The Naked Truth About Drugs
Daniel E. Williams
Pub Date :
Edition(s) at Erowid :
BACK COVER #True or false: Sears sells heroin. False, of course. But it wasn't always so. Opium, morphine, cocaine, and yes, even heroin were once available from the pages of the Sears & Roebuck Co. mail-order catalog. Druggists and grocery stores sold them too. They were popular medicines taken for everything from relieving menstrual cramps to curing hay fever. There was a social component as well. Laudanum, an opium and wine drink, was listed in the estate inventory of John Hancock, the man who signed our Declaration of Independence with such a flourish. Thomas Edison enjoyed a cocaine and wine tonic labeled Vin Mariani, and gave glowing testimonials to its rejuvenating properties. So did Popes and Kings and Queens. And it is not an urban myth that the world's most popular soft drink once contained cocaine.
All of these drugs were legal and cheap and Americans consumed them for many decades, yet the addiction rate then was no greater than today - less than 2%. Of far greater significance is the fact society experienced literally no drug crime. That is until 1914, the year Congress passed the Harrison Narcotics Act. Harrison became law December 17, 1914, the day our drug war began.