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Opium, opium consumption, addiction, Harrison ActOpium informationOpium, opium consumption, addiction, Harrison Act

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The second Anglo-Chinese Opium War broke out after an allegedly illegal Chinese search of a British registered ship called the Arrow, in the Chinese town Guangzhou. War broke out again and the Chinese again lost and were forced to accept the treaty of Tianjin (1858). This treaty opened up eleven more ports, permitted foreign legations in Beijing, sanction Christian missionary activity, and legalized the importation of opium (24 ).

Along with the losses due to these treaties China lost about 20,000 soldiers in these wars(25 ).

Opium else where on the globe

200 years ago Opium was in every household. Usually in the form of laudanum, America's households used it as an pain killer, for hangovers, and hysteria and other conditions (26 ).

Sir William Osler called Opium "God's Own Medicine". American physician John C. Gunn said Opium was, "the monarch of medicinal powers, the soothing angel of moral and physical pain". Other doctors express concern over Opium, William Buchan thought opium was a "vegetable poison," and believed it it should only be taken on occasion and in regulated amounts(27 ).

Post Civil War America saw a boom in the use of opiates. One wholesale drug house said it distributed more than 600 proprietary medicines and other products that contained opiates(28 ).

An article in Popular Science Monthly in 1888 showed the results of a Survey of Boston druggist. An inspection of stores found noted "During my leisure time I have looked up more than 10,000 recipes. It has been my practice to go to the files, open the book, or take up a spindle at random, and take 300 recipes just as they come. The first store I visited I found 42 recipes which contained morphine out of the 300 examined. Close by, a smaller store, patronized by poorer people, had 36. Up in the aristocratic quarters, where the customers call in carriages, I found 49 morphine recipes in looking over 300. At the North End, among the poor Italian laborers, the lowest proportion of 32 in 300 was discovered. Without detailing all the places visited, I will summarize by saying that, in 10,200 recipes taken in 34 drug-stores, I found 1,481 recipes which prescribed some preparation of opium, or an average of fourteen and one half per cent of the whole."(29 ).

During the nineteenth century in Britain yearly opium consumption increased from one pound per thousand people, to ten pounds per thousand at the end of the century (30 ).

Addiction plagued white women in the 1800's, according to a survey taken the majority of addicts were white women (31 ).

In 1914 the Harrison Act became law. This required prescriptions for obtaining opiates. Only medical practitioners could write prescriptions and only pharmacists who had federal tax stamps could distribute opiates. The US Supreme Court (U.S. v. Jin Fuey Moy, 241 U.S. 394 ( 1916 ). ) Originally upheld prescriptions to maintain opiate addiction. This decision was Later overturned by the US Supreme Court (U.S. v. Doremus, 249 U.S. 86 ( 1919 ))(32 ).

Opium, opium consumption, addiction, Harrison Act

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