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Drug Addictions of the Times

This discussion on "Drug Addictions of the Times" is in the Health Medicine and Hygiene section; Hi - I'm working on a research paper on drug addictions during the Edwardian Era. ...

      
   
  1. #1
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    Hi - I'm working on a research paper on drug addictions during the Edwardian Era. I have only been able to find addictions to laudanum, chloral, "Orangine", opium/morphines and cocaine during this era. Were there any other "popularized" recreational drugs common in this time period??

    Thank you for any help you can provide!

    -Katrina L. Lilly

  2. #2
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    I have only been able to find addictions to laudanum, chloral, "Orangine", opium/morphines and cocaine during this era.
    Only? Seems quite enough, especially if you add in booze and tobacco, though I can see why you wouldn't. Did they still use Belladonna then, or was that from an earlier age? That was for cosmetic reasons, I understand, but it was still damaging and a psychological 'addiction' in its way. Bob Godfrey is the man for this - I'll see if I can get his attention for you.

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    Did somebody call? (emerges slowly from state of drug-induced euphoria). I'd agree with Monica that the ever-popular ethanol wins hands down as chief cause of personal, social and economic problems, then as now. But otherwise you have most of the usual suspects in the line-up. Chloral hydrate, ether and chloroform all had their devotees. 'Orangine' was just one of many mild analgesics and headache cures which contained acetanilid, so you could extend the range there.
    .

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    Hi Bob,

    Do you know if Bromo-Seltzer (another cure for headaches) was around at that time?

    Best regards,

    Jason
    Jason D. Tiller
    "To be happy is to be contented in your own mind"...Harold Godfrey Lowe
    43 44' 01" N, 79 24' 16"W
    Author of an upcoming biography on Arthur G. Peuchen

  5. #5
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    It was indeed, Jason, (since the 1880s) and it did contain acetanilid.

  6. #6
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    Thanks for that Bob, cheers! I've got an old Bromo-Seltzer cobalt blue bottle, which even says on the bottom that it was used just for that.

    Best regards,

    Jason
    Jason D. Tiller
    "To be happy is to be contented in your own mind"...Harold Godfrey Lowe
    43 44' 01" N, 79 24' 16"W
    Author of an upcoming biography on Arthur G. Peuchen

  7. #7
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    Trivia time. I can't think of a Titanic connection, Jason, but both your bottle and its contents were made by companies owned by Isaac Emerson, whose daughter Margaret was widowed when her husband Alfred Vanderbilt went down with the Lusitania.

  8. #8
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    That's right Bob, Colleen mentioned that to me a few weeks ago. It's a very interesting connection.
    Jason D. Tiller
    "To be happy is to be contented in your own mind"...Harold Godfrey Lowe
    43 44' 01" N, 79 24' 16"W
    Author of an upcoming biography on Arthur G. Peuchen

  9. #9
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    Another question: How many of those drugs were common prescribed for various ailments?

    In retrospect, when Madeline Astor died, in 1940, it was thought that she committed suicide, but it might have been a reaction to prescriptives used, especially if taken while consuming alcohol.

  10. #10
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    When I used to help out in my father's pharmacy as a teenager, an old lady used to sidle in about twice a day and buy a couple of bottles of Gees Linctus, a cough medicine which contains morphine. So we reckoned she was on about 4 bottles a day, and there was another chemist in the town as well which she could also go to. My father eventually realized what was going on and refused to sell her any more. Poor old thing got into a dreadful state. Having had Gees Linctus a couple of times, I have to say it seems a fairly unpleasant way to get your morphine, but I suppose you don't notice after a while.

 

 
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