"To combine such a drug as coca, or cocaine, with an alcoholic stimulant, is to multiply the dangers of cocainism by those of alcoholism. It would be impossible to find terms sufficiently severe in which to condemn the recklessness of those who promiscuously recommend such a compound for all who are overworked or debilitated. One firm actually has the assurance to advertise a preparation of this kind as a remedy for dipsomania. Truly this is casting out devils by Beelzebub, with a vengeance. Invoking Beelzebub for such a purpose has never been a success. And I suspect that any form of coca wine will make a great many more dipsomaniacs than it will cure."
Dr. Walter N. Edwards, F. C. S., says of coca wines:—
"These wines are sold as being useful in an immense variety of ailments. The following are a few of the many that are named upon the bottles or in the circulars accompanying them:—
"Weakness after illness, "Nervous disorders, "Sleeplessness, "Influenza, "Whooping cough, "Exhaustion of mind and body, "Allays thirst, "Restores digestive function, "Enables great physical toil to be undergone, "Great value in excesses of all kinds, "General debility, "Prevents colds and chills, "Makes pure, rich blood, "Anaemia, "Invaluable after pleurisy, pneumonia, etc., "Aid to the vocal organs.
"This is a fairly respectable list of complaints, and the very fact that these preparations of coca wine are put forward as a cure for so wide a range of various complaints is in itself a condemnation of them.
"When any particular remedy is said to be of universal application for a large number of different complaints it may be looked upon with great suspicion.
"It must always be remembered that there is the commercial side to this question. The proprietors have no particular regard for the welfare of the people; their business is to make a profit, and many of them gain enormous fortunes. By skilful and lavish advertisements, and by carefully worded testimonials, they appeal to the credulity of the public, and often deceive even those who regard themselves as belonging to the thinking classes.
"There are two specific dangers in regard to these wines. They are ordinary wines, either port or sherry for the most part, and therefore strongly alcoholic. The user of them is in considerable danger of cultivating a taste for alcohol, and certainly, there is the greatest possible danger to any one having had the appetite, of reviving it.
"The dose is an elastic one, it can be repeated with considerable frequency three or four times a day.
"What would be said of growing girls or youths having recourse three or four times a day to the wine bottle? This is exactly what they are doing when coca, and the so-called food wines are placed in their hands as medicine. They like the pleasant taste, there is the call of habit and appetite, and so there arises the greatest possible danger of a general liking for alcoholic liquors being set up. The ailing man or woman of set years is in similar danger, for they are having recourse to alcohol when their powers of mind and body are to some extent exhausted, and they are thus less able to resist the fascination for alcohol that may so quickly be brought into existence.
"Another element of danger is that the recourse to coca and kola is an attempt to get more out of the body, and the mind, than nature intended. Overwork, overstrain, worry, all produce exhaustion of physical and nervous power. Nature pulls us up by asserting herself, and we feel run down and seedy, and, perhaps, quite unwell. What is wanted is rest, proper diet, and change. These would quickly be restorative, and once again we should be fit for the duties of life.
"In a busy age there is the strongest possible temptation to seek a restorative by some occult method, rather than to give the rest and refreshment that nature demands. It is upon this that the whole trade in these so-called restoratives depends.
"There is no food quality in alcohol, cocaine or kola, but there is in them all a narcotizing influence that in its lesser stages is hurtful, and in its greater stages disastrous.
"The cocaine habit may be cultivated as easily as the alcohol habit, and the two forms of disease, alcoholism and cocainism, are by no means rare. The great factor in each of them is the loss of will power, and when that is accomplished the descent to complete moral and physical ruin is quite easy.
"A pure and simple life, in accord with the laws of health and hygiene, is the panacea both for the maintenance, and the restoration of health, and that is what we should strive to aim at, rather than having recourse to drugs that are not only ineffective, but positively dangerous."—United Temperance Gazette.
In Dr. Milner Fothergill's Practioners' Hand-book of Treatment, fourth edition, the following statement is made:—
"Coca wine, and other medicated wines are largely sold to people who are considered, and consider themselves, to be total abstainers. It is not uncommon to hear the mother of a family say, 'I never allow my girls to touch stimulants of any kind, but I give them each a glass of coca wine at 11 in the morning, and again at bedtime.' Originally coca wine was made from coca leaves, but it is now commonly a solution of the alkaloid, in a sweet and strongly alcoholic wine. This is really the gist of the whole matter; coca wine is largely consumed by people who fondly believe themselves to be total abstainers, and who are active enough in denouncing those who take a little wine, or a glass of beer at their meals. The sooner their delusion is dispelled the better for themselves, and for the unfortunate children over whom they exercise supervision."
Another physician tells of seeing a distinguished ecclesiastical dignitary, a sworn foe of alcohol and its congeners, giving his young child a generous daily allowance of one of these wines.
The user of coca wines runs a double risk—an alcohol craving may be revived, or created; and, at the same time, cocainism may be set up, and nothing but physical, mental and moral ruin follow.
The British Medical Journal of January 23rd, 1897, says:—
"There can be no doubt that in many parts of the world cocaine inebriety is largely on the increase. The greatest number of victims is to be found among society women, and among women who have adopted literature as a profession; and there is no doubt that a considerable proportion of chronic cocainists have fallen under the dominion of the drug from a desire to stimulate their powers of imagination. Others have acquired that habit quite innocently from taking coca wines. The symptoms experienced by the victims of the cocaine habit are illusions of sight and hearing, neuromuscular irritability, and localized anaesthesia. After a time insomnia supervenes, and the patient displays a curious hesitancy, and an inability to arrive at a decision on even the most trivial subjects."
Dr. F. Coley says later on in the article before referred to:—
"There is another combination which, though utterly absurd from a therapeutical point of view, is not in itself quite so dangerous as coca wine. It will probably do a larger amount of mischief, however, because more people take it. I refer to the various preparations, so largely advertised, which profess to be compounded of port wine, extract of malt, and extract of meat. To the medically uneducated public this doubtless seems a most promising combination: extract of meat for food, extract of malt to aid digestion, port wine to make blood. Surely the very thing to strengthen all who are weak, and to hasten the restoration of convalescents. Unfortunately what the advertisements say—that this stuff is largely prescribed by medical men—is not wholly untrue.
"I do not suppose that any physician of anything like front rank would make such a mistake. But busy general practitioners may be excused if they prove to be a bit oblivious of physiology, and so become attracted by a formula which is more plausible than sound. In the first place, we all know that extract of meat is not food at all. From the manner of its production, it cannot contain an appreciable quantity of proteid material. It consists mainly of creatin, and creatinin, and salts. These are, it is needless to say, incapable of acting as food. Extract of meat, and similar preparations, have their uses however; made into 'beef-tea,' their meaty flavor often enables patients to take a quantity of bread, which would otherwise be refused; or lentil flour, or some other matter may be added. In this way, though not food itself, it becomes a most useful aid to feeding. It is besides, a harmless stimulant, especially when taken, as it always should be, hot. It should be needless to add that to combine extract of meat with port wine is simply to ignore its real use. The only intelligible basis for such an invention must be the wholly erroneous notion that extract of meat is a food."
The prices asked for "secret nostrums" are said by chemists to be ofttimes far beyond the value of the materials. Of one article the New Idea, a druggists' paper, says:—
"It retails at $1.50 per bottle. Such an article could be put up for less than fifteen cents, including bottle, leaving by no means a small margin for the profit of its manufacturers."
The same paper says of a cure for catarrh, neuralgia, etc. sold in the form of a small ball:—
"This cure costs $2.50 per ball. A handsome profit could be made upon it at 5 cents a ball."
Some proprietary preparations are not harmful, but are positively inert. The Mass. State Board of Health in report of 1896 gives Kaskine as an example of these. Although sold at a dollar an ounce it was found to consist of nothing but granulated sugar of the fine grade used in homeopathic pharmacy, without any medication or flavoring whatever.
Dr. Edward Von Adelung in an article in Life and Health, Dec., 1897, tells of a well advertised cure for consumption, the analysis of which showed it to be composed of water, slightly colored by the addition of a very small quantity of red wine, and two mineral acids, muriatic and impure sulphuric, in quantities just sufficient to lend it a taste! He says:—
"Fortuitously I had the opportunity of observing the influence of this remedy on a consumptive who took it regularly, and who was so enamored of its favorable action that he gave up his business to conduct an agency for its sale. It was not long after he had entered upon his new vocation that I received word of his death, due to pulmonary hemorrhage."
