Citation: Catherine M. "The Hard Ground as Soft as Cotton Wool: An Experience with Opium (exp97417)". Erowid.org. Jul 30, 2019. erowid.org/exp/97417
First Opium Smoking
At a festival, Stonehenge, UK. The place was awash with diconal [dipipanone] tablets, morphine and heroin, in those days, pharmacy break-ins were common, pharmacies held vast stocks in the seventies, and these opiates were sold openly at the festival.
I had already taken a Diconal, and was feeling relaxed and pleasantly stoned, and went in search of some milk, to make a coffee with. I saw a straggle of people in the dark, and asked if they were queuing for milk [people did sell groceries at festivals out of the backs of vans]. They replied that they were waiting for opium.
So, I joined the queue. The couple had honey jars full of opium, fresh from Rajasthan, and they scooped out the reddish brown gum, and wrapped it into cellophane, like a toffee. The price was £6 a gram. [wages then were about £1 an hour]. I bore the opium back to the tent, and told the others there was no milk....but when I produced the opium, there was a lot of interest, and the others went off to buy some.
Hmm, how did this stuff get used? At the time, punk raged, and needle use was very common in London, but the opium didn't look suitable for injecting. There was a very posh bloke whose parents had lived in Honk Kong, and he looked straight as anything, and said ''I thought you hippies knew everything?'' in a snooty way, but I think he was pleased to be the ''big I-Am'' and showed us novices to the art how to do it. He asked for a biro [ball-point pen], and some foil, and pulled apart the biro, and one of us had a kit kat foil [chocolate bar] and this was smoothed out, and a pellet of opium laid at one end, and was lit below with a low, low lighter flame.
I asked to be first, and it was hard not to waste the smoke as it plumed upwards, blue-white. The taste of it was wonderfully unique, nuttyish, somehow, bitterish, and it didn't make one cough, like I thought it would. I lay back, and nothing happened, and all the others had a go, more foil was found, and we repeated the experience. I wasn't feeling very much, no fantastic dreams, but I felt supremely at one with my fellow campers, all whom were strangers to me until that day. We lay with supreme ease, and the hard ground of Salisbury plain was as soft as cotton wool. I felt a supreme content in my solar plexus, and felt as if I was lying in the sun, despite it being long past midnight.
I felt a supreme content in my solar plexus, and felt as if I was lying in the sun, despite it being long past midnight.
One of the group got up to be sick outside...too many opiates had turned her stomach, but she returned and lay down with us. I had my head on someone's stomach, and thought it was the best place in the entire world to be at that moment. Of course, in retrospect, I know it was the opium doing all this, making me comfortable, a classic effect. Thirst was great, and we drank water, as there was no coffee.
When my eyes were closed, it was as if there was a dazzling brightness illuminating the backs of my closed eyelids, and as I let my thoughts roam, brilliant pictures drifted past...all these could be controlled, and if someone moved in the tent, It made the visions dissolve away. I felt light, and easy in my body. Sleep, when it came, was of a ''coasting'' sort, drifting along between waking and sleeping.
At the time, I was a user of other opioids, so had a moderate to low tolerance, so didn't suffer the sickness that some of our number did. But at other times, when being greedy, I have suffered terribly from sickness and terrible headache next morning from partaking of too many opiates.
All this was a long time ago, and times have changed. When I look at Google Earth, Stonehenge at the field where I first took opium [as opposed to the more manufactured opiates] I feel a sense of nostalgia. Silly really, as drug use has been a bane in my life. If I had my time again, I wouldn't have done any of it, and would have spared myself decades of addiction. But hey ho, what is done is done.
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