“If you habitually use in your car, for example, the body prepares itself to receive the drug when it’s in that environment,” Dr. Rieckmann said. “It’s called conditioned tolerance. When people using are in an unfamiliar places, the body is less physically prepared.”
This was the first mainstream mention I’d ever seen. I told Siegel about it and he said it was the first mainstream mention he’d seen, too. He added, however, that he had come across the idea in a crime novel:
A Scottish constable, Hamish Macbeth, appears in a series of books by M. C. Beaton. In one 1999 book in the series, “Death of an Addict,” Macbeth has a conversation with a Dr. Sinclair, a pathologist on the scene of an apparent heroin overdose:
“Dr. Sinclair leaned his cadaverous body against his car and settled down to give a lecture. ‘The reason for tolerance to heroin is partially conditioned by the environment where the drug was normally administered. If the drug is administered in a new setting, much of the conditioned tolerance will disappear and the addict will be more likely to overdose’” (Beaton, M. C. Death of an addict. New York: Warner Books, 1999, p. 23).
M. C. Beaton is the pen name of Marion Chesney, and I wrote to her asking how she knew this. She couldn’t recall, but thought that it likely was due to a conversation she had with a Scottish police officer.