The "returned missionary" fraud has been exposed by different druggists' papers, among them the New Idea. The "missionary" would advertise a "free cure," if people would send to him. The "cure" would be in the form of a prescription. There being no drugs in any drugstore bearing the names given in the prescription, the dupe was expected to pay an exorbitant price for them to the philanthropic "missionary." In one case of this kind the "medicinal plants brought from South America, the only place where they grew," were upon examination by chemists of the New Idea found to be ordinary drugs, not one of which comes from South America.
The same paper tells of another "South American" fraud, 60,000 bottles of which were said to be sold in Detroit in a few weeks, by an itinerating vendor.
A certain liver, and kidney, and constipation cure, sold in the form of herbs, is said by New Idea to be chiefly couch grass, and senna leaves. Yet it sells for 25 cents for a small package.
To this paper the public is also indebted for the information that a kind of wafer advertised to "cure in a few days all coughs, colds, irritation of the uvula and tonsils, influenza, bronchitis, asthma, sore throat, consumption, and all diseases of the lungs and chest" was found to consist wholly of sugar and corn starch!
Medical World recently told of the investigation of "H——" by Prof. John Uri Lloyd of Cincinnati. It was advertised as a plant discovered by a doctor traveling in Florida. Its juices were said to be antidotal to snake poisoning, and would also cure the opium habit. Prof. Lloyd found it to be a liquid consisting of a solution of sulphate of morphine and salicylic acid, in alcohol and glycerine, with suitable coloring matter.
Another fraud exposed by New Idea was a "cure" for the peculiar ills of women. The cure is put up in the form of little oblong blocks about a half inch in length.
"A circular accompanies them, and is well calculated to produce alarm in the young. It is another sample of the demoralizing documents which unscrupulous quacks are continually circulating among the laity, in order to create alarm, and profit by this alarm."
After giving a description of the diseases peculiar to the sex it is stated that all of these are curable by using eight dollars worth of this wonderful medicine.
New Idea continues:—
"The cure consists, according to our examination, of nothing but flour, made into a paste and allowed to harden in the form of small oblong blocks. Evidently the quack relied upon the faith-cure principle, and his auxiliary treatment, as set forth in the rules of living given in the circular."
While these inert preparations are of the nature of frauds, they will not injure the health, nor make drunkards, or opium fiends, as the disguised preparations of whisky and morphine are likely to do.
That the use of patent medicines has made many drunkards is a fact well attested. The American Association for the Study of Inebriety appointed a committee several years ago to investigate the various nostrums advertised especially for the benefit of alcohol and opium inebriates. The report of this committee, prepared by Dr. N. Roe Bradner, late of the Pennsylvania Hospital for the Insane, in speaking of the marvelous cures advertised in connection with the use of these mixtures, calls them "volumes of gilded falsehood, designed for an innocent, unsuspecting public," and adds:—
"The use of such nostrums would do more toward confirming than eradicating the habit, if it existed, and would invite and create addiction to an almost hopeless fatality, where the habit had not previously existed. Insanity, palsy, idiocy, and many forms of physical, moral and mental ruin have followed the sale of these nostrums throughout our land."
Dr. E. A. Craighill, President of the Virginia State Pharmaceutical Association, is quoted in the July (1897) Journal of Inebriety, as saying:—
"In my experience I have known of men filling drunkards' graves who learned to drink taking some advertised bitters as legitimate medicine. It would be hard to estimate the number of young brains ruined, and the maturer opium wrecks from nostrums of this nature. I could write a volume on the mischief that is being done every day to body, mind and soul, all over the land, by the thousands of miserable frauds that are being poured down the throats of not only ignorant people, but, alas, intelligent ones, too."
A lady informed the writer recently that her brother had taken forty bottles of one of these preparations, and had become a drunkard through it.
Many seem unaware that the ethics of the medical profession restrain reputable physicians from advertising themselves or their remedies, so that these much-lauded patent medicines are put upon the market by quacks, never by physicians of good standing. It is purely a money-making enterprise, without consideration of the health or destruction of the people. It is popularly supposed that physicians decry these things from fear that their sale will injure regular practice. This is another error as they increase work for the doctor by aggravating existing trouble, as well as causing disease where there was only slight disturbance.
Dr. F. E. Stewart, Ph. G., of Detroit, Mich., says in the October, 1897, Life and Health:—
"Taking all these facts into consideration, it is apparent that the patent, trade-mark and copyright laws should be so interpreted and administered by the court that they will secure the greatest good to the greatest number, and aid in attaining the end of government, viz., 'moral, intellectual and physical perfection.' It is not the object of these laws to create odious monopolies, to throw a mantle of protection over fraud, to enable quacks and charlatans to encroach on the domain of legitimate medical and pharmacal practice, or to support an advertising business designed to mislead the public in regard to the nature and value of medicines as curative agents. The morals of the community are injured by some of this advertising, intellectual vigor is impaired by the use of many things advertised, and physical, as well as moral, degradation frequently results. Crime is often inculcated—even the crime of murder, that the nostrum manufacturer may profit thereby. Cures for incurable diseases are promised, and guaranteed. Every scheme that human and devilish ingenuity can devise to wring money from its victim is resorted to, which can be employed without actually bringing the advertisers into court. All this wicked quackery parades under the guise of 'patent' medicines, and asks the protection of our courts. It is time for the medical and pharmaceutic professions to unite, and unmask this monster, and show the public its true nature. And this can be accomplished in no better way than through a study of the object of the laws which the secret nostrum manufacturers are now endeavoring to prostitute for their own advantage, and the teaching of the public what these laws were enacted for.
"The secret nostrum business in some of its phases has assiduously found its way into the medical arts, and physicians, pharmacists, and manufacturing houses, seem to have forgotten, to a certain extent, the obligations which they owe to the public. Medicine, in all its departments, must be practiced in accord with scientific, and professional requirement, or it will sink to the level of a commercial business. The end of medical practice is service to suffering humanity, not the acquisition of money. Money making is a necessary part of the practice of medical arts, not, however, its chief object. This fact must be kept in view always. Once lost sight of, and trade competition substituted for competition in serving the interests of the sick, medical and pharmacal practice will become an ignoble scrabble for wealth, in which the sick become victims of avarice and greed. Better set free a pack of ravening wolves in a community than to change the end of medical practice to a commercial one, for physicians and pharmacists would soon degenerate into quacks and charlatans, and take shameful advantage of the community for gain."
Where Dr. Stewart speaks of murder he probably refers to the sale of abortofacients.
Dr. Roe Bradner, of Philadelphia, in his report upon alleged cures for drunkenness before the Society for the Study of Inebriety several years ago, said:—
"There is a certain other class of so-called remedies, prepared sometimes by physicians and pharmacists, that do a great deal of harm. I allude to the 'non-secret proprietaries' that claim to publish their formulas, but do not. One in particular has made thousands, and likely tens of thousands, of chloral drunkards, dethroned the reason of as many more, besides having killed outright very many. It is impossible for any one to estimate the mischief that is being done by such remedies, and the physicians who recommend them."
Advertising is still the great hindrance in protecting the people from medical imposters. Professor E. W. Ladd, Pure Food Commissioner of North Dakota, says on this point:—
"These patent medicines, some of which are of merit, and others are only 'dopes,' or preparations intended to defraud the public, have been altogether too generally advertised and sold to the public. In many ways it seems a deplorable fact that by an unfair method of advertising the American people have come to be consumers to such an extent of a class of medicines, which, at times, are positively detrimental to health. In other instances the continued use of the product is liable to result in the formation of a drug habit which may lead to serious consequences.
"It should not be understood that this department condemns the use of legitimate proprietary or patent medicines, but it insists that there is a need for wiping out of existence about half of the products now generally sold, and with regard to the others the public have a right to know what is contained in them, and not be misled by false statements, or by statements so cunningly worded as to positively mislead the unwary reader. * * * In view of the fact that about 90 per cent. of the nostrums on the market are sold by newspaper and magazine advertising and not by the customer seeing the package, it would seem advisable to amend the law so as to cover this point."
There is no doubt that it is the advertising which makes the patent medicine business so tremendously profitable. One firm boasted, prior to the exposure of the fraud nature of their preparation, that they spent $5,000 a day in advertising. What must have been made on the nostrum to allow such expenditure? It is said on good authority that the cost of these nostrums does not exceed fifteen to sixteen cents a bottle, and they sell for a dollar a bottle. Such profits make it easy to buy up newspapers that are conscienceless as to the robbery of the unfortunate sick.
The only effectual way of putting an end to the sale of nostrums is to make illegal the advertising of such preparations in the public press. Norway has safeguarded her people thus. The difficulty in gaining such a law in America will be the opposition of the newspapers, the large majority of which still cling to this selfish method of adding to their gains. Even the so-called religious press is not all clean yet in this respect. Once they could be excused because of lack of knowledge. Now there is no excuse.
