By Jeremy Agnew
This ebook explores the function and impression of drink and medicine (primarily opium) within the outdated West, which for this e-book is taken into account to be the US west of the Mississippi from the California gold rush of the 1840s to the remaining of the Western Frontier in approximately 1900. this era was once the 1st time in American background that heavy consuming and drug abuse grew to become a massive social difficulty. ingesting used to be thought of to be an approved pursuit for males on the time. Smoking opium was once thought of to be deviant and linked to teams at the fringes of mainstream society, yet opium use and dependancy via ladies was once usual. This publication offers the historical past of either components and the way their use unfold around the West, at the start for medicinal purposes--but how overuse and abuse resulted in the Temperance move and at last to nationwide Prohibition. This booklet experiences the ancient fact of alcohol and opium use within the previous West with no bias.
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Additional info for Alcohol and Opium in the Old West: Use, Abuse and Influence
An accompanying problematic disadvantage is the intake of additional ﬂuid and the effect of alcohol on the kidneys of an increase in the output of urine. 33 As a result, in this early stage of intoxication many drinkers become happy, enthusiastic, relaxed, and talkative. Joking and laughing is common. ”34 Overindulgence in whiskey made drunkenness, ﬁghting, and general mayhem seem like the normal behavior in many saloons and low-class brothels of the Old West. ” Louise Clappe described a drinking orgy she saw at Rich Bar in California during the Christmas season of 1851: “They were dancing when I went to sleep, and they were dancing when I woke up the next morning.
The Chinese originally used much of their opium for medicinal purposes and ingested it by mouth. This changed around 1620 when Portuguese and Dutch sailors who visited China introduced the new habit of smoking tobacco. Around 1650, sailors started to mix opium with tobacco in the belief that this practice prevented malaria. Tobacco smoking became so popular in China that the Chinese emperor Tsung Chen prohibited it. Unfortunately the ban backﬁred. The Chinese continued to smoke, but because they now couldn’t use tobacco, they smoked plain opium instead.
Another recipe for “Indian whiskey” started with a barrel of water. Added to this were two gallons of raw alcohol, two ounces of strychnine to give the drinker a jolt, half a pound of red pepper to give the mixture some spice, ﬁve bars of soap to produce a good bead, and three plugs of tobacco to make the Indians sick. ” It consisted of raw alcohol, a plug of tobacco, some prune juice for color and taste, and a dash of strychnine to give it a kick. Bootleggers and Moonshine As well as making counterfeit liquor by adding various substances to raw alcohol, making the raw ethanol itself was popular in the West.