East to get - hard to quit - America had a pill shaped problem on its hands in 1951.

Pills: America’s Little Goofball Problem – 1951 – Past Daily Reference Room.

Easy to get – hard to quit – America had a pill-shaped problem on its hands in 1951.

NBC Radio – Yesterday, Today And Tomorrow – Narcotics – July 22, 1951 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –

When you consider drugs, in various forms, have been part of American Society since Plymouth Rock, hearing about their mass abuse and tragic outcomes have been with us, most likely since the turn of the 19th-to-20th century. Although reading the labels off various “medicines” of the 1800’s gives one pause to picture how we managed to consider Heroin to be a good cure for the common cough no matter how we looked at it.

But ever since World War 2 with the great strides made in battlefield first-aid, a new generation of drugs was busy saving many lives.

But with every introduction of something that saves lives, there was invariably the ability to take lives was just as great.

In this episode of a several part series on Drug Addiction in America in 1951, the subject of pills and their abuse comes under scrutiny. Lumped under the heading of Barbiturates, or Barby-Tour-Eights as they are pronounced, abuse, addiction and overdose are becoming more of a common side-effect than upset stomach and occasional sweats under Doctor directed use would imply.

The subject of this episode is a physician who himself is an admitted addict. He rails against their abuse and barks merciless condemnation on those who would subject a normal patient to the possibilities of addiction under the guise of improving life. He has become a practitioner of the “tough love” school of achieving freedom of dependence from these pharmaceuticals, but confesses the problem may be more widespread than thought and hard to contain than formerly believed. Still, these new pharmaceuticals were considered wonder-drugs and their abuse became a sad side-effect to something that was actually intended to improve the quality of life in America.

So as a reminder that America and its predilection with ingesting pills is no recent phenomenon, here is that episode of NBC Radio’s Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow from July 22, 1951.

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