During the debate in Congress upon the patent-medicine clause of the Pure Food Bill, Senator Heyburn said:—
"I have always been aggressively against the advertisements of nostrums. Some time ago a friend of mine, a very old fellow, that I had taken a special interest in securing a pension for, had reached the age and condition of dependency. I succeeded in getting him a comfortable pension that would pay his bills for household provisions. Once, when I found he was very poor, I said to his wife, 'What are you doing with your pension?' She said, 'Don't you know, Mr. Heyburn, that it takes at least one-half of that pension for patent medicine?' Then she enumerated the patent medicines they were taking. It was being suggested to them through advertisements that they were the victims of ills that they were not troubled with, and that they could find relief through these different medicines.
"I am in favor of stopping the advertisements of these nostrums in every paper in the country."
It may well be asked, Would any one of these well-to-do newspaper owners entrust himself, or any of his family, in time of sickness to the cure-all imposters whose nostrums they advertise? If one of their children had anaemia would they rely on Pink Pills for a cure? If they had a genuine catarrh would they expect it to be cured by Peruna? Never! They would seek the very best medical advice obtainable. Yet, for the ignorant, credulous, sick and suffering poor they allow traps to be laid to rob of both money and such chances of recovery as might come from proper medical attendance.
The main reason why so many people use patent medicines is the popular supposition that drugs cure disease. This is a great error. Drugs never cure disease. Nature alone has power to heal. There are agents, which in the hands of a trained and painstaking physician may assist nature, but the physician needs to understand something of the idiosyncrasies of his patient's system, or the use of these agents may do great harm instead of good. Those medical men who have made the most diligent study of health and disease assert as their deliberate opinion that excessive professional drugging has been decidedly destructive of human life.
Dr. Jacob Bigelow, professor in the medical department of Harvard University, in a work published a few years ago stated as his belief that the unbiased opinion of most medical men of sound judgment, and long experience, is that the amount of death and disaster in the world would be less, if all diseases were left to themselves, than it now is under the multiform, reckless, and contradictory modes of practice, with which practitioners of diverse denominations carry on their differences, at the expense of the patient.
Sir John Forbes, M. D., F. R. S., said:—
"Some patients get well with the aid of medicine, more without it, and still more in spite of it."
Dr. Bostwick, author of The History of Medicine, said:—
"Every dose of medicine given is a blind experiment upon the vitality of the patient."
Dr. James Johnson, editor of the Medico-Chirurgical Review, says:—
"I declare as my conscientious conviction founded on long experience and reflection, that if there were not a single physician, surgeon, man-midwife, chemist, apothecary, druggist nor drug on the face of the earth, there would be less sickness and less mortality than now prevail."
Prof. J. W. Carson, of the New York College of Physicians and Surgeons, says:—
"We do not know whether our patients recover because we give them medicine, or because nature cures them. Perhaps bread-pills would cure as many as medicine."
Prof. Alonzo Clark, of the same college, has said:—
"In their zeal to do good physicians have done much harm; they have hurried many to the grave who would have recovered if left to nature."
Prof. Martin Paine, of the New York University Medical College, said:—
"Drug medicines do but cure one disease by producing another."
Dr. Marshall Hall, F. R. S.:—
"Thousands are annually slaughtered in the quiet sick-room."
Dr. Adam Smith:—
"The chief cause of quackery outside the profession is the real quackery in the profession."
"The things that are administered for the cure of scarlet fever and measles kill far more than those diseases kill."
Prof. Barker, of New York Medical College:—
"The drugs that are administered for the cure of scarlet fever kill far more patients than the disease does."
"As we place more confidence in nature, and less in preparations of the apothecary, mortality diminishes."
The examining physician of a large insurance company in New York said to a Mercury reporter:—
"The primary cause of so many cases of la grippe in this and other cities is the almost universal habit of drug taking from the milder tonics to patent medicines. Whenever the average man or woman feels depressed or slightly ill, resort is made at once to medicine, more or less strong. If they would try to find out the cause of the trouble, and seek to obviate it by regulating their mode of living, the general health of the community would be better. The drug habit tends continually to lower the tone of the system. The more it is indulged in the more apparent becomes the necessity of continuing the downhill course. The majority of persons do not look beyond the fact that they seem to feel better after the use of a stimulating drug, or patent medicine. This feeling comes from a benumbing action of the drug, because it has no uplifting action. With the system in such a weakened state, the microbes of the disease find excellent ground to grow."
Dr. J. H. Kellogg says in the April, 1899, Bulletin of the A. M. T. A.:—
"Every drug capable of producing an artificial exhilaration of spirits, a pleasure which is not the result of the natural play of the vital functions, is necessarily mischievous in its tendencies, and its use is intemperance, whether its name be alcohol, tobacco, opium, cocaine, coca, kola, hashish, Siberian mushroom, caffeine, betel-nuts, mate or any other of the score or more enslaving drugs known to pharmacology. As the result of the depression which follows the unnatural elevation of sensation resulting from the use of one of these drugs, the second application finds the subject on a little lower level than the first, so that an increased dose is necessary to produce the same intensity of pleasure or the same degree of artificial felicity as the first. The larger dose is followed by still greater depression which demands a still larger dose as its antidote, and thus there is started a series of ever-increasing doses, and ever-increasing baneful after-affects, which work the ultimate ruin of the drug victim. All drugs which enslave are alike in this regard, however much they may differ otherwise in their physiological effects. Alcohol is universally recognized as only one member of a large family of intoxicating drugs, each of which is capable of producing specific functional and organic mischief, besides the vital deterioration common to the use of so-called felicity-producing drugs.
"Is it not evident, then, that in combating the use of alcohol we are attacking only one member of a numerous family of enemies to human life and happiness, every one of which must be exterminated before the evil of intemperance will be up-rooted?"
Among the most popular drugs for self-prescription at the present time are the coal-tar products. Of these Dr. N. S. Davis has said:—
"Only a few years since, the profession were taught to regard the degree of pyrexia, or heat, as the chief element of danger in all the acute general diseases. Consequently, to control the pyrexia became the leading object of treatment; and whatever would do this promptly, and at the same time allay pain and promote rest, found favor at the bedside of the patient.
"It was soon ascertained that antipyrin, antifebrin, phenacetin and other analogous products, if given in sufficient doses, would reduce the heat, and allay the pains with great certainty and promptness, not only in continued fevers, but also in rheumatism, influenza, or la grippe, etc.; and thus their use soon became popular with both the profession and the public. No one, however, undertook to first ascertain by strictly scientific appliances the actual pathological processes causing the pyrexia in each form of disease, or even to determine whether in any given case the increased heat was the result of increased heat production, or diminished heat dissipation. Neither were any of the remedies subjected to such experimental investigation as to determine their influence on the elements of the blood, the internal distribution of oxygen, the metabolism of the tissues, or on the activity of the eliminations. Consequently their exhibition was wholly empirical, and the one that subdued the pyrexia most promptly was given the preference. Yet we all know that the pyrexia invariably returned as soon as the effects of each dose were exhausted, and in a few years the results showed that while the antipyretics served to keep down the pyrexia, and give each case the appearance of doing well, the average duration of the cases, and their mortality, were both increased.
"Step by step experimental therapeutic investigations have proved that the whole class of coal-tar antipyretics reduce animal heat by impairing the capacity of the hemoglobin and corpuscular elements of the blood to receive and distribute free oxygen, and thereby reduce temperature by diminishing heat production, nerve sensibility and tissue metabolism. Therefore, while each dose temporarily reduces the fever, it retards the most important physiological processes on which the living system depends for resisting the effects of toxic agents; namely, oxidation and elimination. This not only encourages the retention of toxic agents and natural excretory materials by which specific fevers are protracted, but it greatly increases the number of cases of pneumonia that complicate the epidemic influenza, or la grippe, as it has occurred since 1888-89.
"The bad work that people make in dosing themselves with patent medicines, without a physician's prescription is not unfrequently punctuated with a sudden death from overdosing with antipyrin, sulphonal, or some other coal-tar preparation."
Dr. C. H. Shepard, Brooklyn, N. Y., says:—
"Quinine is a most fatal drug. Of course, it is the orthodox treatment for malarial conditions, but quinine never did nor never can cure malaria or any other disease. The action brought about by its use is simply to benumb the nervous activity and interfere with the natural action of the system to throw off the poison, which is expressed by the chill. Because of this interference with the manifestation or symptom of the disease, many imagine that the disease is being cured, but there never was a greater mistake. A drug disease is added to the original disease. This is shown by the invariable depression that follows the administration of the drug, and the length of time required to recuperate, which imperils restoration, and sometimes hastens the final results. This is ordinarily met by the use of what are called stimulants, that is, more drugs, and the last state is worst than the first; the poor patient is thus made the victim of a triple wrong, which only a most vigorous constitution can pass through and live, and even then he is crippled and made more liable to whatever disease may come along ever afterward.
