An Oral History Of Benzedrine Use In The USA

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For this edition of Flashback Friday, we’re bringing you an excerpt from The Drug User by legendary drug aficionado, Herbert Huncke, originally published in the October, 1991 edition of High Times.

Although not as well known as his fellow “Beats”—Kerouac, Ginsberg, Cassady, and Burroughs—Herbert Huncke is just as important. Writer/ junkie/thief/hustler Huncke has been in and out of prison and various addictions throughout his 70-odd years on the planet. The always-neatly-pressed Huncke has had a life checkered with adventures (quite a few of them not very pleasant), and as a result his writings are engrossing, enlightening and perversely entertaining. His last book, Guilty of Everything (Paragon House) tracked the ups and downs and ins and outs of his sometimes-debilitating heroin habit.

Benzedrine—an amphetamine—was widely used in the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s by n’er-do-well crank-heads who would order it over-the-counter from their local drugstores. It…

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