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The Great Binge (1870 - 1914)

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posted on Aug, 30 2010 @ 09:45 AM
I recently came across a thread on ATS entitled; 1914 - The Year the World Went Mad. Within the thread a quote was used to reinforce the general synopsis being proposed, that quote was...

“The last completely ‘normal’ year in history was 1913, the year before World War I began.”—Editorial in the Times-Herald, Washington, D.C

Many of the replies gave other examples of how the year 1914 was an ominous one, things such as the First World War (obviously), the founding of the Federal Reserve Bank and a couple of religious prophesies that coincided with this date.

I think a very solid case was made that the year 1914 was indeed the seminal date in modern history – just look at what has happened since for validation.

However, I began questioning what could have happened in the years running up to 1914 that would result in such a turbulent change. Then it hit me...

The Great Binge (1870 – 1914)

The "Great Binge" is a term used by historians to describe the period between 1870 and 1914 when various drugs were developed and widely consumed, alongside strong alcoholic drinks, without prohibition and in quantities that nowadays are considered excessive.


It all began with the popularisation of Absinthe in the 1840's when it was given to French soldiers as a Malaria treatment. By 1910 the French were consuming over 36 million litres each year. Eventually though the drink was demonised by winemakers’ associations and was publicly associated with violent crimes and social disorder. One critic commentated:

“Absinthe makes you crazy and criminal, provokes epilepsy and tuberculosis, and has killed thousands of French people. It makes a ferocious beast of man, a martyr of woman, and a degenerate of the infant, it disorganizes and ruins the family and menaces the future of the country.”

As a result dozens of countries around the world had banned the drink, with France finally succumbing in 1914.


 Felix Hoffmann, working at the Aktiengesellschaft Farbenfabriken (today the Bayer pharmaceutical company) in Elberfeld, Germany, was instructed by his supervisor Heinrich Dreser to acetylate morphine with the objective of producing codeine, a constituent of the opium poppy, pharmacologically similar to morphine but less potent and less addictive. Instead the experiment produced an acetylated form of morphine one and a half to two times more potent than morphine itself.

From 1898 through to 1910 diacetylmorphine was marketed under the trade name Heroin as a non-addictive morphine substitute and cough suppressant. Bayer marketed the drug as a cure for morphine addiction before it was discovered that it rapidly metabolizes into morphine. As such, heroin is essentially a quicker acting form of morphine. The company was embarrassed by the new finding, which became a historic blunder for Bayer. - Wiki


It seems that women and children were specifically targeted. A popular cough syrup of the day, Ayers Cherry Pectoral, contained opium and was given to babies in Europe as well as America to treat a vast multitude of illnesses and irritations in chldren; often administered to simply quiet a crying baby.


The most important reason for the increase in opiate consumption in the United States during the 19th century was the prescribing and dispensing of legal opiates by physicians and pharmacist to women with ”female problems” (mostly to relieve painful menstruation. Between 150,000 and 200,000 opiate addicts lived in the United States in the late 19th century and between two-thirds and three-quarters of these addicts were women.


In 1885 the U.S. manufacturer Parke-Davis sold coc aine in various forms, including cigarettes, powder, and even a coc aine mixture that could be injected directly into the user’s veins with the included needle. The company promised that its coc aine products would “supply the place of food, make the coward brave, the silent eloquent and ... render the sufferer insensitive to pain.”

By the late Victorian era coc aine use had appeared as a vice in literature. For example, it was injected by Arthur Conan Doyle’s fictional Sherlock Holmes.

In early 20th-century Memphis, Tennessee, coc aine was sold in neighborhood drugstores on Beale Street, costing five or ten cents for a small boxful. Stevedores along the Mississippi River used the drug as a stimulant, and white employers encouraged its use by black laborers. - Wiki

Once again it seems that children were targeted...


Soon enough the devastating effects of massive drug use on society became self evident. More and more people were coming out in opposition of these 'miracle' drugs and patent medicines, one such critic being Samuel Hopkins Adams. In 1905 Adams published an exposé entitled "The Great American Fraud" in Collier's Weekly. This exposé lead to the 'Pure Food and Drug Act' of 1906 which required that certain specified drugs, including alcohol, coc aine, heroin, morphine, and cannabis, be accurately labelled with contents and dosage.

This new legislation did little to curve people's addictions, as Adams pointed out, even when told that the medicine was useless people still bought it...

A cut-rate store, the Economical Drug Company of Chicago, started upon a campaign and displayed a sign in the window reading:


This was followed up by the salesmen informing all applicants for the prominent nostrums that they were wasting money.

And yet people still flocked to their local stores to get their next fix - the western world was addicted.

Finally, the government could no longer ignore the detrimental effects of such large scale drug abuse/addiction and eventually introduced the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act - a United States federal law that regulated and taxed the production, importation, and distribution of opiates. The law itself was approved on December 17......1914.

1914 saw the beginning of the end of The Great Binge. However, the damage had already been done. Fifty years of hardcore drug use to which no social class, race, sex or age was discriminated against made sure of that.