"Disease is not entity to be killed by a shot from a professional gun, but a condition, an effort of outraged nature to free itself from an incumbrance, and should be aided rather than hindered by the administration of any nerve irritant. There never will come a time when the laws of health can be evaded. Nor is there any vicarious atonement. The full penalty of disobedience will invariably be exacted. The hunt for a panacea is as sure to be disappointing in the future as it has been in the past."
A writer in the Brooklyn Citizen says:—
"Few people are aware of the extent of a peculiar kind of dissipation known as ginger-drinking. The article used is the essence of ginger, such as is put up in the several proprietary preparations known to the trade, or the alcohol extract ordinarily sold over the druggist's counter. Having once acquired a liking for it, the victim becomes as much a slave to his appetite as the opium eater or the votary of cocaine. In its effect it is much the most injurious of all such practices, for in the course of time it destroys the coating of the stomach, and dooms its victim to a slow and agonizing death.
"The druggist who told me about the thing says that as ginger essence contains about one hundred per cent. alcohol, and whisky less than fifty per cent., the former is therefore twice as intoxicating. In fact, this is the reason why it is used by hardened old topers whose stomachs are no longer capable of intoxicating stimulation from whisky. They need the more powerful agency of the pure alcohol in the ginger extract. He told me that he had two regular customers, one a woman, who had ginger on several occasions for stomachic pains. The relief it afforded her was so grateful that she took it upon any recurrence of her trouble. She found, too, that the slight exhilaration of the alcohol banished mental depression. In this way she got to using it regularly, and finally to such excess that she was often grossly intoxicated. Large doses produce a quiet stupor; additional doses induce a profound lethargic slumber, which lasts in some cases for twenty-four hours. His other customer was a peddler, who came at a certain hour every morning, bought a four-ounce bottle and drank its contents by noon. The man craved the stuff so ardently that he was unable to go about his business until he set the machinery of his stomach in operation, and started the circulation of the blood by means of the fiery draught. He says that the habit is well known to the drug trade."
"The morphia habit, the cocaine habit, the chloral habit, and other poison habits which are prevalent in this and other countries, are only different manifestations of a wide-spread and apparently increasing love for drugs which benumb or excite the nerves, which seems to characterize our modern civilization. Indeed, there appears to be, at the present time, almost a mania for the discovery of some new nerve-tickle, or some novel means of fuddling the senses. It is indeed high time that the medical profession raised, with one accord, its voice in solemn protest against the use of all nerve-obtunding and felicity-producing drugs, which are all, without exception, toxic agents, working mischief and only mischief in the human body."—DR. J. H. KELLOGG.
Much discussion upon careless drug-taking has resulted from remarks made recently in London by Sir Frederick Treves, the King's surgeon, at the opening of a hospital. He said that the time is fast approaching when physicians will give very little medicine, but will instead teach the people right methods of living so that sickness may be avoided.
Although there are some physicians who appear to enjoy the old routine of giving heroic doses of ill-tasting liquids, there are others who agree with Sir Frederick, and admit that they would often be glad to give no medicine if their patients would be satisfied without it. But the great mass of people are unwilling to take a physician's advice as to proper clothing, suitable diet, and regular habits of living. They do not seek his advice upon those points; what they want is a drug that will benumb uneasy sensations while they live as they please.
Not long ago a business man of intelligence was heard to complain because he had tried several physicians and all had failed to cure his sciatica. He said they all told him he must live differently; several said he must quit smoking and lay aside wine and beer or he could not be cured. With scorn he said, "What are physicians good for if they don't know a drug that will cure as simple a thing as rheumatism?" He could not and would not believe that rheumatism might be the result of his wrong habits.
Akin to him in thought is a woman, much above the average in intelligence, who a few months ago had an operation performed upon her stomach. The stomach was enlarged so that the food did not pass through the pylorus, the opening into the intestines. The operation consisted in making a new opening and connecting it with an intestine. This bright woman now complains that the operation was not a success, because she still has times of great distress with indigestion. Upon being asked what she eats, she laughed and said, "Everything, peanuts, mince-pie, sauer-kraut, frankforts; whatever is going. I have a vigorous appetite, and keep peanuts and figs in my room, for I often have to eat in the night."
Until multitudes of people like that business man, and that bright woman, are educated in matters of health, it will not be easy for physicians to bring Sir Frederick's prediction to fulfilment.
The popular supposition is that drugs cure disease, and all that the medical adviser is for is to choose the drug that will produce the desired effect with the greatest speed. Consequently the physician is in many cases driven to prescribe drugs that simply allay pain without removing the cause of the pain. He cannot remove the cause without the patient's co-operation, and as that would require the abandonment of wrong habits few are willing to accept health at such a price. What man will abandon beer to escape rheumatism, or smoking to save his eyesight if he has weakness there? Or, what woman will cease tea-drinking if she has neuralgia?
The Journal of the American Medical Association for November 16, 1907, contained an editorial article in which, after reference to drugs necessary in the practice of a physician or surgeon, this is said:—
"The remark of Holmes years ago that it would be better for the patients, but worse for the fish, if most of the drugs were thrown into the sea, is probably even more true to-day. The vast majority of these drugs have not the slightest excuse for existence."
Dr. T. D. Crothers, in his valuable book upon Morphinism and other drug addictions, reports a case of murder where it was shown that the assailant was delirious from large doses of quinine. He says assaults are often clearly traced to the drug taking of the assailant. A surgeon from a New York hospital, in speaking of drug habits before an audience at Chautauqua, New York, said that some of the ovarian difficulties which demand operations are the result of over-dosing with quinine.
There are people who keep morphine in the house all the time lest some little pain or ache should find them unprepared.
Dr. Crothers, who has perhaps made more of a study of the evil results of drug taking than any other man in America, says of this:—
"Morphine as a common remedy, taken for pains and aches, may suddenly develop into an incurable craze for its continuous use. * * * The early relief which morphine brings to the sufferer is often the beginning of an unknown journey ending in disease and death."
Cases are on record where morphine given to mothers soon after the birth of children to allay pain, has resulted in the death of the infant, the morphine having poisoned the milk.
Cocaine is possibly the most insidious of all drugs yet known. Few of those who become enslaved to it ever are able to lay it aside. It leads to hallucinations of sight and hearing. Many persons have become enslaved to cocaine unwittingly through its use in catarrh snuffs, asthma "cures," and other proprietary preparations, the composition of which was secret. Some states now have strict laws regulating the sale of this dangerous drug.
It is not only the enslaving drugs which are injurious to the body, but even such apparently simple agents as liver pills and pills for the relief of constipation may do more harm than good if resorted to frequently. Some of the ingredients used in the pills for the relief of constipation are said to be injurious to the liver.
Dr. Nathan S. Davis, late dean of the Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago, said of the coal-tar remedies, such as phenacetin and antipyrin, in the treatment of influenza and la grippe:—"While each dose temporarily reduces the fever it retards the most important physiological processes on which the living system depends for resisting the effects of toxic agents, namely, oxidation and elimination. This not only encourages the retention of poisonous agents by which fevers are protracted, but it greatly increases the number of cases of pneumonia that complicate la grippe. The bad work that people make in dosing themselves with patent medicines is not infrequently punctuated with a sudden death from overdosing with antipyrin, sulphonal, or some other coal-tar preparation."
Deaths from acetanilid are becoming more and more frequent. The presence of acetanilid in headache powders "guaranteed to be harmless" and thrown upon the door-steps as samples has led many persons into grave danger, and not a few to death. Bromo-Seltzer, Orangeine, Antikamnia, Taylor's Headache Powders, and various other preparations have all contained this drug.
The use of cocaine is advancing rapidly in this country.[TN: see Errata at end of text] The following article is taken from The Banner of Gold, of Feb., 1899:—
"Value of cocaine leaves imported at the port of New York in 1894 $14,284 Imported in 1897 54,122 Indicated value of imports for 1898 75,000
"In these simple figures are contained the elements of a warning sermon that would startle all America. We seem to be rapidly becoming a nation of cocaine fiends. If the number of those addicted to the use of the dreadful drug continues to increase at the present rate, the importation of what was originally regarded as a blessed alleviation of pain, will have to be classed with opium, and its use prohibited by law, except for medicinal purposes.
