Substance D

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Substance D is the drug at the heart of Philip K. Dick's wonderfully paranoid 1977 novel A Scanner Darkly. Extended use of the drug causes a fragmenting of consciousness and induces shared delusions, which may present as folie à deux.

The drug may be smuggled from the Soviet Union as yet another Cold War communist plot to destroy American moral/spiritual resistance. Attributing illegal drug use to smuggling organized by the Soviet Union or to the China was common in the 1960s and 1970s. This was yet another case of Cold War projection. In reality the U.S. CIA helped to promote opium smuggling from Laos and later from Afghanistan to support various anti-communist (and often pro-terrorist) organizations. One doesn't have to be overly suspicious to ask why Afghanistan, with a president selected by Bush, now has a virtual monopoly over this planet's lucrative opium trade?


  • Alfred P. McCoy. 1972, 2002. The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia. New York: Harper & Row. Dog Skin Report; Interview with Alfred P. McCoy
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