Ten Drugs to Avoid in Medicines (Jun, 1932)

Ten Drugs to Avoid in Medicines

THERE are ten drugs often contained in patent headache medicines which are so dangerous that every purchaser should look carefully for them on the label before buying or using the remedy.

Three are opiates, including opium, morphine and heroin. All three may cause the drug habit and should only be used under direct supervision of a competent physician. Three more habit-forming drugs are cocaine, and the similar drugs, alpha eucaine and beta eucaine.

Chloroform, the anesthetic, cannabis indica or Indian hemp, an oriental drug, chloral hydrate, used in the infamous “knock-out drops”, and acetanild, which has a powerful depressant action on the heart and blood circulation, complete the list.

12 comments
  1. Arglebarglefarglegleep says: August 9, 20105:43 pm

    Predates ReferMadness by about six years but included cannabis among some pretty heavy hitters which is interesting from a social point. There’s been a lot of claims about the reasons for prohibiting marijuana. I tend to think it’s just plain cussedness. The lingering remains of the Puritans who can’t stand to see anyone enjoy themselves were involved in banning it. And I think after the repeal of Prohibition, banning various intoxicating drugs was a way of throwing a bone to the puritanical voters who felt betrayed by the reversal.

  2. hwertz says: August 12, 20107:53 pm

    So, if any of you were around back then, I have two big questions.

    1) Was there a lot of abuse of these over the counter medicines with cocaine, heroin, etc. in them? And was it a big problem? (2 seperate questions — I won’t be surprised to hear people got really hooked on this stuff, but if it cost like a bottle of aspirin, maybe didn’t cause a lot of the problems “junkies” have now trying to scrape up a bunch of cash to score.)

    2) What the heck happened when it was all banned? Was there some month when like millions of people all had to go off cocaine and heroin cold turkey?

  3. Firebrand38 says: August 12, 201010:18 pm

    hwertz: I don’t think you want to limit responses from people “back then” since someone who was say a teenager back in 1932 would be over 90. Besides, you’d be missing out since Bayer synthesized Heroin and marketed it under that brand name in 1897. Folks seemed to take a LOT of OTC cough remedies containing Heroin. The Pure Food and Drug Act was passed, regulating the labeling of products containing Alcohol, Opiates, Cocaine, and Cannabis, among others. The law went into effect Jan 1, 1907. It wasn’t until 1913 that Bayer stopped manufacturing Heroin because they realized that it was addictive. http://opioids.com/hero…

    Please don’t tell me that you think the only side effect of taking Heroin is the cost.

    Actually this “article” wasn’t very well researched. Congress banned even medicinal uses of Heroin in 1924. In England, medicinal Heroin can, however, be prescribed by doctors to relieve severe pain and has been found very effective with terminally ill cancer patients.

  4. Charlene says: August 13, 20101:38 am

    Drugs were a big problem in the 20s, especially in larger cities. Remember “Minnie the Moocher”? Cute song – about a cocaine addict.

    Most people these days don’t know about it partly because big-city life was less all-encompassing back then – a smaller percentage of the population lived in cities as compared to now – but also because drug use was most common among the poor and especially minorities, groups that were generally ignored by the press. There’s also the tendency for people to idolize the ‘good old days’ in contrast to modern evils. (This has been going on for 3,500 years; every generation hearkens back to a supposedly simpler time when people were honest and trustworthy and there was no crime.) Addiction has been a societal problem ever since Ancient Egypt.

  5. Firebrand38 says: August 13, 201010:11 am

    Also found a picture of OTC cocaine from Parke-davis

  6. hwertz says: August 13, 201010:12 am

    “Please don’t tell me that you think the only side effect of taking Heroin is the cost.”
    Oh certainly not 8-). Obviously besides being far too addictive it’s most unhealthy as well. My curiosity was, if they could get their heroin or whatever cheaply enough, if they were able to better hold down jobs and such compared to now. In fact, my memory was jogged this morning, I think I found the answer to my own question — the Netherlands as part of the “harm reduction” policies has heroin and cocaine prescriptions for addicts, so they can get it for free (on the theory it’d reduce car break-ins, muggings, etc. trying to raise money to buy drugs.) There’s still apparently loads of addicts on the streets, and bicycle theft is almost a running joke (people on average get their bike stolen twice a year, go down to the corner, and buy another “used” bike back, which may even be their own bike.)

    Oh yeah I’ve heard Minnine the Moocher — good of you to bring up, I think my friend has it on 78, he has both a player piano and a Victrola. When we had a big power outage a few years ago (due to an ice storm), neighbors were seeing all this light and music blasting out of his house and coming by “Hey! You have power!”. “No, I have a bunch of candles and a windup Victrola”. 8-)

  7. Mike says: August 13, 20103:00 pm

    All my favorite drugs and I have to avoid them damn.

    I think what I like best is how a lot of the same people that want to stop and outlaw the smoking of cigarettes anywhere because it is dangerous are the same people that want to allow pot smoking anywhere because it is completely safe.

  8. Firebrand38 says: August 13, 20103:08 pm

    Mike: For real! I was just about to say that.

  9. Joe The Wizard says: August 15, 201012:04 pm

    Man, I wish I could still pop on down to the Duane Reade at the corner to pick up some heroin drops. I’ve got SUCH a headache.

  10. Firebrand38 says: August 15, 201012:18 pm

    Joe The Wizard: They were for coughs actually

  11. Joe The Wizard says: August 15, 201012:19 pm

    Whichever. My head hurts. Give me heroin.

  12. Arglebarglefarglegleep says: August 20, 20104:42 pm

    I’m just wondering why cannabis is lumped in with a great many more heavily refined, powerful drugs. I also note it’s an ‘oriental drug’ as if that’s of particular importance. More Muckraker reporting?

    The 21 Amendment overturning Prohibition was about a year away.

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