"At present the cocaine fiend can purchase the drug without trouble, and the ease with which it is taken is a fatal recommendation to those who crave a nerve-deadener. No laborious cooking of pills over a lamp, cleaning of implements, or troublesome necessity for secrecy, as with the use of opium. Cocaine can be taken at any time, with scarcely any trouble, and without a soul besides the user being aware of his being in the toils.
"At first, that is. It will not be long before every intimate friend will observe a change, a gradual and scarcely perceptible change, come over the appearance and general conduct of the cocaine fiend.
"Begun in many cases in a legitimate way, as an anaesthetic, the surprisingly pleasant effect is sought for again by the one who has had a glimpse at the portals of the elysium. This is the beginning of the terrible habit. The effect is a sense of exhilaration followed by a quiet, dreamy state that causes the worried man to forget his troubles, and the sufferer his pain. Once this freedom from physical and mental sickness has been experienced, the cocaine fiend will rob or kill to get the drug. Enforced non-use of it will not cure the victim. Sentence him to a term of imprisonment, and he will go straight from the jail door to the nearest drug store to secure cocaine before he eats or sleeps.
"From an occasional use of the drug to insatiable craving is the rational course of the cocaine fiend. From thence to the insane asylum and the grave is a swift and easy descent.
"In his fall from health to physical and mental disintegration, the cocaine fiend undergoes a terrible experience. When not in the temporary heaven that the drug provides, the victim is in the lowest depths of an inferno. He suffers from insomnia, anorexia, and gastralgic pains, dyspepsia, chronic palpitations, and will-paresis. He is a terror both to himself and others. The life of the man is a living death. He knows it, and with this knowledge staring him in the face, he rushes for the drug, and is happy for a brief period under its influence.
"It is time something was done to keep from this high-strung nation a drug so deadly. Clear-minded medical men have recommended its exclusion from the country, believing that its use medicinally should be foregone rather than that such a cursed temptation should be placed in the way of weak humanity.
"What the real action of the drug is, and how to counteract its influence, are at present puzzling questions to the medical fraternity. A leading member of the profession to whom these questions were put replied after careful consideration as follows: 'Its physiological action is practically unknown. As an analgesic, it is uniform in its action, and this is due to the suspension of the physiological functions of the sensory cells which it comes in contact with. Beyond this, it is an excitant of the cerebro-spinal axis, later it has a peculiar action on the encephalon, manifest in a wide range of psychical phenomena. Beyond this a great variety of widely variable symptoms appear. In some cases all the intellectual faculties are excited to the highest degree. In others a profound lowering of the senses and functional activities occur. Morphine-takers can use large quantities of cocaine without any bad symptoms. Alcoholics are also able to bear large doses. Not unfrequently the excitement caused by cocaine goes on to convulsions, and death. Sometimes its action is localized to one part of the cerebro-spinal axis, and then to another. In some cases well-marked cerebral anaemia appears, and for a time is alarming, but soon passes away.
"Small doses frequently given are more readily absorbed than large doses. Habitues always use weak solutions, the effects being more pleasing with less excitation. Morphine and alcoholic inebriates very soon acquire certain tolerance to large doses taken at once. The cocaine user takes large quantities, but in small doses frequently repeated. He becomes frightened at the effects of large doses, and when he cannot get the effects from small (to him safe) doses, he resorts to alcohol, morphine, or chloral. In many cases memories of the delusions and hallucinations are so vivid and distressing that other narcotics are used to prevent their recurrence. In other cases the recollection is very confused and vague, and strong suspicions fill the mind that the real condition is grossly exaggerated by the friends for some deterring effect. In common with opium and alcoholics, there is moral paralysis, untruthfulness, and low cunning in order to conceal and explain the condition by other than the real causes."
Hoffman Drops are used considerably as a heart stimulant. They are much more intoxicating than whisky, and, used as a beverage, make the drinker crazy while under their influence. According to Dr. F. E. Jones, of Mass. Board of Health, they consist of 325 parts ether, 650 parts alcohol, and 25 parts ether oil. They are said to have a very bad effect upon the kidneys.
The Banner of Gold for Oct., 1898, contained a lengthy article upon the dangers of drugging, from which an extract is given here:—
"Philanthropists, when trying to stay the hand of rum, do not overlook the victims of drugs. If you will go, under the protecting aegis of an officer, to an opium den, such as are to be found in every large city, and as a visitor view for yourself the degradation of hopeless opium users, then train your batteries towards removal of the cause. Do not depend upon preaching, or the writing of essays, or the delivery of an address before some society whose mission ends in telling others what to do, but put on the armor of earnestness, go into the nursery, and demand of the mother to know why, when little lumps of human clay are placed in her keeping for the sacred purpose of moulding them into men and women, she deliberately feeds the prattling babe with soothing syrups, sleeping drops, paregoric, and opiates in various other forms, rather than with the healthful food, and simple remedies, that nature only requires. With such commercial nostrums the thoughtless mother too often paves the way for her offspring to a life of toxic-slavery by creating a systemic condition, which, in maturer years, develops an abnormal craving, or appetite, for narcotics and stimulants. Follow this little victim of nursery malpractice through the imitative age, and you will discover in him the cigarette smoker, the tippler, the self-abased youth, and later, the man whose life is shadowed with the curse of baneful appetite.
"Ask the druggist, and the saloon keeper, why they dispense deadly poisons so freely to old and young, and they will tell you the law permits it; a sad commentary!
"Converted men relapse into evil ways through coquetting with sin; and cured inebriates relapse to drink, and drugs, through the use of proprietary medicines, with which the domestic market is flooded. Tonics, compounds, nerve remedies, bitters, vitalizers, appetizers, balsams, pectorals and kindred nostrums contain, with few exceptions, from 7 to 50 per cent. of alcohol, or opium in varying quantities, each preponderating in kind, as the effect is designed to be stimulating, or sedative. The active principle of some of the best known catarrh remedies is cocaine, and a few manufacturers are honest enough to so announce on the labels covering their goods; more do not, and leave the victims to discover the truth after they have paid the penalty of ignorance, and developed the cocaine habit. Wholesale legislation, as well as vigorous education, is needed along these lines, and while considering means of betterment, the reputable citizen, the clergyman, and others of good moral repute, whose names are so generally used to herald the efficacy of so-called remedial inventions, should not be overlooked for ethical attention.
"For the information of those of our readers, who are not familiar with the nature and use of toxic drugs, we here refer briefly to the prominent characteristics of a few most dangerously potent for evil, and seductive in kind.
OPIUM AND MORPHINE:—"Gum opium, the dried milky exudate from the green capsules of the white poppy, and its product—morphine—are the most reliable drugs known for the relief of pain. The dose of gum opium in medicine is from 1/4 to 1 grain. It contains from 8 to 14 per cent. of morphine, which is its principal alkaloid. Opium is a much more stable, and stronger, sedative than morphine. The cumulative effect of repeated medicinal doses is frequently observed, and is followed by dangerous symptoms. It is both a sedative and hypnotic, and, if given in large doses, quiets the brain, and excites the spinal cord. Small doses have little perceptible effect upon the circulation, but, under the influence of large doses, the pulse is retarded, and the respiration becomes fuller, deeper, and slower. In poisonous doses the pulse may become rapid, and great depression follow, the respiratory centres are paralyzed, thus causing death. If taken in from 2 to 4 grain doses it produces deep comatose sleep, full breathing, full pulse, dry skin, and contracted pupils. If the dose is sufficiently large, the sleep will be more profound, the patient can hardly be roused, and if awakened quickly, he sinks back into slumber. The face may be swollen, and reddened, and the lips deeply tinged with blue. At this stage the breathing may be characterized as puffing. Respiration may be from 8 to 10 per minute, perhaps be reduced to 4, 2 or 1, and as the toxic effect is more marked, it becomes shallow, the pupils are contracted, and the patient is so thoroughly narcotized that nothing will arouse him, the heart ceases to beat, and he dies by respiratory failure, or paralysis of the pneumogastric nerve.
"Morphine, extracted from gum opium by a slow and expensive process, is used much less in proprietary medicines than is tincture of opium, which is more easily manufactured.
"A medicinal dose of sulphate of morphine is from 1/8 to 1/4 of a grain. One grain is a dangerous dose, and 2 grains are liable to prove fatal. Morphine is a true narcotic. It is a sedative, lessens tissue change, and weakens every function of the body.
