Alcohol and Opium in the Old West: Use, Abuse and Influence

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McFarland, Oct 7, 2013 - History - 260 pages
This book explores the role and influence of drink and drugs (primarily opium) in the Old West, which for this book is considered to be America west of the Mississippi from the California gold rush of the 1840s to the closing of the Western Frontier in roughly 1900. This period was the first time in American history that heavy drinking and drug abuse became a major social concern. Drinking was considered to be an accepted pursuit for men at the time. Smoking opium was considered to be deviant and associated with groups on the fringes of mainstream society, but opium use and addiction by women was commonplace. This book presents the background of both substances and how their use spread across the West, at first for medicinal purposes—but how overuse and abuse led to the Temperance Movement and eventually to National Prohibition. This book reports the historical reality of alcohol and opium use in the Old West without bias.
 

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Contents

Preface
1
Timeline
5
One The Demon Rum and Other Drinks of Choice
9
Two The Convoluted History of Opium
32
Three A Motley Mix of Indigenous Brews
44
Four Medical Use of Opium and Alcohol
56
Five Those Heathen Chinee
78
Six Boozers Users and Abusers
101
Nine The Horrors of Addiction
164
Ten Inebriety
184
Eleven The Pathway to Prohibition
203
Postscript
224
Apothecaries Weights and Measures
231
Common 19th Century Medicines
232
Chapter Notes
235
Bibliography
245

Seven Saloons and Other Parlors of Iniquity
123
Eight Opium Dens
145

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About the author (2013)

Jeremy Agnew, a biomedical electronics consultant, holds a PhD in engineering and has been involved in the design and manufacture of medical devices for more than 30 years. He lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and has written several books on the Old West.

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