“Pleasures Impossible to Interpret”: Freud and Cocaine

  • Lawrence Driscoll


This chapter moves us into the discourses that claim to offer us the truth about drugs: medicine and psychology. By focusing on Sigmund Freud’s early writings on cocaine I aim to explore how Freud held positions on cocaine that do not fit with our current positions. What we see in Freud is an attempt, like Collins and Stevenson, to keep the meaning of drugs open, even when all of the signs asked him to narrow his range of meanings. In the face of professional opposition, Freud adamantly maintained his position that cocaine need not be dangerous. Given that the rest of Freud’s work has been used to cure drug users, I will suggest that his troublesome writings on cocaine have gone unheeded because Freud continues to seriously undermine and question our discourses about the meaning of drugs.


Cocaine Poisoning Morphine Addiction Opium Addiction Vienna Medical School Opium Habit 
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© Lawrence Driscoll 2000

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  • Lawrence Driscoll

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