TINCTURE OF OPIUM, OR LAUDANUM:—"Laudanum, or the tincture of opium, is a mixture of gum opium with alcohol and water, the solution consisting of equal parts of alcohol and water. Each ounce contains 5-1/2 grains of powdered gum opium and half an ounce of alcohol, and is equal in alcoholic strength to one ounce of strong whisky. The ordinary medical dose is from 12 to 15 minims, or from 25 to 30 drops. It is much used as a domestic remedy for pain from any cause, such as ear or toothache, indigestion, insomnia, summer complaints with children or adults, and is often used in poultices over painful sores or swellings. It is also used in many medicines for throat and lung troubles, in nearly all medicines for painful chronic diseases, and in many of the well advertised spring tonics, as well as in nearly all the compounds that are offered for sale for blood troubles, or as alteratives. The opium in laudanum acts the same as morphine, or any other of the thirty preparations of opium, officially recognized by the medical profession.
PAREGORIC:—"Paregoric of standard grade is half alcohol, which is as strong of alcohol as high proof whisky. It contains a little opium, some benzoic acid, oil of anise, and camphor. The dose is from 15 to 60 drops.
COCAINE:—"Cocaine is an alkaloid of coca leaves, and is used in medicine in the form of hydro-chlorate. It is used locally in powder or solution to relieve pain. It is a strong local anaesthetic. The ordinary dose when used as medicine is from 1/4 to 1/2 grain, and is very unstable and treacherous in its effects. Some patients will tolerate large doses while in others small doses produce unpleasant effects. Deaths are recorded from the use of 1-7 to 1 grain.
CHLOROFORM:—"Chloroform is an anaesthetic, and death is often caused by a few inhalations. The dose internally is from 3 to 20 minims. It is not much used in medicine, except to control pain, and produce sleep. It is inhaled to produce mild slumber, or complete insensibility in surgical operations. Death may come suddenly, and without warning, at any time during its administration.
CHLORAL:—"Chloral, or hydrate of chloral, is an hypnotic. It is of but little value in medicine, except to control nervousness, and produce sleep. The dose is from 15 to 30 grains. It should be administered with caution, and only by the physician. It is made by passing chlorine gas through pure alcohol, and gets its name from the first syllables of the two words, chlorine and alcohol. It produces death by inhibition of the heart's action, and by paralyzing the pneumogastric nerve.
BROMIDIA:—"Bromidia is the trademark of an hypnotic, the manufacturers of which give out to the public that each fluid drachm contains 15 grains of chloral hydrate, or 1 ounce to every 4 ounces of bromidia.
SULPHONAL:—"Sulphonal is a coal tar preparation, and is valuable in medicine as an hypnotic only. An ordinary dose to produce sleep is from 10 to 40 grains. If it is given in these doses for several days in succession it produces great weariness, an unsteady gait, and may involve paralysis of the lower limbs, with great disturbance of digestion, and scanty secretion of urine of about the color of port wine. There are a number of cases of death reported as resulting from acute, or chronic poisoning, by sulphonal.
PHENACETINE:—"Phenacetine is a product of coal tar, and an antipyretic, a drug that lessens the temperature in high fevers, and rapidly disintegrates the blood.
ANTIFEBRIN:—"Antifebrin, another of the coal tar preparations, is the registered name for acetanelid. Its effects are very similar to the effects of phenacetine, and it is used in fevers for lessening the temperature, and for neuralgic pains. The medicinal dose is from 3 to 10 grains. Unpleasant effects follow its continued use, such as great exhaustion, blueness of the lips, and a slow, labored pulse.
HEADACHE REMEDIES:—"The indiscriminate use of the many coal tar products and other hypnotics, such as sulphonal, phenacetine, antifebrin, chloral, bromidia, etc., under the guise of headache remedies is productive of much disaster, all being nerve paralyzants."
The public owe a debt of gratitude to those physicians, and chemists, who give freely such valuable information as to the real nature and effects of dangerous drugs. While it is true that the popular belief in drugging is due to professional practice, yet it is also true that what the people know of the preservation of health, and of the danger of alcohol and other drugs is largely owing to the medical profession. There is as much difference among the members of the medical profession as there is among the members of any profession; some are careless, selfish, unprincipled, unobservant of the effects of various medicines; while others are anxious to teach the people how to avoid sickness, and gain strength. It is the latter class who warn against the self prescription of drugs, especially those of the dangerously seductive, narcotic class.
Yet, with all the warnings, few pay heed. Even highly educated, intelligent people seem possessed of a blind faith in the power of drugs. Every little ache or pain must have its sedative, be the future penalty what it may.
Were people to quit drugging themselves, avoid indigestible viands, eat at regular hours, chew well, stop eating when they have had enough, take a sufficiency of exercise, sleep and fresh air, with a hot bath once a week, and a cold "towel bath" each morning, laying aside all alcoholic beverages, tea and coffee, and tobacco, there would be very little sickness in the world. Over-eating leads to the drug habit for relief from uneasy sensations, so does improper food, or poorly cooked food.
It should be remembered that it is not possible to violate the laws which relate to the physical well-being, and then escape the natural penalty of transgression by swallowing a few doses of medicine. Remedies may postpone the results of physical transgression, and may even seem to prevent them altogether, but careful observation will show that the escape from punishment is only apparent. Sometimes a parent escapes, while his child pays the penalty of his transgression, in a weakly nervous system, which may lead to insanity, or other trouble.
TESTIMONIES OF PHYSICIANS AGAINST ALCOHOLIC MEDICATION.
"In abandoning the use of alcohol it should be clearly understood that we abandon an injurious influence, and escape from a source of disease, as we do when we get into a purer atmosphere. There is not the slightest occasion to do anything, or to take anything to make up for the loss of a strengthening or supporting agent. No loss has been incurred save the loss of a cause of disease and death."—DR. J. J. RIDGE, of London Temperance Hospital.
Sir. B. W. Richardson, M. D., said of the London Temperance Hospital:—
"No alcohol is administered, and no substitute for it. Any drug with similar action would be bad; warmth and suitable nourishment are relied on to keep up the system. We know that people who take alcohol often feel better; this is from the narcotic action. The pain may be stilled, and the disease forgotten, but it has not been removed; its symptom has been narcotized."
Another writer says:—
"I am asked for a substitute for brandy, and frankly and gladly I tell you there is no substitute, for I have no knowledge of any agent equally pleasing to the palate, and yet so destructive of life."
Dr. Norman Kerr, President of the Society for the Study of Inebriety, England, says:—
"My own experience of thirty-four years in the practice of my profession has taught me that in nearly all cases and kinds of disease the medical use of alcohol is unnecessary, and in a large number of instances is prejudicial and even dangerous. Having given an intoxicant, in strictly definite and guarded doses, probably on the whole only about once in 3,000 cases (then usually when nothing else was available in an emergency), and having had most varieties of disease to contend with, my death-rate and duration of illness have been quite as low as my neighbors. The experience of the London Temperance Hospital and other similar institutions, the current reports of that hospital being now reliable scientific records, amply support this experience.
"The chief peril of narcotic drugs has always appeared to me to lie in their disguising the real state of the patient from himself as well as from his doctor and his friends. If there is any serious ailment, such as cholera or fever, the sufferer may seem to be and may feel better. He is not better. He is actually worse—made worse by the alcohol, and not unseldom, after the evanescent alcoholic disguise and deceptive improvement has faded, it is found that the malady itself has been progressing, unseen and unsuspected from the delusive aspect of the alcohol, steadily toward a fatal termination, which might, in many cases, have been averted but for the true state of the patient having been completely masked.
"Wherever the blame really has lain, one thing is now clear, that alcoholic intoxicants are very rarely useful as a medicine; are at the best dangerous remedies; and that, other things being equal, the less they are resorted to the better for the chances of the patient's recovery, the better for body and brain, the better for physical, intellectual and moral well-being. Alcohol does not nourish, but pulls down; does not stimulate, but depresses; does not strengthen, but excites and exhausts. Alcohol is the pathological fraud of frauds, degenerating while it claims to be reconstructing, enfeebling while it appears to be invigorating, destroying vitality while it professes to infuse new life."
A medical writer in the Toledo, O., Blade holds up in clear light the relation of the materia medica and alcohol, and the opportunity of the physician to become a benefactor, and active temperance worker. His remarks follow:—
"One of the signs of the times in the temperance movement is the steady growth among physicians of a sentiment against the administration of liquor of any kind as a medicine. The accepted scientific view of alcohol is that it is a poison, and its administration should be as guarded as that of any other poison used as a medicine. Perhaps the hardest thing a physician finds in his effort to restore his patients to health without the use of liquors is the common, but erroneous, belief that they are 'strengthening,' and that the convalescent, by their use, reaches recovery more quickly. The error is in supposing that any alcoholic liquor is nourishing, or strengthening. They are neither. Alcohol does not nourish, but it pulls down; it does not strengthen, but excites and exhausts, for every stimulation is necessarily followed by a period of depression, and this is inevitably unfavorable to the patient.
