Today’s illegal drugs were yesterday’s legal ones
In the early 1900s cocaine and heroin were legal, everyday drugs. Heroin was used for calming kids, cocaine for stimulating metabolism and appetite, and both were prescribed as mood enhancers.
C.F. Boehringer from Mannheim, Germany, was proud to be the world’s leading cocaine producer. Even wines often contained cocaine, and so were consequently in huge demand. Pope Leo XIII awarded a gold medal to winemaker Angelo Mariani for his invention of cocaine-enriched wine. On the label of Maltine wine, produced in New York, people were instructed to consume a full glass during and after meals, with children recommended to take a half glass full. Metcalf was another famous cocaine-wine that was popular as a party drink. Vapor-OL was a mix of alcohol and opium that was claimed to cure asthma and spasms.
As wine bottles were too bulky to put in handbags, ladies instead carried small cocaine tablets with them when they went out. These were supposedly used to enhance mood and treat the vocal cords. For avoiding sore throats, such tablets were seen as essential for singers, mothers with young children, and teachers. Children were even given cocaine tablets for toothache. It only cured the symptoms, of course, and the pain soon came back once the effects of the drug wore off. Even today, dentists use a modified form of cocaine known as Lidocaine to numb nerves before surgery..