Saturday, February 26, 2011

1880 Opium and Laudanum

Drugs are not a modern problem. In 1880, the following event, with near-dire results, was reported in The Fowlerville Review:

John C. Miller, of Conway, started for town on Saturday morning to obtain some opium, he being addicted to that habit, and on the road stopped at the residence of Jacob Billings, and asking if they had any in house was told they had had some laudanum, but was not sure they could tell in which bottle it was kept. A bottle was then given him and, after tasting and smelling, he pronounced it to be laudanum and proceeded to take about three-fourths of a teaspoonful. He came on to town and soon began to feel the effects of the dose, which proved, on examination, to be not laudanum but henbane, a rank poison. Dr. Cooper was called and as much taken from him as was possible. He was taken home soon after and at last accounts was in a fair way to recover. It came very near winding up his earthly career, however.

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