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Dick, Death, and Meth


Philip K. Dick was a prolific writer of science fiction, with several of his stories and books having been adapted to film after his death in 1982. One of his better-known works is the book "A Scanner Darkly," which portrays America in the not-too-distant future, an America that has lost the war on drugs and is under total surveillance by government and corporations alike. The drug of choice in this world is Substance D. Substance D is derived from a flower (like heroin), is instantly addictive and has a near 100% recidivism rate (like crystal methamphetamine), and has a street nickname of Death (rhymes with meth) and people have either never tried it or are addicted to it; there is no in between.

Meanwhile, the government and corporations are working together to fight a never-ending war on drugs and paranoia is rampant. Luckily, there is hope: New Path Recovery is a rehab center that stands the best chance of overcoming the Substance D epidemic. However, it is revealed later in the book that New Path grows the flowers that D is derived from, thus supplying the demand that destroys lives while punishing the addicts, who are used as labor on the flower farms (like the CIA providing cocaine for the production of crack, which destroys the lives of users, who are then imprisoned and used as cheap labor).

Interestingly, the maker of Oxycontin has plans to release a drug to help fight the opioid crisis currently taking nearly 200 lives each day in America.


For a book released in 1977 by an author who died in 1982, this is eerily prescient of our current time and condition. Perhaps Dick saw the writing on the wall long before anyone else, perhaps before the writing appeared...

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