"There is a grave responsibility resting on the physician who prescribes alcoholic liquor. It may arouse in a susceptible patient a dormant, inherited tendency to drink. He may, by authorizing its use during the period of convalescence, fix a habit upon a patient of feeble will, which the latter will never be able to shake off. No physician who realizes this great moral responsibility will be willing to accept it habitually. He certainly knows that the best medical authorities agree that alcoholic intoxicants are rarely useful as a medicine; that at best they are dangerous remedies, and that the less they are resorted to, the better for both brain and body.
"In point of fact the physician who does his duty to his patient teaches him the error of the prevalent belief in the virtues of liquor in restoring the sick to health. He becomes an active temperance worker in effect. And he can do a noble and useful work in the rescue of those who are under the control of the drink habit. * * * * *
"Furthermore, every physician owes it to his profession to teach his patients the utter fallacy of the common belief that alcohol is an article of food value. It has no such value. The use of intoxicants in any quantity whatever, or at any time, is entirely useless and unnecessary. The continued use of them gradually induces structural degradations and functional derangements of the great bodily organs, thus leading to the gravest physical disorders."
"I have demonstrated by actual experience that no form of alcoholic drink is necessary, or desirable, for internal use, either in health, or any of the varied forms of disease; but that health can be better preserved, and disease more successfully treated, without the use of such drinks.* * * * * Simple truth compels me to say that I have never yet seen a case in which the use of alcoholic drinks either increased the force of the heart's action, or strengthened the patient. But I could detail very many cases in which the administration of alcoholics was quieting the patient's restlessness, enfeebling the capillary circulation, and steadily favoring increased engorgement of the lungs and other internal viscera, and thereby hastening a fatal result, where both attending physician and friends thought they were the only agents that were keeping the patient alive.
"I have found no case of disease and no emergency arising from accident, that I could not treat more successfully without any form of fermented or distilled liquors than with. It is easy to see that the anaesthetic properties of alcohol can be made available by an intelligent and skillful physician to meet a very limited number of indications in the treatment of some cases that will come before him. But the same intelligence and skill will enable him to select other remedies capable of meeting the same indications more perfectly, and, with less tendency to secondary bad effects. I have no hesitation, therefore, in stating that for the attainment of the highest degree of success in the management of all forms of disease, whether acute or chronic, we need no form of fermented, or distilled, alcoholic drinks. And whoever will boldly make the trial, will find that his patients, of every kind, will make better progress, on good air and simple nourishment, without any admixture of alcoholic liquids, than they will with such addition. In other words he will find that the supposed benefits of this class of agents in medicine, are as illusory as they are in general society, and that the words of the wise man are worthy of careful consideration when he says: 'Wine is a mocker and strong drink is raging, and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.'"—DR. N. S. DAVIS, Chicago, Ill.
"Dr. Hirschfeld, a well-known physician of Magdeburg, Germany, was recently arrested on a charge of malpractice. The specific charge was that he had refused to give alcohol to one of his patients who was supposed to need it. The doctor, like the more advanced German physicians, is discarding liquor from his practice, and made such a hot defence to the charge that the court not only discharged the physician, but assessed the cost of the defense against the prosecution."—Bulletin of A. M. T. A.
Dr. Greene, of Boston, when addressing his brethren and sisters of the medical association in that city, upon alcohol, said in closing:—
"It needs no argument to convince you that it is upon the medical profession, to a very great extent, that the rum-seller depends to maintain the respectability of the traffic. It requires only your own experience, and observations, to convince you that it is upon the medical profession, upon their prescriptions and recommendations for its use upon many occasions, that the habitual dram-drinker depends for the seeming respectability of his drinking habits. It is upon the members of the medical profession, and the exceptional laws which it has always demanded, that the whole liquor fraternity depends, more than upon anything else, to screen it from opprobrium, and just punishment for the evils which the traffic entails upon society; and it is because the rum-seller, and the rum-drinker, hide under this cloak of seeming respectability that they are so difficult to reach either by moral suasion, or by law. Physicians generally have only to overcome the force of habit, and the prevailing fashion in medicine, to find an excellent way, when they will all look back with wonder and surprise, that they, as individuals, and members of an honored profession, should have been so far compromised."
"It will be asked, Was there no evidence of any good service rendered by the agent in the midst of so much obvious bad service? I answer to that question THAT THERE WAS NO SUCH EVIDENCE WHATEVER, AND IS NONE."—SIR B. W. RICHARDSON.
"A prominent general practitioner expressed surprise that any one could do without alcohol in general medicine. He was persuaded to make a trial, by abandoning the internal use of spirits as medicine. A year afterward he wrote that his success in the treatment of disease had been equal to that of any year in the past, and that his cases recovered as well without alcohol as with it. In a recent medical meeting he remarked, 'I thought for many years that I could not do without spirits as medicine. I was mistaken. I am constantly treating cases of all degrees of severity without alcohol, and my success is fully equal to the average.'"—Quarterly of A. M. T. A.
"Happily, the belief in alcohol is passing away."—DR. C. R. FRANCIS, late Professor of Medicine, Calcutta Medical College.
Dr. Moor, the distinguished editor of the Pacific Record, says:—
"While the use of alcohol is always injudicious and injurious, it is particularly so in summer, when the system is predisposed to disturbances of the gastro-intestinal tract.
"Alcohol flushes the capillaries of the mucous membranes just as it does the capillaries of the skin, and where there is already a smouldering congestion, it will take but little to light the fire of acute inflammation, which will rage with greatly increased intensity.
"It is wiser to habitually avoid even the medicinal use of alcohol, as there are plenty of other stimulants which will give the desired results without entailing any disastrous after effects."
"All the pleasant sensations of increased mental and physical power, which the use of alcohol produces, are deceptive and arise from the paralysis of the judgment and the momentary benumbing of the sense of fatigue which afterwards returns so imperiously with perhaps even greater intensity."—PROF. ADOLF FICK, of Wurzburg.
Dr. Frank Payne, vice-president of the London Pathological Society, says:—
"Alcohol is a functional and tissue poison, and there is no proper or necessary use for it as a medicine."
"When I first heard that there was going to be a total abstinence hospital, I thought it would be a complete failure. That was because I had been taught as a student to regard alcohol as absolutely necessary in the treatment of disease. Nevertheless I was an abstainer myself. When I was asked to join as physician, I did not consent without a good deal of consideration, and then only on the understanding that if I thought a person needed it, I should be allowed to administer alcohol. I remember the first case of severe typhoid fever I had. He was hovering between life and death, and I was anxiously watching to see whether it would be necessary to give alcohol, but the man made a good recovery without it. After watching many cases to whom I should have given alcohol if I had been treating them elsewhere, I came to the conclusion that I had been completely deluded. I gave it at one time to a woman in the Hospital who was in a dying condition, but it did not save her. I do not think I am likely to administer alcohol again. We have had progress and efficiency in the Hospital. It has been like an experiment for the profession, and our success shows that this giving of alcohol is certainly a matter for re-consideration for the medical profession. I believe that they are mistaken. There is no doubt that the amount of alcohol used in other hospitals has diminished greatly, compared with what was used in the past. To the outside public also this Hospital is an example. I believe that an immense number of the public have been teetotalers some time in their lives, but a great many of them have gone back to the drink in time of illness, because they have been advised to do so. This Hospital is a standing witness that disease and surgical injuries can be treated without alcoholic liquors."—DR. J. J. RIDGE, of London Temperance Hospital.
"I find very little use for alcohol in the practice of medicine. Where there is one element of good in alcohol there are thousands that are bad."—DR. ALFRED MERCER, Syracuse, N. Y., Professor of Medicine in Syracuse Medical School.
"Alcohol is rarely necessary. Other remedies are much more efficacious. In my department of the University of Buffalo I follow Cushny, who claims that alcohol is a poison, a depressant in direct proportion to the amount ingested, and a so-called false food."—DR. DE WITT H. SHERMAN, Adjunct Professor of Therapeutics, University of Buffalo Medical Department.
"I believe that alcohol is the greatest foe to the human race to-day. I feel that it would not be a serious harm if its use as a medicine were totally discontinued."—DR. WALTER E. FERNALD, Professor in Tufts Medical School, Boston, Mass.
