Drugs, Drugs, and More Drugs

This headline is from the February 15, 1914 edition of New York’s The Sun. The feature outlined the perils of drug abuse and addiction of the day, even suggesting that a large number of addicts were the doctors writing the prescriptions. Two pieces of the spread were of particular interest: a list of common tonics, cures, remedies, and syrups that contained possibly dangerous or habit-forming drugs and a “diary” of a doctor who injected himself with cocaine to document its effects in 1888.

He took his first dose at 6, but didn’t feel any differently so he dosed again a half an hour later. 

 “A sense of impending dissolution came over me-not a feeling of fear but a conviction that my physical condition was such that death was almost inevitable. My mind remained perfectly clear.”

Dr. Way and the others assisting him continued to expect him to die as he requested ammonia to help overcome the ill effects of the cocaine. “Mind still clear” at 7:30, but by 11 he was experiencing prostration and fatigue.

He was still able to sleep through the night, but complained about a dry throat and muscle fatigue the next day.