I remember reading a long time ago a novel where some people who, through a surgical operation had a wire connected to the pleasure center of their brains. They could just plug themselves in, it became an addiction. The were called wireheads. Does anyone recall what novel that was ?
In Larry Niven's Known Space stories, a wirehead is someone who has been fitted with an electronic brain implant (called a "droud" in the stories) to stimulate the pleasure centres of their brain. In the Known Space universe, wireheading is the most addictive habit known (Louis Wu is the only given example of a recovered addict), and wireheads usually die from neglecting themselves in favour of the ceaseless pleasure. Wireheading is so powerful and easy that it becomes an evolutionary pressure, selecting against that portion of Known Space humanity without self-control. Wireheading need not use an actual brain implant; the pleasure centre can be remotely activated by a small device called a "tasp" (important in the Ringworld novels)
She reminded me of a wirehead. You can't get a wirehead's attention, either, when house current is trickling down a fine wire from the top of his skull into the pleasure center of his brain. But no, the pure egocentric joy of a wirehead hardly matched Charlotte's egocentric misery. Flatlander - Larry Niven
Times change. Generations later, these same cultures usually see current addiction as a mixed lessing. Older sins—alcoholism and drug addiction and compulsive gambling—cannot compete. People who can be hooked by drugs are happier with the wire. They take longer to die, and they tend not to have children.
It costs almost nothing. An ecstasy peddler can raise the price of the operation, but for what? The user isn’t a wirehead until the wire has been embedded in the pleasure center of his brain. Then the peddler has no hold over him, for the user gets his kicks from house current.
And the joy comes pure, with no overtones and no hangover. Ringworld Engineers - Larry Niven