Tuesday, March 11, 2014

1800’s Drug Peddler


I like to stop in the museums of the small towns and browse their collections.  It gives me a sense of what my forefathers dealt with before the conveniences of today.  Plumbing and electricity were new gadgets back then and the car was a dream in a back room some place.  The horse and buggy/wagon was the still the primary form of transport.  The train was still in diapers. 

Yet what we consider hardships today, back then they had the latest in technology and equipment.  Peddlers of various types, roamed the country side with their horse and wagon pedaling their wares.  One of the more colorful peddlers was the patent medicine man and his carnival type of sales pitch. 

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These early day side show peddlers were an early version of the drug dealer.  For most of their medicines contained a narcotic of some sort blended with a mild alcohol.  Most common narcotic was Laudanum and then cocaine. 

Laudanum, has been used for centuries as a cure for what ails a person.  It would get them so high, no pain was felt.  Laudanum was a common remedy for consumption across Europe.  Cocaine is what gave Coca Cola its kick and endearing desire by many.

Across the land these colorful peddlers traveled.  Barking out the glories of their special concoctions. 

Then the morals police entered the scene and got the government to declare that this business was no longer legal.  No longer could these legal drug peddlers roam the land freely.  

The government did not eliminate them.  Instead the drug dealers went underground with their wares.  The poppy growers of Afghanistan still had a market for their white powder.  No longer was the powder sold through a business, it now had a secret market. 

Yet the narcotic is still used today as a medicine, mostly as pain killers. 

As a medicine, the government can regulate it and tax it it at a higher level. 

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Like many things, when the government destroys a business, others crop up and flourish.  Probably one of the more unsuccessful government campaigns was the prohibition movement, lots of the them the same anti-drug people. 

Look what happened when booze was prohibited, crime flourished.  Much like the crimes of the drug lords and their gangs.  So many times the government creates more  problems then they solve. 

No matter, it is still fun to travel through the time machine of the local museums. 


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