On Drug Hysteria

Father Murphy

[Interior, derelict hotel room, circa 1970]

BOB: You know, Tom, you told me a lot of the old-time stories about how you used to stick your arm in between the bars of the cell, the guard would come by, and he’d fire you up a shot of morphine…Well, they never did that for me.

FATHER TOM: Well, they don’t do that for anyone anymore. Narcotics have been systematically scapegoated and demonized. The idea that anyone can use drugs and escape a horrible fate is anathema to these idiots. I predict, in the near future, right-wingers will use drug hysteria as a pretext to set up an international police apparatus…But I’m an old man, and I may not live to see a Final Solution of the drug problem.

From Gus Van Sant’s Drugstore Cowboy (1989)

Screen capture: “Father Tom” (William S. Burroughs) in Drugstore Cowboy


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