Skip to main content

Aspirin and Heroin: Wonder Drugs of the 1890s.

Image result for bayer heroin
Over-the-counter medicine, 1898.




There are plenty of commercial medicines on the market.  Occasionally some medicines will get pulled due to certain side effects that no one saw coming.  One of these was developed as a painkiller, initially, known as diamorphine.  The English scientist who invented it couldn’t find a use for it, but about twenty years later, scientists at the German company Bayer developed diamorphine into a painkiller and cough suppressant, as well as an anti-anxiety drug.  Its benefit was that it was less addictive than morphine, which was usually what was used for those maladies (except for suppressing coughs).  The drug first hit the market in 1898, under the commercial name Heroin.

This is the same heroin that’s such a problem today, but at the time, it was viewed as an effective, over-the-counter medicine.  It wasn’t until 1914 that the drug was even regulated in the United States.  After World War I, as part of the concessions Germany had to make to the Allies, Bayer had to surrender its patents to several of its more successful medicines, including Heroin and Aspirin.

Heroin consumption continued afterward, and concern grew about the drug.  Its therapeutic value was called into question, and by the 1930s, nations started to ban it.  Small-h heroin is still around, and it’s seen as a scourge rather than a boon.  Aspirin is still around, too, but Bayer never got its trademark back, so any pharmaceutical company can manufacture the drug.

Available wherever Bayer products were sold.  (Some products may be discontinued today.)  Order now!

Comments

Natalie said…
It's amazing how little has changed in 100 years. Everyone talks of opioids as a mysterious epidemic, but they need to look no further than their friendly pharma corp sales rep.

Popular posts from this blog

Kick the Football, Charlie Brown

What's the lesson here? For nearly the entire run of Charles Schulz's Peanuts  comic strip, one running gag has been the football gag.  The gag is simple: Lucy Van Pelt kneels down on the grass, holding a football in place, and tells Charlie Brown to kick it.  Charlie Brown gets a good running start, ready to give it a good, solid kick, but at the last minute, Lucy pulls it away.  The final panel usually has a miserable Charlie Brown laying on the ground while Lucy looks over him, holding the football, telling him in one way or another that he obviously shouldn't have trusted her. The gag first appeared on November 14, 1951, when the strip was just over a year old.  In the first occurrence, the football was not held by Lucy but by Violet Gray, another little girl in Charlie Brown’s neighborhood.  (Violet would later become a minor character in the strip, and Lucy would become a major one.   Lucy wouldn’t appear in the strip until the following year.)  The f

43-Man Squamish: An Innovation in Athletics

For some people, one of the most tantalizing challenges is being told, explicitly or implicitly, that you can’t do something.  In 1965, MAD magazine writer Tom Koch laid down one such challenge.  He wrote an article laying out the rules of a sport he invented called 43-man squamish.  The article was illustrated by artist George Woodbridge, and judging by the mail MAD received from its readers, it was a huge hit.  Of course, Koch didn’t really intend the article to b e a challenge.  His idea was to invent a sport that was complex, convoluted, absurd, and ultimately unplayable.  It featured the kind of text readers of MAD, not athletes, would expect.  It’s an uncommon sport that has instructions like, “The offensive team, upon receiving the Pritz, receives five Snivels in which to advance to the enemy goal.  If they do it on the ground, it’s a Woomik and counts as 17 points.  If they hit it across with their Frullips it’s a Dermish which only counts points.  Only the offensive Nibling

CNN: Space Shuttle traveled 18 times the speed of light

The CNN headline is not necessarily inaccurate because what we accept as the standard speed of light, 186,000 miles (300,000 kilometers) per second, is more of an average of the speeds of faster and slower lights. Ordinary light, like what we typically get from the sun, typically sticks to the average speed of light. However, here in Boston it's overcast, so when the light hits the clouds it has to slow down considerably. When the light gets through the clouds it's slowed down, which is why things look grayer right now. On bright days, when there are no clouds to impede the light, it can come rushing right at the earth, and its speed makes it seem brighter. Brightness is relative to the speed of light, which is what the Theory of Relativity is all about. The Space Shuttle, flying on a cloudy day and over a part of the country without a lot of artificial light emanating from it, was flying relatively faster than the light in that area at that time. Since the light was th