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History of Drugs in America Quotes

They Said It

"The plant is idolatry and the work of the Devil, and appears to give strength only by a deception of the Evil One; it possesses no virtue but shortens the life of many Indians who at most escape from the forests with ruined health... it is a useless object liable to promote the practices and superstitions of the Indians."

- The Catholic Church's First Council of Lima, on tobacco, 115241
"And now Good Countrymen, let us (I pray you) consider, what honour or policy can move us to imitate the barbarous and beastly manners of the wild, Godless and slavish Indians, especially in so vile and stinking a custom?

- England'sKing James I, in A Counterblaste to Tobacco, 160442
"It is an unhappy thing that in later years a Kind of Drink called Rum has been common among us. They that are poor, and wicked too, can for a penny or two-pence make themselves drunk."

- Puritan minister Increase Mather, 168643
"I do not know if coffee and sugar are essential to the happiness of Europe, but I know well that these two products have accounted for the unhappiness of two great regions of the world: America has been depopulated so as to have land on which to plant them; Africa has been depopulated so as to have the people to cultivate them."

- J.H.B. de Saint-Pierre, 177344
"The proud son of the highest civilization can no longer live happily without coffee... The whole social life of many nations is based upon the insignificant bean; it is an essential element in the vast commerce of great nations."

- Harper's Magazine, 187245
"The decadence of Spain began when the Spaniards adopted cigarettes and if this pernicious practice obtains among adult Americans the ruin of the Republic is close at hand."

- The New York Times, 188346
"The new uses to which cocaine has been applied with success in New York... include hayfever, catarrh and toothache and it is now being experimented with in cases of seasickness... All will be given to understand that cocaine will cure the worst cold in the head ever heard of."

- The New York Times, 188447
"Coffee drunkenness is a commoner failing than the whiskey habit... This country is full of tea and coffee drunkards. The most common drug in this country is caffeine."

- Dr. Harvey Wiley, Chief Chemist of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 191048
"There is no doubt that [cocaine], perhaps more than any other [drug], is used by those concerned in the white slave traffic to corrupt young girls, and that when the habit of using the drug has been established, it is but a short time before such girls fall to the ranks of prostitution."

- The New York Times, 191149
"I would not give my child coffee or tea any more than I would give him poison."

- Dr. Harvey Wiley, Chief Chemist of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 191250
"Morphine is the legitimate consequence of alcohol, and alcohol is the legitimate consequence of tobacco. Cigarettes, drink, opium, is the logical and regular series

- Henry Ford, 1914."51
"You ask what we need to win this war, I answer tobacco, as much as bullets. Tobacco is as indispensable as the daily ration. We must have thousands of tons of it without delay."

- General John J. Pershing, 191852
"A glance at the statistics proves convincingly that the non-smokers are a feeble and ever dwindling minority. The hopeless nature of their struggle becomes plain when we remember that all countries, whatever their form of government, now encourage and facilitate the passion for smoking in every conceivable way..."

- Count Corti, History of Tobacco, 193053
"I never felt so good in my life. How about a cigarette?"

- John Wayne in The Sands of Iwo Jima, 194954
"If we cannot destroy the drug menace, then it will destroy us."

- President Richard M. Nixon, 197155

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