William S. Burroughs
(1917 - 1997)

image of William S. Burroughs
"Junk is the ideal product . . . the ultimate merchandise. No sales talk necessary. The client will crawl through a sewer and beg to buy. . . . The junk merchant does not sell his product to the consumer, he sells the consumer to his product. He does not improve and simplify his merchandise. He degrades and simplifies the client. He pays his staff in junk."
William S. Burroughs

William S. Burroughs was the wealthy grandson of the founder of the Burroughs Adding Machine company. He was a regular heroin user for over a decade, and dependent on opioids almost continually from his first habit in the forties until his death. During the mid-eighties, Burroughs got on methadone maintenance. He remained so until he died. He took many 'cures' but relapsed quickly each time - his opioid abstinent periods were very brief. Most famously, Burroughs wrote Junkie (1953) and Naked Lunch (1959). In the preface of Junkie, Burroughs writes "I have never regretted my experience with drugs." However, his account of narcotic addiction is unlikely to tempt the drug-naive reader into self-experimentation.


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