Medicine: Matters of Mood

Literature abounds with testimonials by narcotics addicts—De Quincey, Coleridge, Baudelaire, Cocteau—to the beauties of the neverland to which their favorite dope has transported them. Most medical textbooks have copied each other's statements that the effect of narcotics is uniformly pleasant. But most people who try a couple of shots out of curiosity find the effects (including nausea and vomiting) so unpleasant that they stop right there. Only a few persist and become slaves to the drugs. Why the difference? Three researchers at Harvard Medical School suspected that to become an addict, an individual...

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