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Drug Rehab Was Unknown for America's First Prescription Drug Addicts

The millions of current OxyContin, heroin and other opiate addicts of today have something of an historic precedent. Americans have a long history of opiate use stretching back 100 years or more, back to when mothers fed opium, heroin and morphine to their babies for teething problems and cocaine to their kids for asthma. We were bred into alcohol and drug addiction, but drug rehab was completely unknown.

Patent medicines were the thing of the day in the late 1800s and early 1900s. How would you like to give your infants and children 'Dr. Tucker's Asthma Specific' containing large amounts of cocaine? Or how about 'Dr. Fahrney's Teething Syrup' laced with morphine, or 'Dr. James' Soothing Syrup' loaded with heroin, and 'Dr. Moffett's Teething Powder' made from opium? Meantime, while the Temperance League battled alcohol and extolled the evils of "demon rum", they were feeding loads of it to their kids and to themselves, because popular patent medicines were all concocted with alcohol.
Thousands of adults consumed millions of bottles of alcohol-laced patent medicines, the kind that could often be seen gripped in the shaking hands of 'the town drunk' when he couldn't get someone to buy him some whiskey. Talk about breeding a nation of people needing alcohol and drug rehab, from the cradle to the grave!

Way back when, cocaine could be bought at the local drugstore without a prescription. Later, after some early laws were passed to control it, cocaine was sold on the streets for as little as $2 a gram, and little efforts were made to control it. Doctors used cocaine to treat anything from asthma to prostate enlargement, or even to treat morphine addiction - reminiscent of today's practice of trading heroin addiction for methadone addiction rather than ending the addiction with drug detox and drug rehab.

These addictive powders and potions were available to anyone by mail or over the counter, and alcohol and drug rehab as we know them today weren't even thought of. Like today's prescription drug addicts, many addicts were created by doctors treating wounded veterans and people with chronic pain with prescriptions for morphine and opium. But back then there was little that was done in the name of drug rehab. People became addicted to opiates just like our millions of pharmaceutical addicts today who are dependent on OxyContin, Percocet, Vicodin and all the other opiates and analgesics. At least today, modern drug rehab is a viable solution.

For generations, most people regarded addiction as a moral and legal issue. Today, we know addiction is a treatable medical problem, not a moral one. Modern drug detox and drug rehab come in many forms, and some programs work better for some people than others. But the common success factor seems to be time - the more you put into any drug rehab program, the more you get back of your life.

Resource: Rod MacTaggart is a freelance writer that contributes articles on health.
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