by Th. Metzger

   Ah, heroin! The scourge of modern American civilization! The enslaver and despoiler of all that is good and pure! At least, that's the way it's portrayed today. But, as author Th. Metzger posits in The Birth of Heroin and the Demonization of the Dope Fiend, it wasn't always so. Like everything else, heroin has a history, and so does the societal archetype of the heroin addict.
   Metzger traces heroin back to its inceptual roots as opium, and explains the uses to which the latex of papaver somniferum has been put throughout Western history. He explains the evolution of opium into morphine, and the drug's medical applications and inclusion in many patent medicines at the turn of the century.
   At first, heroin was widely used and hailed as a "triumph over pain." But as the American cult of purity began to emerge, heroin was rapidly demonized.
   In time, heroin came to be associated with defilement, sin, and disease, and the hypodermic needle became a potent symbol of moral and physical transgressions. Th. Metzger also traces the activities of many other influential individuals who contributed to the public's skewed perception of the drug and its devotees over the years.
   Today, heroin and its users have become synonymous with devolution and degeneracy. How this came to be makes for a fascinating tale, and Th. Metzger tells it well in The Birth of Heroin and the Demonization of the Dope Fiend.
5 1/2 x 8 1/2 222 pages

Birth of Heroin
Price $14.95