The Confessions warned some early readers off opium, as De Quincey claimed he intended. “Better, a thousand times better, die than have anything to do with such a Devil’s own drug!” Thomas Carlyle commented after reading the work, while De Quincey’s erstwhile friend and fellow opium addict Samuel Taylor Coleridge insisted that he read the Confessions with “unutterable sorrow…The writer with morbid vanity, makes a boast of what was my misfortune.” But for many other readers, De Quincey’s account of opium was an invitation to experimentation — his drugged highs almost irresistible, and the gothic gloom of his lows even more so. Within months of publication, John Wilson, De Quincey’s closest friend and the lead writer for the powerful Blackwood’s Magazine, heard alarming reports of people recklessly attempting to emulate De Quincey’s drug experiences. “Pray, is it true…that your Confessions have caused about fifty unintentional suicides?” he inquires in a flamboyant Blackwood’s sketch. “I should think not,” the Opium Eater replies indignantly. “I have read of six only; and they rested on no solid foundation.”