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Sunday April 6, 1997
©1997 San Francisco Examiner

Cops Battle New Drug

By Seth Gilden

In the latest round of the drug war enforcement officers started reporting a new and deadly drug on the nation's streets.

"We've never seen anything like it," says DEA agent Peterson. "Apparently our policies have cut off the supply on more conventional substances to the point where junkies are looking for a new, easy fix. And they found it."

What is surprising is that this new trend is based not around chemicals, but verbal sounds. "You can see it starting to happen everywhere. Groups of 'communicators,' as they call themselves, will be doing it openly in public. Usualy they will be standing close to each other and stringing seemingly random sounds together."

According to recent studies, this is only the gateway to the dangerous world of language. By using their vocal tract to produce an unusual range of sounds, communicators claim to be able to share information and ideas with their fellows, although this is widely recognized as scientifically impossible. Once someone has started recognizing a set of standardized, independant sounds that can be combined in various ways, they move on to even more powerful things.

"We found a bunch of them in a grade school last week. If we don't do something about this, pretty soon language will spread until no one is free from its grasp. There are reports now of an even more addictive form."

This new form is known formally as methamphonemes, but it is known on the street as `morpheme.' The reason for the quick spread of this new threat is that it builds on the original addiction, but instead of dealing simply with sounds, it focuses on how groups of sounds are combined. This supposedly gives its users an even more powerful tool for their mind-to-mind thought transfers.

"We're still not sure how we are going to face this," admitted Peterson. "We have almost given up on any thought of preventing the spread of morpheme, seeing no way to stop it. There have been some suggestions of a regulatory syntax, though."

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