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Cocaine and Opium were Legal and "Good" Print

Many of the substances prohibited today were legally available in the past. The prohibition of psychoactive substances has evolved gradually in America and Europe. Morphine, cocaine, and even heroin were seen as miracle cures when they were first discovered. Until the late 1800's, manufacturers proudly proclaimed that their products contained cocaine or opium.

 

A few, like Mrs. Winslow's Soothing Syrup for infants which contained morphine, were more guarded in divulging their principal ingredients. This should make Muslims realize that the lack of knowledge and information on the harms of cigarettes and Huqqah do not render them Halaal.

 

Harms became apparent

By the beginning of the 20th century, problems with habitual use of cocaine and opiates were becoming increasingly apparent. This led to the removal of these substances from some products (e.g., Coca Cola) and to the introduction of the Pure Food and Drug Act (1906) in the US which required the listing of ingredients on product labels. Nonetheless, standard narcotic remedies like paregoric remained readily available into the early 20th century, and Benzedrine inhalers were marketed without prescription until the early 1950s. Codeine wasn't removed from most over-the-counter cough suppressants until the early 1980s.

 

1. Cocaine-Containing Products

Cocaine toothache drops were popular with children and adults. Not only would the medicine numb the pain, but it could also put the user in a "better" mood.

 

Cocaine-containing throat lozenges were advertised as, "indispensable for singers, teachers, and orators."

 

2. Opiate-Containing Products

Opiate-based formulations were probably even more widely employed than those containing cocaine. Laudanum had been in use for over two centuries, and the isolation of morphine in the early 19th century (c. 1803/1817) and the later development of heroin (c. 1898) were lauded as even more effective remedies.

 

Stickney and Poor's paregoric was distributed much like the spices for which the company is better known. McCormick also manufactured and sold paregoric, which is a mixture of opium and alcohol. Doses for infants, children, and adults are given on the bottle. At 46% alcohol, this product is 92 proof which is pretty potent in itself.

 

Mrs. Winslow's Soothing Syrup was an indispensable aid to mothers and child-care workers. Containing one grain (65 mg) of morphine per fluid ounce, it effectively quieted restless infants and small children.

 

Opium smoking was another common method of administering opium. It was much more widespread and especially popular with affluent westerners. Various media, such as postcards encouraged the popular stereotype. In addition to the "recreational" effects produced by smoked opium, certain medicinal effects were also produced.

 

3. Amphetamine-Containing Products

Amphetamine was synthesized too late to have the widespread applications enjoyed decades earlier by cocaine and the opiates. It was, however, marketed in products commonly used to relieve head congestion and asthma. Amphetamine continued to be employed as a popular prescription diet-aid into the 1970s.

 

Benzedrine (racemic amphetamine) inhalers were available over-the-counter until the early 1950s. Some airlines even gave them out to passengers to minimize discomfort when the plane was landing and taking off.

 

 

sk/2008-04-09 12:01:43

 
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