Had the world been drugged into subservience?
Had we been distracted while the wheels of suppression were set in motion?

If 1914 truly was 'the year the world went mad', was 'the great binge' the slow but steady decline into such inevitable insanity?

posted on Aug, 30 2010 @ 11:25 AM
After reading your post, I'm a little confused.

When I started reading the article, it sounded like the point you were trying to make was that the world was normal prior to 1914 and went mad on and after 1914.

Though going further, it seemed pretty clear that the world was indeed crazy, given that so many people were addicted to patent medicines. So at first I thought you were getting at the almost comedic irony of the statement. Not a bad point, I agree.

Then you talked about how the American government took clear steps to get America off these drugs, because it was obviously having an effect on America and the world on so many levels. Though you concluded the post, seemingly insinuating that the great binge was a step in the process, designed by TPTB to dilute our morals and makes us crazy for our next fix (drugs, sex, material things) while they got things ready to take total control of us. Also an interesting point, I never really thought of it that way.

As a side note, this is also the part of the article where it sounded like you were describing more of an American problem since you started talking about American laws, rather than a world problem. Though we all know that an American problem isn't and wasn't always a world problem.

So overall, I felt like you included some really good info, but I feel like you tried to make a few different points all at once and it was a little confusing. Could you please clarify for us what the main point was?

posted on Aug, 30 2010 @ 11:46 AM
Both World Wars began in Europe, not America. America's addictions began in earnest during the Civil War when tens of thousands of wounded soldiers started using Laudanum (opium) for pain relief.
Your post is a good read on the history of drug use but I find no correlation between that and the world going mad.
That is something I blame on the banks and the industrialists because wars are very profitable for them both. Nothing has changed significantly since as far as I know.

posted on Aug, 30 2010 @ 12:36 PM
reply to post by upgrayedd

The hypothesis I was putting forward was thus; according to the '1914 - The Year the World Went Mad' thread many social commentators and journalists cite the year of 1913 as "The last completely ‘normal’ year..." - in essence claiming that the year of 1914 was 'the year the world went mad'.

I was trying to look for reasons why this might be the case.

So, my thread was attempting to tie together 50 years of mass drug abuse to the eventual insanity that followed from the year 1914.

The reason I focused more on America was because they were the most prominent (and documented) patent medicine users. However, the theory does extend to Europe too as the exact same problems were in operation there.

I suppose my main point was: 50 odd years of drugged up masses = Federal Reserve/WW1/WW1 etc...

If that makes any sense

posted on Aug, 30 2010 @ 12:42 PM
reply to post by Asktheanimals

Yes, both wars started in Europe (but were not necessarily orchestrated by Europeans) but Europe also had a massive drug problem, just like the US.

Originally posted by Asktheanimals
That is something I blame on the banks and the industrialists because wars are very profitable for them both. Nothing has changed significantly since as far as I know.

I agree. But don't you agree that a drugged up society would be much easier to manipulate and take advantage of? That was my point.

posted on Aug, 30 2010 @ 01:50 PM
reply to post by LiveForever8

how many times have we been through this cycle of life? there's evidence that humans have been on earth 500,000,000+ years!

when sir walter raleigh 'discovered' tobacco, do we still think the elites didn't know about the health implications?

coc aine was found in mummified egyptian bodies. its been around that long. who knows how long.

the story of how heroin came about is probably bs.

the past 2000 years have carefully orchestrated. remember the 'elites' have been in power for thousands of years, probably since the great flood.

[edit on 11:11 by WHOS READY]

posted on Aug, 30 2010 @ 02:01 PM
reply to post by WHOS READY

Originally posted by WHOS READY
reply to post by LiveForever8

how many times have we been through this cycle of life? there's evidence that humans have been on earth 500,000,000+ years!

No there isn't. Human origins date to around 100-200 thousand years ago, perhaps you accidentally added a couple of zeros?

As for the rest of your post; I'm not sure what you're point is in relation to the OP, care to explain in more detail?


posted on Aug, 30 2010 @ 02:03 PM
What a great link to "The Great American Fraud". The same can be said today of just about every point in that article - it's a GREAT read, especially when you take into effect a century of manufacturing and corporate brainwashing to the effect that every takes pills for something now.

Even 100 years ago they knew that most medication was a complete fraud. Drug companies haven't created a cure for anything in decades (the last actual cure was polio in the 1950's, not created by drug companies and given to the world for free by the scientist who developed it). Vaccines are not cures, they just help the body resist the viruses that cause the disease. Nearly every single pill you take simply reduces the underlying symptoms of disease and pain or whatever ails you, they don't actually cure anything.

I've always said that a lot of what medication does is in the faith that the packaging on the box tells you it does - most medication is in fact a placebo of some kind.

