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History of Drugs in America

History of Drugs in America

 Table of Contents

History of Drugs in America Trivia

Brain Snacks: Tasty Tidbits of Knowledge

In the nineteenth century, the Sioux Indians of the Great Plains became addicted to coffee, which they called kazuta sapa—"black medicine." For a time, white traders were able to obtain a buffalo robe in exchange for a single cup of coffee.32

On the eve of the American Revolution, rum accounted for 80% of New England's exports... and the proceeds from rum sales were used almost exclusively to buy African slaves.33

In 1699, Britain imported six tons of tea. In 1799, Britain imported 11,000 tons of tea.34

During the early Cold War, Georgy Zhukov—the Soviet Red Army's greatest general—fell in love with Coca-Cola. Since it didn't look good for the Communist general to be seen enjoying one of capitalism's most iconic products, Zhukov requested—and Coca-Cola produced—a special supply of Coke, made without caramel coloring to look like clear vodka and bottled with a special Communist-friendly red-star label.35

Adolf Hitler headed a major anti-smoking campaign in Nazi Germany, using typically racist thinking to denounce tobacco as the "wrath of the Red Man against the White Man for having been given hard liquor." In spite of the führer's anti-smoking stance, Germans' per-capita consumption of cigarettes nearly doubled between 1932 and 1939.36

A very popular drink in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries was Vin Mariani, a brand of red wine infused with significant quantities of cocaine. Prominent drinkers and endorsers of the drugged wine included inventors (Thomas Edison, the Lumiére brothers), writers (Henrik Ibsen, Jules Verne, H.G. Wells), artists (Auguste Rodin, Auguste Bartholdi), and American presidents (William McKinley, Ulysses S. Grant).37

In 1901, 30% of the cocaine addicts in America were dentists.38

Marijuana is currently the United States' most valuable cash crop, with cultivators growing nearly $36 billion dollars worth of the illegal weed every year. Corn, the nation's second most valuable agricultural commodity, is worth only $23 billion. Marijuana is the leading agricultural product of twelve different states—Hawaii, Alaska, California, Oregon, Alabama, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, Connecticut, and Maine.39

1830 may have been the drunkest year in American history. That year Americans drank an average of 9.5 gallons of hard liquor, plus another 27 gallons of hard cider, for every man and woman over 14 years of age. The endemic inebriation of the American people inspired anti-alcohol reformers to launch the temperance movement, which grew to become the first powerful social movement in American history. The temperance movement made a quick impact: total alcohol consumption in America fell by three-fourths within fifteen years.40

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