Sharon Lowe

Opium Smoking on the Comstock

Chinese gold rush miners and railroad workers brought the practice of opium smoking to America's West Coast by the mid-nineteenth century. Among the Chinese on the Comstock, opium smoking was a common indulgence. Like many hallucinatory drugs, it provided a diversion from isolation, loneliness, dangerous working conditions, and the rising tide of anti-Chinese sentiment.

Keeley Institute

Substance abuse and addiction affected thousands of miners, middle-class female consumers, prostitutes, Chinese workers, and other citizens of bourgeoning nineteenth-century Comstock communities. As a result, the Keeley Institute, a privately owned and nationally franchised addiction treatment center, set up at least two drug and alcohol dependency treatment centers in Northern Nevada in the 1890s.

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