Researchers have put a lot of time and money into the study of this problem, and came up with a whole lot of theories, but really, don’t let those fool you. Here’s the real deal, here’s why it was so easy in those days.
Stickney and Poor’s (above photo) are known today mostly for spices, but back in the day, they also sold this syrup that helped babies sleep well; and if the opium inside wasn’t enough, then the 46% alcohol would definitely do the trick.
Bayer’s Heroin (photo on right)Yeah baby, between 1890 and 1910, heroin was sold as a ‘less addictive form of morphine’. At some point, it was even recommended to treat the usual cough, but only in children.
Diacetylmorphine was first synthesized by Alder Wright, who concluded it was even more addictive than opium, and abandoned research in this direction. However, the Bayer company concluded that it was very effective in treating moderate pains and dealing with diseases such as asthma or tuberculosis, so they branded it as Heroin. What’s interesting is that it was branded pretty much at the same time with acetylsalicylic acid, that became later known as aspirin. It’s hard to say which one of these had more success…
Click here to read seven more examples of what passed for medicine in the good old days at ZME Science!