February 22, 2005

1898: Bayer mass markets heroin as cough suppressant

Stranger and stranger these things might be.

Bayer trademarked "heroin" in 1898 as a non-addictive substitute for morphine, and marketed it alongside it's other trademarked product, "aspirin," as a remedy to be used in the home by consumers. Heroin was actually accepted as a safe remedy for children as a cough suppressant.

Bayer quit making heroin (as you can imagine, in a very pure form for public consumption) in 1910, after they determined the addictive properties of the narcotic were more than they had originally determined.

The US government outlawed the production of heroin in 1924.

Posted by mhking at February 22, 2005 01:45 PM

One of the early uses of "heroin" was also a non-addictive cure for "soldiers disease." Following a number of wars, soldiers who were addicted to morphine. The fellow who "invented" heroin (Heinrich Dreser) also had major hand in developing what Bayer is really known for: Aspirin.

Posted by: GMRoper at February 23, 2005 05:54 PM

Thank you for that little piece of history. I really love those bit of knowledge of the past that put our world into perspective.

Posted by: Steven J. Kelso Sr. at February 24, 2005 09:11 PM

The history of Coca-Cola, Listerene, hemp products, and cough syrup in general is interesting.

Posted by: DarkStar at February 25, 2005 12:45 AM
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