oldenGoldenDecoy's picture

    For Mr. Day: The Hollywood/Celebrity Drug Fad in Early 1980 and the Innocent?

    In another thread Dick posted the following . . .

    "Cosby as an example was extraordinary. As far as my consciousness. This man did more for racial identity than anyone except for MLK for chrissakes. And there he is. Drugging innocent women and then....."

    While living and working in the environment, for 10 years I was employed in the Department of Architects & Engineering at UCLA Hospital and Clinics and in 1982 I knew Dr. Siegel quite well. We were both in our 30s. We spent many a daily morning at break time together in bull sessions at the food service court atop the 12th floor of the old Department of Psychiatry.

    During this same period of time I was also working with a multitude of bands in the Hollywood scene. Let’s just understand that at the time drugs, especially cocaine that went hand-in-hand with Quaaludes were “almost culturally ingrained in show business.” The following article gives a good quick look into the celebrity drug fad in that period of time.

    March 29, 1982 | People Magazine

    A Drug Expert Discusses the Hollywood Fad That Makes Some Stars High and Others Dead

    In the sad aftermath of John Belushi’s death, the nation is learning an arcane new vocabulary of drug use. But terms like “speedballing” and “freebase” are routine in the exotic Hollywood drug subculture, where cocaine and heroin are finding new uses in the celebrity pharmacopoeia. Few observers know more about drug chic than Dr. Ronald K. Siegel, a research psycho-pharmacologist at UCLA. Trained at New York’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine, the 39-year-old Siegel has treated numerous drug abusers at his UCLA laboratory and is one of the most street-savvy researchers in the field. He discussed Hollywood’s latest drug fad with Salley Rayl of PEOPLE.


    What else is in vogue?

    Marijuana and cocaine combinations are increasingly common. People will snort coke at the end of an evening of marijuana smoking to cut the lethargy of the marijuana high and allow them to drive home. It is potentially dangerous because one is increasing only wakefulness, not motor coordination. It’s a misleading subjective state. Another common combination is Quaaludes and cocaine. The more cocaine you can use, the more Quaaludes you can tolerate. It wouldn’t be uncommon for someone to take eight to 10 Quaaludes a day to balance the cocaine they’re doing.


    Who are the main users of speedballs?

    I see slightly more females than males. They all tend to be in the same professional positions—actors, actresses and movie production people. It’s a limited circle—though not necessarily limited by economics. Higher-class users can spend $2,000 to $12,000 a week on coke. It’s a habit for achievers.

    Why is it so difficult to combat cocaine use in Hollywood?

    It is very socially acceptable in this town and almost required. We have a lot of conspicuous consumption out here. We have a lot of people who have a lot of money who buy very exotic, glamorous, high-priced drugs. I have a couple of people I see who are not sure if they really want to quit because it is so mandatory to their positions. They have to dispense it to people they work with. It is almost culturally ingrained in show business, very much like tobacco is ingrained in the armed forces and alcohol is a drug of commerce in much of the business world. Similarly, cocaine is becoming a drug of commerce in the entertainment world.


    Dr.  Siegel has since retired, but to the best of my knowledge he was still active in 2016.

    Read:  Conversation With Dr. Ronald K. Siegel, Ph.D at HuffPo...

    I’d like to start by saying that this was not an easy interview to do. Dr. Ronald K. Siegel is 73 years old and is recovering from surgery. This conversation was awhile in the making, but when you read about this new book of his titled Priestess of Morphine: The Lost Writings of Marie-Madeleine in the Time of Nazis, it will become evident why this mattered so much to me. Dr. Ronald K. Siegel is a research psychopharmacologist and forensic expert. I think the short stories and the poems that make up the book are great and could easily hold up on their own, but given the context of Marie-Madeleine’s life story the work’s significance becomes undeniably powerful. Below is my conversation with Dr. Siegel. Enjoy. continues-->


    Priestess of Morphine at Goodreads




    Ducky there are so many issues in this fine post.

    Who revolutionized more music in this country  back in the 50's and 60's and 70's than those who used mind expanding drugs?

    Now, as we really experienced back then, we are experiencing this new drug/overdose epidemic.

    I shall dwell more on these issues.

    Good post.

    LA goin back to rehab, eh? Sister Morphine? You are the wry old hipster, you and that Hofmann dude. Well try this one on. Swiss time meets Dali clocks.

    Uhhh... am I suppose to be impressed?

    And WTF are you babbling about now? I don't consume booze, nor drugs and haven't smoked weed for over 25 years.

    How about you?


    impressed? you should be. or at least better than depressed. or repressed. I walked 47 miles of barbwire, Cobra snake for a necktie. But meanwhile (I was still thinkin'...) Kesey perfected his literary pursuits & human study in the psych ward, and Huxley was the literary stomping ground of amateur psychs & freshman psyches. Of course Jerry Lewis left his mark on that campus, but for other reasons...

    And while the High Priestess' song was done better by the boys in the band, she still owns it, for better or würst.

    As for Novartis, née Sandoz, yes, their place in this vein of research is notable, both acidic and ecstatic, next generational stuff, and to wit, this is *serious* monkey business, rigorous, well-documented stuff, not the playground of gurus, hipsters and rock stars, or the after thought of one more rehab or o.d.

    Though yes, my reference to Swiss time would be more accurately Montreaux, not Hoffman's Baselica, while Dada & Cabaret Voltaire were much more Zurich laired (but Un Chien Andalou  was birthed in France, not Spain, while the Persistence of Memory was Catalan, though Dali insisted it was Camembert, so abstractions might be excepted).

    Did I mention I was interested in Psyche?

    Nappy time . . . Yawn...


    Sorry 2 boar you, just pooling a few tomes off the back musty shelfs of my reverence library, thought I wood cher. They talk about free speech vs free beer, but not so oft uv vrij association. (U ken picture vriends & pict ur knows but naught ur vriends noes)

    Latest Comments