits it is scarcely probable that he still survives. Poor fellow! He furnishes another melancholy instance of the


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