|Junk for the Junkies|
|"Take a Tincture of Opium and Fetch Me in the Morning"|
|One of the most prescribed medicines by the physicians of the time was opium. Bottled under generic terms like Laudinum, it was used to cure many of the female complaints that baffled the male dominated profession. When Isabella MacDonald, the first wife of our first Prime Minister, was suffering from fatigue and painful joints, her doctor diagnosed it as "Uterine Neuralgia" and she was kept on opium for years; which no doubt compounded her symptoms of fatigue.
Whether the cause or the cure, addiction to both morphine and opium reached new heights during the Victorian Era. But not to worry. The chemists at Sears Roebuck had just the thing to cure you. Shown underneath the ad for the German Liquor Cure, is a potent bottle of Cure for the Opium and Morphia Habit. At just .67 cents a bottle, it's calming effect would forever kill any cravings for other narcotics. This was the only one you needed.
|"WE OFFER A PERFECTLY SAFE AND RELIABLE CURE:
To those addicted to the habit of using opium or morphia in any form or manner whatever. We guarantee thls preparatlon to be absolutely harmless, to contain no poisonous narcotlcs. Can be taken freely without producIng any of the deleterious effects on the system, such as are caused by the use of opium and morphia. Immediately on taking a dose of this remedy, a calming and soothing effect is produced. It acts as a tonic to the nerves; its use will completely destroy that terrible craving for morphine in all those who are victims to the deadly habit of taking these poisonous drugs, and free them from their bondage, restoring their health and making them feel like living again. A dose can be taken whenever a craving for morphia or opium exists; it will act at first as perfect substitute, rendering the patient independent of these poisonous drugs, and after continued use for a short period the nerves will become strong and the general health improved, so that the remedy can be taken at longer intervals and soon altogether discontinued; then the cure is complete". Curiously, they include this statement "Cannot be sent by mail on account of weight". What was in this stuff?
|But if you still doubt that drug addiciton was not a problem during the Victorian Era, Light on Dark Corners, published in Toronto in 1894; devoted a whole chapter to the social disease. In part:|
|The Selfish Slaves of Doses of Disease and Death|
|MOST DEVELISH INTOXICATION - What is the most devilish, subtle alluring, unconquerable, hopeless and deadly form of intoxication, with which science struggles and to which it often succumbs; which eludes the restrictive grasp of legislation; lurks behind lace curtains, hides in luxurious boudoirs, haunts the solitude of the study, and with waxen face, furtive eyes and palsied step totters to the secret recesses of its self-indulgence? It is the drunkenness of drugs, and woe be unto him that crosseth the threshold of its dream curtained portal, for though gifted with the strength of Samson, the courage of Richard and the genius of Archimedes, he shall never return, and of him it is written that forever he leaves hope behind.
THE MATERIAL SATAN - The material Satan in this sensuous syndicate of soul and body destroying drugs is opium, and next in order of hellish potency come cocaine and chloral.
GUM OPIUM - Gum opium, from which the sulphate of morphine is made, is the dried juice of the poppy, and is obtained principally in the Orient. Taken in moderate doses it acts specially upon the nervous system, deadens sensibility, and the mind becomes inactive. When used habitually and excessively it becomes a tonic, which stimulates the whole nervous system, producing intense mental exaltation and delusive visions. When the effects wear off, proportionate lassitude follows, which begets an insatiate and insane craving for the drug. Under the repeated strain of the continually increasing doses, which have to be taken to renew the desired effect, the nervous system finally becomes exhausted, and mind and body are utterly and hopelessly wrecked.
COCAINE - Cocaine is extracted from the leaves of the Peruvian cocoa tree, and exerts a decided influence upon the nervous system, somewhat akin to that of coffee. It increases the heart action and is said to be such an exhilarant that the natives of the Andes are enabled to make extraordinary forced marches by chewing the leaves containing it. Its after effects are more depressing even than those of opium, and insanity more frequently results from its use.
CHLORAL - The name which is derived from the first two syllables of chlorine and alcohol, is made by passing dry chlorine gas in a continuous stream through absolute alcohol for six or eight weeks. It is a hypnotic or sleep-producing drug, and in moderate doses acts on the caliber of the blood vessels of the brain, producing a soothing effect, especially in cases of passive congestion. Some patent medicines contain chloral, bromide and hyoseamus, and they have a large sale, being bought by persons of wealth, who do not know what they are composed of and recklessly take them for the effect they produce.
VICTIMS RAPIDLY INCREASING - " From my experience," said a leading and conservative druggist " I infer that the number of what are termed opium, cocaine and chloral 'fiends' is rapidly increasing, and is greater by two or three hundred per cent than a year ago, with twice as many women as men represented. I should say that one person out of every fifty is a victim of this frightful habit, which claims its doomed votaries from the extremes of social life, those who have the most and the least to live for, the upper classes and the cyprian, professional men of the finest intelligence, fifty per cent of whom are doctors and walk into the pit with eyes wide open. And lawyers and other professional men must be added to this fated vice."
DESTROYS THE MORAL FIBRE - It is a habit which utterly destroys the moral fiber of its slaves, and makes unmitigated liars and thieves and forgers of them, and even murder might be added to the list of crimes, were no other road left open to the gratification of its insatiate and insane appetite. I do not know of a single case in which it has been mastered, but I do know of many where the end has been unspeakable misery, disgrace, suffering, insanity and death.
SHAMEFUL DEATH - To particularize further would be profitless so far as the beginners are concerned, but would to heaven that those not within the shadow of this shameful death would take warning from those who are. There are no social or periodical drunkards in this sort of intoxication. The vice is not only solitary, unsocial and utterly selfish, but incessant and increasing in its demands.
APPETITE STRONGER THAN FOR LIQUOR - This appetite is far stronger and more uncontrollable than that for liquor, and we can spot its victim as readily as though he were an ordinary bummer. He has a pallid complexion, a shifting, shuffling manner and can't look you in the face. If you manage to catch his eye for an instant you will observe that its pupil is contracted to an almost invisible point. It is no exaggeration to say that he would barter his very soul for that which indulgence has made him too poor to purchase, and where artifice fails he will grovel in abject agony of supplication for a few grains. At the same time he resorts to all kinds of miserable and transparent shifts, to conceal his degradation. He never buys for himself, but always for some fictitious person, and often resorts to purchasing from distant points.
OPIUM SMOKING - "Opium smoking," said another representative druggist, "is almost entirely confined to the Chinese and they seem to thrive on it. Very few others hit the pipe that we know of!"
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