I was (pleasantly!) surprised by how much positive feedback surrounded last week’s post, Antidepressants Don’t Work for Most People, Doctors Agree, so I thought it might be fun to continue the theme and take a look at some crazy dangerous drugs that used to be legal. This type of trip (no pun intended) down memory lane makes it a little easier to fathom the idea that some of the drugs on the market right now might not be the best thing for us. (Hey, less than 60 years ago meth was prescribed to treat depression! So this post isn’t too far-fetched!)
As with all of my other neuropharmacology posts, I want to throw a big disclaimer out there and say that not all drugs are “bad” and not everyone can get by with just saying prayers and eating apples. So it’s important to respect the medical decisions of your family and friends – but it’s also important to stay educated and informed. The end goal is effective treatment plans that cause the least amount of harm, period. My motivation in sharing these posts comes from an increasing amount of research showing that diet, exercise and spiritual involvement might just be the best way to go!
As for how all this psychology stuff fits in with the rest of Prayers and Apples‘s healthy lifestyle posts? Easy: One in ten Americans currently takes antidepressants (between 2005-2008, antidepressants were the third most common prescription drug taken by Americans of all ages!). So it’s an issue that affects over 30 million people. Secondly, a healthy lifestyle has been shown to be just as effective, if not more so, in treating many cases of depression. (Check out some of the studies in Exercise and Mood: The Basics!) And third, a lot of these antidepressants are causing a lot of unpleasant side effects that are severely impairing people’s health. So that’s why I like to bounce from topic to topic :) (For more information, check out the philosophy page!)
Ok, so without further ado, here’s a look at some dangerous drugs that used to be legal!
Oh no – wait! Just a lil bit more ado: Yes, I typed a second “s” after Apples and yes, I know most of you thought that was a typo. But I actually feel really strongly about including a second “s” after singluar possesive nouns! (Hey, if you can’t vent about random, dorky pet peeves on your own blog, where do you have left?! lol) Both forms are acceptable, but The Chicago Manual of Style actually prefers “Prayers and Apples’s.” So there ya go lol :)
Ok, now back to our regularly scheduled programming:
Dangerous Drugs That Used To Be Legal
Got a cough? What about a cold? If you lived in the late 1800′s/early 1900′s, chances are your doctor might suggest a lil heroin to do the trick. (The UK Times even ran an article as late as June 14, 1955 arguing “The Case for Heroin”!) Originally created to replace morphine, heroin made its debut in 1874 – but wasn’t outlawed until almost 50 years later.
Not only was opium once used on babies during teething (can’t get much worse than that, right?), doctors used to mix alcohol and opium – called “laudanum” – and prescribe this “medicine” for pain relief!
Worried about your antidepressants causing unpleasant side effects? Imagine the poor people only 60 years ago who were prescribed meth to treat depression! In the 1950′s, legally manufactured tablets (under the name, “Methedrine”) were available everywhere! It wasn’t until the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 that methamphetamine use was finally restricted.
Think meth had the depression market cornered? Think again. According to the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (featured by the National Institutes of Health’s website - so this is legit, folks), cocaine was also a popular depression medication back in the day! First isolated from cocoa leaves in 1885, cocaine had a good run - until 1914 when the Harrison Act officially banned cocaine-containing patent medications. That means for 29 years, patients were being prescribed coke! (Hey, Prozac’s only been around 25 years – just sayin’…)
*Fun fact: Prozac made its debut in January 1988 – around the same time as the “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” song :) lol
I know I’m giving psychopharmaceutical drugs a hard time, but seriously – you can’t make this stuff up! Ecstacy – which wasn’t outlawed until 1984! – didn’t gain popularity until the 1970′s when biochemist, Alexander Shulgin, suggested that the drug would help patients relax and better relate with their therapist.
Yep. Ecstasy will do that…
Like all the great ones, the “first hope for LSD was that it could be used as a powerful psychiatric drug.” Sigh. I think we all know how this one turned out. Too bad it took everyone about 30 years to catch on.
So there you have it…
More reasons than you’ll ever need to shoot down the argument,
“But it’s ok because my doctor prescribed it!”
There’s no way of knowing 100% what’s going to happen, but if I had to place money on it, I’d say that 50 years from now some of the most common drugs prescribed today for depression, anxiety and a wide range of other mental health ailments (helllllooo, Adderral!) will be making a list just like this – and our children (or grandchildren!) will be sitting around going, “What on earth were they thinking?!”
So until then – instead of popping a pill, consider saying a prayer and eating an apple ;)
PS. For more on this subject, check out my MindBodyGreen.com article: It’s Ok, My Doctor Prescribed It: 5 Drugs That Used to Be Legal!
♥ Images Source (I highly recommend scrolling through the rest of the pictures on this page!)
Castle, L., Aubert, R.E., Verbrugge, R.R., Khalid, M. & Epstein, R.S. (2007 May). Trends in medication treatment for ADHD. Journal of Attention Disorders, 10 (4): 335–342.
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Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. (1999). Treatment for Stimulant Use Disorders. Treatment Improvement Protocol Series, 33.
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