Abuse Of Drugs
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
AS the most successful physicians are laying aside drugs because they can save life better without such agents, wise mothers would do well to imitate their example in such simple cases of illness as call only for home care. Multitudes of mothers have done their children great and lasting injury by giving them morphine soothing syrups and morphine cough syrups, and whiskey slings, and rock and rye, and coca wines, and headache powders and various other drug preparations which lead to nervous or digestive disturbances, and sometimes to death.
Dr. Harvey W. Wiley, Chief of the Bureau of Chemistry of the United States Government, has said that over a million of American babies have been killed by morphine soothing syrups. Massachusetts Board of Health years ago warned mothers against morphine in cough syrups and soothing syrups, and said that these preparations sow seeds in children which will bear the most pernicious fruit in adult life.
In many homes children have been given for simple ailments such wretched nostrums which contain quite considerable percentage of alcohol, with other drugs which are dangerous to health. Most of the sarsaparillas contain iodide of potassium, a drug quite unfit for self-prescription. The action of this drug upon many persons is to bring out an eruption upon the skin. This is taken by the consumer as evidence that the "badness" in his blood is coming out. That is why this drug is placed in the nostrum.
Malt extracts are used quite extensively by people who would not drink beer, yet most of these preparations are as strongly alcoholic as ordinary beer or ale. Analysis has shown that they are not aids to digestion as represented; in none of them was there found the slightest diastatic power.
Cod-liver oil preparations are much believed in by a large class of people, Vinol being a special favorite. Yet Vinol in its printed circulars admits that it contains no oil. The Committee on Pharmacy of the American Medical Association says: "A preparation claiming to represent cod-liver oil which does not contain fat is fraudulent." The committee examined Waterbury's Metabolized Cod-liver Oil and Hagee's Cordial of Cod-liver Oil. The latter is claimed to "represent 33 per cent of pure Norwegian cod-liver oil," yet in neither of these preparations did the analysts find oil. They found alcohol, sugar and glycerine, none of which is contained in cod-liver oil.
It is hard to convince people that most of the proprietary medicines largely advertised are useless, and in many cases harmful. This is because they feel better for a time after taking a dose. They do not understand that the improved feeling is due to the benumbing action of the alcohol, or morphine, or whatever drug is used, nor do they know that if they have any disease this benumbing action is only hiding the symptoms; it has no curative effect.
Some of the greatest scientists of Europe are teaching that the use of alcoholic drinks interferes with what is called immunity to disease. It would be well for mothers to study these teachings. If whiskey slings and quinine and coal-tar remedies and "patent medicines" weaken the system so that disease can more readily find entrance, wise mothers will banish all such agents and seek to learn newer and better methods of caring for their loved ones.
Certainly health cannot be purchased at the drug store, nor does it exist in any bottle of liquid or box of pills, nor will these restore health when lost. Nature alone has power to heal. Proper food, exercise, fresh air, and plenty of sleep are nature's restoratives.