Conversations With Stones: Lithography Helps Heroin Addicts

For all you fans of megaliths and other stone structures where humans traditionally held spiritual ceremonies, what do you make of lithography, the practice of using stones to come to terms with drug addiction? The New York Times describes the practice in heroin-heavy Kyrgyzstan:

Jengishbek Nazaraliev. Photo: Igorus77 (CC)

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan — Inside a yurt that was lavishly appointed with local prayer rugs and felt tapestries, a young man prepared for a ritual that is catching on here as a solution to a global problem but is, well, grounded in local tradition.

“Rock,” the young man said, “I admit that I am a drug addict.” On a carpet in front of the man sat the object he was speaking to: a river stone, rounded and mottled green, about the size of a loaf of bread.

A psychologist sat nearby, coaxing the addict — a lawyer who wanted only his first name, Arman, made public — to go further. The mood was somber.

“Stone, I give you my anger and my aggression,” Arman said. “I give you all my negative qualities that appeared from smoking opium.”

A surprising number of people speak to rocks here in Bishkek, the capital of the Central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan, which lies along heroin smuggling routes from Afghanistan into Russia and deeper into Europe. Rocks have become an integral element in a treatment method for heroin addiction called lithotherapy.

At the Nazaraliev Medical Center, a clinic that has pioneered the approach, twitching, tattooed addicts pad about in pajamas, toting their rocks to and from therapy sessions…

[continues at the New York Times] h/t Duncan Laurie


Majestic is gadfly emeritus.

Latest posts by majestic (see all)