Review: On Opium: Pain, Pleasure, and Other Matters of Substance by Carlyn Zwarenstein


On Opium is an interesting series of essays discussing the use of opium and other hard drugs, both for recreational and medical/pain relieving purposes. Some sections were eye-opening, such as how the decriminalisation of these drugs, as with the alcohol prohibition in 1920s America, causes unwanted consequences and forces otherwise good people into crime and dangerous street drugs, and how misdemeanours are more heavily prosecuted against minority populations.

Worth a listen, but my criticism is that this comes across as a series of essays, with many of the core points repeated throughout. This is a huge audiobook – 18 hours in total, I felt the narrator was losing interest at some points – and could’ve easily been edited down to half its length to have a greater punch.

Book supplied by Netgalley for an honest review.

See review on Goodreads.