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Virtual Book Launch | Carlyn Zwarenstein’s On Opium

October 20, 2021 @ 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm PDT

On October 20th (Wednesday), at 6:30PM, join writer Carlyn Zwarenstein, and activist and writer Garth Mullins, in a virtual event to celebrate the release of Zwarenstein’s latest book: On Opium – Pain, Pleasure and Other Matters of Substance (2021, Goose Lane Editions).

Click here to register to the event

Click here to purchase On Opium from Massy Books

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Author’s sugestion – Support our community:

Click here to donate to the Canadian Association of People who Use Drugs

Click here to donate to the Crackdown Podcast’s Patreon

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The book:

In On Opium, Zwarenstein describes her own use of opioid-inspired medicines to cope with a painful disease. Evoking both Thomas De Quincey and Frida Kahlo, she travels from the decadence of recreational drug use in past eras to the misery and privation of the overdose crisis today.

Speaking with users of prescribed morphine, illicit fentanyl, and smoked opium, Zwarenstein investigates uncomfortable questions about why people use substances and when substance use becomes addiction. And she exposes causes of drug-related harms: the debilitating effects of poverty, isolation, and trauma; the role of race, class, and gender in addressing pain; and a system of prohibition that has converted age-old medicines into taboo substances.

Through all of this, Zwarenstein finds hope. Drawing on solidarity between illicit drug users and people in pain; in a wise understanding of what humans need to be well; and in radical drug policies like legalization and safe supply, she lays out a vision of a world where suffering is no longer lauded, and opioids are no longer demonized.

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The author:

Carlyn Zwarenstein is a writer and freelance journalist. In addition to her two books about pain, painkillers, and other topics, she has written for the Globe and Mail, the Walrus Magazine, the Washington Post and many other publications. She lives in Toronto.


October 20, 2021
6:30 pm - 7:30 pm PDT