April 1, 2015

My Drugged Childhood

I'm not sure whether this qualifies as April Fool's or Throwback Thursday, but I was thinking this morning about all of the substances -- some of them now Controlled -- to which I was commonly exposed as a child in the 1950s. Easily available and widely used, these were some hefty meds, and on top of that they tasted lovely. Who can forget the licorice sweetness of Paregoric (tincture of opium) or the cheery, cherry tang of Cheracol syrup (with codeine). One use that followed me into adulthood (until they changed the formula) were the wonderful Parke Davis Throat Disks (best thing for public speaking, as chloroform does wonders for clearing the throat, and they had that familiar anise flavor harking back to Paregoric!)

And who can forget the inhalants! I was never without my Vicks Inhaler (methamphetimine does wonders for a stuffy nose; and I think the photo above indicates recent use thereof). The classroom was a garden of scents, from Magic Marker to the Holy Grail of freshly run-off mimeographs. And dare I say that Airplane Glue and Dope (I'm not making this up) -- not huffed or puffed, but just enjoyed as a side-benefit of model airplane construction; which perhaps helps explain the popularity of that hobby in the fifties.

Veering away from actual consumption, I won't even retail what you got in the average 1950s Chemistry Set, but suffice it to say that between it and some items purchased from the local pharmacy I was able to make enough black powder to burn up much of my bedroom, and lucky enough not to have set it off in a tightly sealed package.

And all of this probably helps to explain the sixties and seventies.

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG

5 comments:

David said...

I really wish you could still get Cheracol. Stuff WORKED! :)

Anjel Scarborough said...

How in God's name did we ever make it to adulthood? LOL!

JCF said...

Seems whenever I get a BAD cough recently, I wish I had the codeine stuff. The dextromethorphan junk I cough right through, choking... }-0<<<

Marshall Scott said...

And then there was Parapectoline - paregoric and Kaopectate. Sometimes, too, the prescription stuff had its effects. It is reported I was a restive baby, and the prescription was phenobarbital. It made me mellow then. Don't know whether it contributes when I am mellow now....

Whit Johnstone said...

It is still legal to sell codeine cough syrup without a prescription. Most chain pharmacies won't do it because they don't want drug seekers, and the mom and pops will set conditions, such as "you have to be coughing and name two OTC products that you tried and didn't work". But it's worth asking if you have a cough that normal cough syrup won't touch. Also, since Tobias is in New York, he can cross the Canadian border for OTC Codine+Caffine tablets. And I'm probably on a NSA/DEA watch list for typing this.