If you’ve been following my blog over the last month or so, you may have seen the first few videos in a series I’ve entitled “Our Junky Forefathers”. In these videos we’ve examined parts of America’s drug culture throughout the twentieth century.
In a Century of Syringes, we looked back in awe and reverence at the syringes our junky forefathers were subjected to during the first half of the century. Nasty, 25-guage, dull, reusable syringes. Many of which would barely seem to pass muster as an oral syringe, let a lone an intravenous syringe! Just there mere thought of injecting myself with one of the vintage relics sends shivers down my already overused and tired veins. Yet at the same time, I’m reminded that the process of injecting drugs like heroin and cocaine is a time honored tradition that many of our junky forefathers have spent a good portion of their lives trying to perfect and fine-tune, resulting in the relatively painless and sanitary modern process that we practice today.
In Your Doctor Recommends Camels, we had a somewhat shocking, yet undeniably humorous look back at the advertising campaigns paid for by Big Tobacco. We learned that doctors and Olympic athletes alike recommend Camels, Santa smokes Pall Malls and dentists prefer Lucky’s. All cigarettes will help you loose weight. And no girl can resist a man who blows Tipalet smoke in her face.
Medicine of a Bygone Era showed us actual photographs of drugs our not-to-distance ancestors kept stocked in their medicine cabinet where we now keep Tylenol and Advil. Cannabis for infants, cocaine toothpaste and hair gel, opium wine, heroin for your cough, pneumonia, asthma and whopping cough, radioactive water for your acne, chloroform mixed with morphine for bronchitis, LSD and psilocybin for psychiatric therapy. And my favorite, heroin and cocaine lozenges for a sore throat.
But no one would have even considered taking these drugs if someone wasn’t behind the scenes boasting of their unparalleled healing proprieties and health benefits. Pharmaceuticals have been and always will be above all else, a phenomenal moneymaker. Racking in billions upon billions of dollars for their manufactures. In this next installments of “Our Junky Forefathers”, let’s take a look back at the advertisements used to market these medicines to the public. While some of these campaigns may seem ludicrous to your modern sensibilities, remember that at one time these drugs were as widely accepted as Vicodin. All of public’s anti-drug sentiment today can be credited to mass media advertisements, the same way their health benefits were boasted of just a few decades earlier. The medicine hasn’t changed, only public perception.
So, I’ll jump off my soapbox now and present to you, the 4th installment of “Our Junky Forefathers”…
One Man’s Medicine is Another Man’s Poison.