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Opium Smoking

Opium Smoking image
Parent Issue
Public Domain
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The Ban Francisco Daily Bulletin' thus describes one of the opium dens in that city, and the method of smoking the drug : " A first-claes opium den is fltted with a table about eiglit feet long and five feet wide, and two and B half feet liigh. This is covcred with matting, and liue mats are placed on this. In the center of the table is a tfay coutaining opium, opium pipes and a peculiarly shaped lamp, hich has a small ñame. The opium Jripe is Iflade of a piecc of maliogany or ebouy wood. The steiíl is about Üueeqxiarters of an inch in diameter, and about two feet in length. A hole about half an inch in diameter runs the whole length of the stem. About six inches from the end is the bowl of the pipe. It is made of a peculiar kind of sand and clay in China, and is very hard and fireproof. The bowl is about two inches in diameter. The top of the bowl is entirely closed, except a sinull hole in the center, about the size of a large darning needie. In the bottom is a hole about half an inch in diameter, into which is iuserted tt brase coupliüg, cöuilecting with the stem of the pipe. Opium is kepl in a small box, made of hom. Every Chinaman carries one. Wlien a perSóll desires to smoke opium, he reclines upon the taille upon one side. With a 'piece of steel about ns long and the ize of a large knitting needie, and sharpened, a little of the opium is taken from the box. It is I held over the blaze of the lamp until it is cooked. The piece of steel is kept in motion all the time, and the opium, when cooked, is fomied into the shape of a small pistol cartridge. The point of the steel needie is then inserted into the small hole in the center of the bowl of the pipe and geutly drawn through the eurtridge of opium. The smoker then turn the bowl of the pipe to the frame of the lamp, reposes upon a wooden pillow and smokes. He geutly draws in his breath in long and rapid respirations. He must bc careful, however, to slightly remove his lips from the stem of the pipe when taking breath. If he should breathe slightly into the stem it wouuld stop the flow of the smoke of the opium. When the flow is stopped the sharp-poiutod steel is used to open the small hole in the bowl of the pipe. It takes about three minutes to prepare the opium for the pipe, and about one to smoke it out, ten or twelve whiiÏH only being required. From six to twilvc j pefuls are generally smoked before the I smoker is satisfied. A little over a year ago a great many white people of both I sexes patronized the opium dens. The Board of Supervisors deemod it best to put a check upon the growing evil, mul a stringent law was passed, making it a penalty of not less than 10 nor more than $50, for the keeper of any opium den to allow a wliite person to smoKe in the place. It was also made a criminal act for any white person to be found in an opium den, the fine being fixed at not less than $50. Bince the passage of the law the dens drive a less lucrative business. Their customers are all Chinese, two generally occupyiug one table and using one lamp. The Chinese resort to opium-smoking for any sliglit ailment, and it is regarded by many of them as a panacea for all their ills."


Old News
Michigan Argus