Thursday, November 15, 2012

These heroin ads are not a PSAs

From Wikipedia:
In 1895, the German drug company Bayer marketed diacetylmorphine as an over-the-counter drug under the trademark name Heroin. The name was derived from the Greek word "Heros" because of its perceived "heroic" effects upon a user. It was developed chiefly as a morphine substitute for cough suppressants that did not have morphine's addictive side-effects. Morphine at the time was a popular recreational drug, and Bayer wished to find a similar but non-addictive substitute to market. However, contrary to Bayer's advertising as a "non-addictive morphine substitute," heroin would soon have one of the highest rates of dependence among its users.

Yes, that Bayer. The story of how Heroin was first marketed as a treatment for opium addiction is a popular one. But this is the first time I've seen an actual ad for it (via Retronaut).

There was soon also competition to the German drug, in this case from the Martin H. Smith Company of New York:

New York University at Buffalo's Addiction Research Unit writes:
Heroin was widely used not only as an analgesic but also as a remedy for asthma, coughs, and pneumonia. Mixing heroin with glycerin (and often adding sugar or spices) made the bitter-tasting opiate more palatable for oral consumption. 

 Candied heroin. What could possibly go wrong?

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