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United States

  • By: Kevin A. Sabet
  • In: Encyclopedia of Drug Policy
  • Edited by: Mark A. R. Kleiman & James E. Hawdon
  • Subject:Public Policy, Drug Crimes

Until Congress passed the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act, drugs like heroin and cocaine were unregulated. At the turn of the century, heroin was a primary ingredient in some tonics and elixirs, and doctors began to notice their patients consuming unusually large amounts of cough syrup containing the drug. Americans first widely used cocaine in a few very popular drinks, including Vin Mariani, a combination of red wine and coca leaf extracts. Cocaine products were labeled as an antidote for the melancholy and a healthy stimulant for athletes. “Baseball players have found by practical experience that a steady course of coca taken both before and after any trial of strength or endurance will impart energy to every movement,” read one advertisement for coca-based wine.

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