Oh, You Have A Cough? Here Take Some Heroin

It sounds crazy, but there was a time when Heroin was a commonly prescribed medicine by doctors to treat everything from coughs to headaches!

Imagine that, you are in the office and have to inject yourself with heroin because you had a headache. Luckily for us, medicine has moved on and now we have the over-the-counter magic known as paracetamol or ibuprofen. Still, it does paint a funny picture, to think that what we see know as hard drugs were once a widely used medicine!


It was known as Bayer’s heroin and was manufactured by Bayer Pharmaceutical Products. They marketed it as the cheapest product to treat coughs like bronchitis, phthisis or whooping cough. What is even more amazing it was actually even promoted to use on children as well!

When you think about Bayer company today, they are mostly known as for creating the wonder drug known as Aspirin. Probably they want us just to remember that! Yet they are actually also the creators of heroin. They were researching into a medicine that could be used as a cough suppressant that did not have bad side effects, at the time people used morphine or codeine which was known to be addictive. And if it also relieved pain? That was just seen as a bonus.

They sold this drug by the boatloads starting in 1898, under the name Heroin, mainly because initial test patients informed them it made them feel heroic. This surely should have raised some concerns? No flags were raised though and millions of free samples were sent to doctors. By 1899, they were producing over a ton of heroin a year. Imagine that today a legitimate pharmaceutical company producing a class A drug. Yet just a year later wide reports of addiction were surfacing all over the United States. Even so, the American Medical Association gave heroin a stamp of approval, allowing millions to buy the dangerous drug over the counter.

It took another seven whole years of wide reports of addiction and abuse before heroin was finally restricted to 1914 prescription only. And up until 1924 before it was banned completely by the FDA! Yet Bayer Pharmaceuticals had already gotten out of the heroin production industry in 1913, which does seem to give us a melancholy look into the corporate world of the 20th century. A time where it seems big powerful companies operated however they wanted and sold anything, no matter what the consequences were to the masses.

Next Article
  • What If You Could Drink Your Book?

    Imagine being stuck on the beach with your favorite book, enjoying the sun and relaxing. When suddenly you realized that you forgot your water bottle. Oh no! The sun begins to scorch you and your mouth becomes parched. Well, what if you were able to drink your book? An amazing...

    Read More
  • Intelligence Comes From Your Mother

    If you are smart and doing well in life, well it may just be one more reason to says thanks to your mom. It seems Mothers have yet another reason to give themselves a well-earned pat on the back. New research published by Psychology Spot shows that a child’s intelligence generally comes from their mother....

    Read More
  • Can You Actually Sneeze While Sleeping?

    If you have ever woken yourself up by a loud sneeze during your sleep. Then you probably were not actually sleeping. Sleep researchers actually believe it is literally impossible to sneeze while you sleep. Though, at the time of writing this article, there has not actually been any recognized medical...

    Read More
  • World War I Created A Fashion Icon

    One of the most interesting things that happened during world wars throughout history is actually the innovation in technology that they caused. Some researchers even estimate that if the world had not gone through World War I and World War II then we could even be 20 years behind in terms of scientific discovery. [caption...

    Read More
  • Does Yawning Have Anything To Do With Being Tired?

    Yawning is one of the most uncontrollable and contagious body actions. Sometimes you may just find yourself thinking about yawning, suddenly to be yawning yourself. You may see your friend yawn or even an animal, again, suddenly you are yawning! And did you know that even today scientist are really not sure why we yawn...

    Read More
  • Most Wasabi Served In Sushi Restaurants Is Fake

    The sad fact is, if you are a sushi lover, then you probably never actually tasted real wasabi. Even if you have gone to dozens of sushi restaurants, you may still never have had the real thing. In America, an enormous amount of wasabi is just a quick mix of...

    Read More