Watched an excellent documentary just now about various opiates, with actor & good guy Brian Cox presenting. Fascinating stuff about just how widely used opium was in the nineteenth century. The rather spooky coincidence about this was that I'd been generally musing on the mechanics of addiction, particularly addiction to opiates, after reading the surpassingly excellent The Luminaries. Several characters in the novel are opium addicts and their addiction plays a central role in the plot, as you might imagine. This led me in the course of the week into a conversation with Chris about the chemical effects of opiates. He happens to be in the middle of writing the segment on heroin for an IB Chemistry textbook. And the subject of drug abuse was touched upon in the course of Jordan's visit last weekend as he was telling us about frightening numbers of young people he knows in the UK who ease their boredom by dabbling in the hard stuff.
It's frighteningly easy to understand the desire to escape the pains of living through this route. And it's even more frightening to witness the damage done. Fascinating as all this is, it's not something I encourage myself to think about too much. Too depressing, for one thing.