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Ceremonial Chemistry: The Ritual Persecution of Drugs, Addicts, and Pushers, Revised Edition Paperback – October 1, 2003
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Szasz states in the Preface to this 1974 book, "My aim in this book is at once simple and sweeping. First, I wish to identify the actual occurrences that constitute our so-called drug problem. I shall show that these phenomena in fact consist of the passionate promotion and panicky prohibition of various substances; the habitual use and the dreaded avoidance of certain drugs; and, most generally, the regulation---by language, law, custom, religion, and every other conceivable means of social and symbolic control---of certain kinds of ceremonial and sumptory behaviors."
Here are some representative quotations from the book:
"(W)e had no problem with drugs until we quite literally talked ourselves into having one: we declared first this and than that drug 'bad' and 'dangerous'; gave them nasty names like 'dope' and 'narcotic'; and passed laws prohibiting their use. The result: our present 'problems of drug abuse and drug addiction.'"
"(W)e oppose illicit drugs not because they are the wrong chemicals but because they are the wrong ceremonials."
"(A)lthough the physician OFTEN fails to help his obese patients, he NEVER fails to help himself---to the patient's (or insurance company's, or some other third party's) money."
"The Harrison Act, passed in 1914, aimed ostensibly at controlling addicts, was actually used to control physicians. This act ... made these drugs legally available only through a physician's prescription for the treatment of disease.Read more ›