Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Do Opiate Users Read More Than the General Population?

I have heard other people mention that junkie's read more than the general population.  I have no idea if this is true or even a testable hypothesis.  Making any statements about opiate addicts is plagued with the problems of trying to get a good sample.  Virtually any statement made about addicts should be prefaced with the phrase, "of the population that is known to the authorities".  I would like to think that opiate users are less aggressive and more introspective than the general population, two traits that may lend itself to reading books.  It is said that the legendary junkie Thomas de Quincey was a literary junkie.  His addiction to books was more responsible for his financial ruin than his opium addiction.  At the time opium was cheaper than beer.  Oh to have lived in the 19th century, I was born 100 years too late!


  1. As an opiate addict I find reading to be a very useful form of escapism much in the same way as smack !

  2. Reading is a very good way to spend time. I always try to have a book or magazine with me especially given all the time we spend waiting around for "the man." Although I don't think everyone who uses smack is engaging in escapism. Some people use it as an antidepressant, anti-anxiety, sleep aid and of course painkiller. Opiates can be used to take a break from life ("escapism"), but this isn't necessarily a bad thing. It reminds me of the drug Soma from the novel Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

    "And if ever, by some unlucky chance, anything unpleasant should somehow happen, why, there's always soma to give you a holiday from the facts. And there's always soma to calm your anger, to reconcile you to your enemies, to make you patient and long-suffering. In the past you could only accomplish these things by making a great effort and after years of hard moral training. Now, you swallow two or three half-gramme tablets, and there you are. Anybody can be virtuous now. You can carry at least half your morality about in a bottle. Christianity without tears-that's what soma is."