A Brief History of Opiate Addiction
Laudanum was highly addictive, carried overdose risks, and had cognitive effects like “brain fog”. Like most of today’s prescription pain medicine it was an opiate, specifically a tincture containing powdered opium in alcohol.  It was sometimes consumed orally. Often it was placed on a handkerchief which the patient would hold to their face, breathing in the fumes.

Addiction was a serious problem in the Victorian era, at the height of Laudanum’s popularity. Alcoholism was an even more common problem,  then as now. The Victorian era War on Drugs focused primarily on alcohol, and we all know how well Prohibition turned out. The modern version has been no more successful.

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