"I rarely or never prescribe alcohol as a medicament or a food, or sanction its use as a beverage. Physiologically I look upon alcohol as a narcotic, with perhaps a primary stimulating effect, but I believe that such desired action as it is capable of producing can be equally well brought about by other agents. As a beverage the use of alcohol, particularly in excess, is attended with definite and well-known dangers."—DR. A. A. ESHNER, Professor of Clinical Medicine, Philadelphia Polyclinic and College for Graduates in Medicine.
"I agree with you altogether in your agitation against the use of alcohol in any form. I believe that wine is a mocker, and belief in wine as a benefit, mockery."—DR. MATTHEW WOODS, Philadelphia, Pa.
"It is extremely seldom that I ever advise the use of alcohol in any form for my patients."—ELLIOTT P. JOSLIN, M. D., Professor in Harvard Medical School, Boston, Mass.
"My belief is that there is very little need of the medical use of alcohol. I almost never use it in my practice, and think that its use by practitioners generally is far less than it was a few years ago."—DR. E. G. CUTLER, Professor in Harvard Medical School, Boston, Mass.
"I believe that the trend of teaching in the Harvard Medical School has been growing less favorable, of late years, to the use of alcohol in the treatment of disease, and in fact it is far less used than it was a generation ago."—DR. JAMES J. PUTNAM, Professor in Harvard Medical School.
"My personal opinion in regard to the use of alcoholic drinks is very decidedly averse to such use. I have long been of the opinion that while the use of alcohol may restrain tissue metamorphosis, it cannot legitimately be considered a food."—DR. WILLIAM O. STILLMAN, Albany Medical College, Albany, N. Y.
"I do not think you will meet with very many physicians who favor alcohol and its use. I believe the trend of the teaching in the Albany Medical College is that alcohol is not a food or stimulant."—DR. A. VANDER VEER, Albany, N. Y., Medical School.
"I think the medical profession could get along perfectly well without the use of alcohol, except as it is needed in the manufacture of drugs. As a therapeutic agent, it has very little value. I do not suppose I have used a pint of alcohol in the last ten years. I think the tendency of the medical profession throughout the country is to give up alcohol in the treatment of disease."—DR. MATTHEW D. MANN, Dean of the Medical Department of the University of Buffalo, N. Y.
"I very seldom prescribe alcohol as a medicine, and think its effects are positively harmful in the vast majority of medical cases."—DR. ALLEN A. JONES, Adjunct Professor of Medicine, Buffalo, N. Y.
"At the Baptist Hospital I have not ordered alcohol for a patient in several years. At the Massachusetts General Hospital, in the out-patient department, I never prescribe it."—DR. RICHARD BADGER, of Harvard Medical School, Boston.
"Alcohol is used much too freely in the treatment of the sick, especially in such conditions as mild typhoid fever, neurasthenia and early tuberculosis. It should be prescribed only when there is definite indication for it, and then in definite dose for a limited period in the same manner as any other powerful and potentially harmful drug."—DR. S. S. COHEN, Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia.
"It is seldom necessary to prescribe alcohol as a medicine."—DR. JAMES B. HERRICK, Professor of Medicine in Rush Medical College, Chicago.
"As I have said but little about the use of medicine in the treatment of typhoid fever, save for one symptom, I may add, for the purpose of definiteness, that I use none except for special symptoms. The rare exceptions are stimulants such as strychnia, in less marked indications coffee. Alcohol as a routine drug I have entirely abandoned, having found that the doses formerly given before or after the bath are altogether unnecessary. Hot milk internally, or hot water bags externally, more than replace spirits according to my experience."—DR. GEORGE DOCK, New Orleans.
"I have no use for alcohol, either personally, or in my practice. Yet I cannot say that I have entirely abolished it. Alcohol is used in compounding most of our tinctures, but in remedies proper my experience has been that other stimulants, such as ammonia, strychnine, caffeine, kolafra, etc., answer the same purpose without alcohol's dangerous effects. In my practice, which is confined to surgery, I find very, very little use for it. During the past year, in extreme cases, I used it in hypodermic injections, and afterwards felt that ether, or ammonia would have answered the same purpose. I think, in general practice, physicians are dispensing with alcohol more and more, but perhaps unconsciously."—D. W. B. DE GARMO, Professor of surgery in Post-Graduate Hospital, New York City.
"Medicine, to-day, would be in a more satisfactory condition if the use of alcohol as a medicine had been interdicted a hundred years ago, and the interdict had remained to the present day. The benefits derived from its use are so small (even when they can be proved, which is much more rarely the case than most people imagine), and the advantages gained are so slight, that they are completely outweighed when we set against them the evil that has been wrought by the abuse of alcohol, and that has arisen out of the loose methods of prescription that have obtained, and even still obtain, in regard to this drug."—DR. G. SIMS WOODHEAD, F. R. C. P., F. R. S., Director of the Research Laboratories of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, London.
"The effect of continually dosing with this drug is too apparent wherever it is used, benumbing the senses, and rendering more difficult every natural function. Alcohol never sustains the powers of life. It sometimes changes the symptoms of disease, but at the expense of the vitality of the body. What is called its supporting action, is a fever induced by the poison, which finally prostrates the patient. The secret of its action is found in the laws of vitality. The man who takes alcohol to help digest his food, must first throw off the alcohol, before his stomach can act healthfully.
"There is one encouraging fact to be noted in this connection, that the use of alcohol in medicine has very much diminished during the past twenty-five years, and the present tendency is constantly in that direction. Right here is an important point which I wish to make: When the physician ceases to prescribe alcohol as a medicine, the drink problem will have reached the final stage of its solution. Mankind will eventually learn that safety lies not so much in skillful doctors, or in some wonderful 'new remedy,' as in daily obedience to the laws of health. A small amount of prevention is of more worth than all the power of cure."—DR. C. H. SHEPARD, Brooklyn, N. Y.
"My observation has been that there is a decided tendency among educated physicians to give less alcohol than formerly in the treatment of disease. Of late years I have given but very little alcohol in my own practice. The tendency is due, in my opinion, to the study of the physiological action of drugs, and to the better understanding of the causation of disease and pathological processes. Modern investigators now know that we have therapeutic agents that meet the requirements of disease processes with more scientific accuracy than is obtained by the exhibition of alcohol."—DR. DONNELLY, Secretary of Minnesota State Medical Society, St. Paul, Minn.
"Dr. Pearce Gould recently made a speech to the National Temperance League on alcohol and the advantage of doing without it, both in health and in the treatment of disease. It takes a strong man to say the strong things which Mr. Gould said on the subject, especially if he happens to be a medical man. No doubt, as Dr. Gould says, the use of alcohol in medical practice is nothing now compared to what it was twenty years ago, much more forty years ago, when Dr. Todd's influence, and the reaction from the so-called antiphlogistic treatment were at their height. Public opinion has been enlightened by the evidence of leaders in medicine, such as Dr. Parkes, Sir William Gull, Dr. Gairdner, Dr. Sanderson, and others, and medical men have dared to treat disease without alcohol, or with only small quantities of it. There are physicians and surgeons of reputation and success, who are so strong in their convictions that alcohol is of little use in the treatment of disease, that it destroys tissues, lessens the resistance to microbes, deranges functions, spoils temper, and shortens life, that they are ready to testify to this effect in public, in company with redoubtable champions of the temperance cause like the Archbishop of Canterbury, Sir William White (chief constructor of the navy), and the Bishop of Derry, who have as much prejudice to contend against in their spheres as the medical man has in his. We recognize with pleasure the good done by such testimony as Dr. Gould's. Men whose record and authority in the profession are such as his have the courage of their opinions, and their honest testimony will be respected even by those who do not go quite so far in discarding alcohol as an element of diet, or as a medicine."—The Lancet, London, May 14, 1898.
"The light of exact investigation has shown that the therapeutic value of alcohol rests on an insecure basis, and it is constantly being made clearer that after all alcohol is a sort of poison to be handled with the same care and circumspection as other agents capable of producing noxious and deadly effect upon the organism. It has been shown by Abbott and others that alcoholic animals are more susceptible to infections than normal animals. And Laitinen, after having studied the influence of alcohol upon infections with anthrax, tubercle and diphtheria bacilli in dogs, rabbits, guinea-pigs and pigeons, reaches the same general results with certainty and directness. Under all circumstances alcohol causes a marked increase in susceptibility no matter whether given before or after infections, no matter whether the doses were few and massive or numerous and small, and no matter whether the infection was acute or chronic. The alcoholic animals either die while the controls remain alive, or in case both die, death is earlier in the alcoholic. The facts brought out by the researches of Abbott and Laitinen and others do not furnish the slightest support for the use of alcohol in the treatment of infectious diseases in man."—Journal American Medical Association, Editorial, September 8, 1900.