The Historical Period Called "The Great Binge"

We know the term the Gilded Age as a time of rapid industrialization, massive immigration the the US, and technical innovations that caused a few people to accumulate astounding wealth. In Europe, the period was called the Belle Époque. But the period between roughly 1870 to 1914 was also referred to as the Great Binge, because the industrial and economic boom was accompanied by an awful lot of drug use.

Industrialists and other businessmen raised capital by importing opium and cocaine. Politicians leveraged the trade to gain power over supplying nations and those trading with them. Authors, artists, inventors, and other celebrities indulged regularly. College students navigated a world soaked with dangerous but still legal drugs. Everyday people relied on opium and laudanum to ease the pain of conditions we couldn't fix, even for children. Heroin was developed as a "less addicting" pharmaceutical alternative to morphine. Coca-Cola got its name from the cocaine it contained.   

We've covered a lot of those turn-of-the-20th century drugs individually, but when you consider them all together in one historic period, it's a wonder anyone survived long enough to deal with World War I. Read about the Great Binge at Messy Nessy Chic.   

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i know cocaine is really bad for you, and ive never done it. but im still curious what the original coca cola tasted like, i wish i could try just a sip. i duno im a curious monkey
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For people suffering from diseases and surgeries and terrible accidents having access to these drugs must have been a true blessing to help ease their pains. And the costs were affordable, too. Makes me sorry we don't have access to these drugs now w/o doctors' prescriptions and insurance companies running roughshod over everyone's wallets. I have 8 autoimmune diseases so pain is my every day life experience and any kind of relief is welcome.
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