As this article claims, people who die (either from the diease or from the medication not doing anything) are not able to providfe testimonials as to why the medication didn't work, whereas people who live (either from their own body figuring out how to fight the disease or just from the natural percentage chance of their body curing the disease on its own) always assume that it was the drugs they took that "cured them", without realizing that in many cases it was the body's simple resistance that fixed the problem.

posted on Aug, 30 2010 @ 02:22 PM
reply to post by babybunnies

Yep, it's a brilliant article made even more brilliant by the fact it was written in 1905!

New study: 85% of Big Pharma’s new drugs are “lemons” and pose health risks to users

According to Donald Light, Ph.D., a professor of comparative health policy at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey who authored the study, the pharmaceutical industry is a “market for lemons” and Big Pharma spends a fortune to sell those lemons to the public.

According to the new study, the big drug companies are successful in getting away with selling their “lemon” drugs because of three main reasons: Big Pharma is in charge of testing their own new drugs; the pharmaceutical companies have invested millions in building “firewalls” of legal protection to hide information about a drug’s dangers or lack of effectiveness; and the bar for drug efficacy is set fairly low to make it easier for Big Pharma to get a new drug approved. - Source

Also: Prescription Drug Stats a Bitter Pill to Swallow

posted on Aug, 30 2010 @ 02:38 PM
reply to post by LiveForever8

i guess i was trying to make sure the scale of the game thats being played out was clear with people.

the last 2000 years have been set up and played out to further the agenda! i suppose you seemed to make a vague point that society had been drugged to help further the agenda. i just wanted some clarity. thanks for the thread, it was a good interesting read!

now, if the human race is only 100- 200,000 years old then how did we start off with cities?-

here's some examples of some ooparts to research further.

A fossil footprint of a human and a dinosaur were found in Texas. X-ray analysis of the fossil has shown that there was compression of the material when the prints were made, which means the prints could not have been carved. The dinosaur footprint should be at least 100 million years old, according to conventional evolutionary theory.4

A hammer, with wooden handle and iron head, has been found in Lower Cretaceous rock and is supposed to be about 140 million years old. The iron head is 96% iron, 2.6% chlorine, and 0.74% sulfur. (There is no carbon.) A hoax would not have this composition. Also, the purity of the metal is higher than that of iron produced today. Part of the wood in the handle has turned to coal. The end of the handle is flat as though cut with a saw.5

A carved stone was found from coal that is probably Carboniferous, and probably 286-260 million years old according to conventional theories. Carved on the stone were faces of men and carved diamond designs.6

An iron pot was found in a piece of coal which broke open in 1912. The coal was from the Wilburton, Oklahoma mines, which are about 312 million years old, according to the Oklahoma Geological Survey.7

In 1844, a gold thread was found in stone that is, according to Dr. Medd of the British Geological Survey, between 320 and 360 million years old.8

An iron nail embedded in stone was discovered in Scotland in 1844. The head of the nail was embedded which argues against the nail having been hammered into the stone. The person who discovered the nail was Sir David Brewster, a founder of the British Association for the Advancement of Science.9

A shoe print along with trilobite fossils was found by William Meister inside a block of Cambrian shale, which should be over 505 million years old.10,11

A metal vase 4.5 × 6.5 × 2.5 inches was found in strata over 600 million years old. According to Scientific American, June 5, 1852, “A Relic of a Bygone Age”,

“On the side there are six figures of a flower, or bouquet, beautifully inlaid with pure silver, and around the lower part of the vessel a vine, or wreath, also inlaid with silver.”

The pudding stone from which it came (the Roxbury conglomerate) is over 600 million years old.12

A metalic sphere was found in a Precambrian deposit of pyrophyllite, which was supposedly formed 2.8 billion years ago. One theory about it is that it is a limonite (type of iron ore) concretion. However, the sphere is very hard—seemingly harder than limonite. Also, the shape is spherical, and there are three parallel grooves around the equator of the object. Even if it were a limonite concretion, how does one account for the parallel grooves? Its appearance is that of a man-made object.13

posted on Aug, 30 2010 @ 02:57 PM
reply to post by WHOS READY

I agree with you about the grand scale of things and that history isn't exactly set in stone. However, dating a series of stone structures via constellations is a bit unscientific, to say the least. First it was 25,000 years, then it was 75,000, eventually they decided on 200,000. Seems a bit weak.

But yes, none of the dates are completely accurate.

As for out-of-place artifacts, many of them are complete rubbish with little to no evidence. Still, I love alternative archaeology and I agree there are many things out there that are yet to be fully explained.

Bit off-topic though really

posted on Aug, 30 2010 @ 05:05 PM
Altering American Consciousness


This book is a salutary complement to the flood of alarmist diatribes about the need for a revitalized "war on drugs" to save the nation from decay and to the well-meaning but tired pleas for greater personal freedom and expression. There are no shrill polemics here and no pretentious proposals for tougher laws or less stringent policies. What the reader will find are interesting snapshots of an erratic historical trajectory that shows how the social context matters more than biochemistry or pharmacology when it comes to shaping how people feel, not only about drugs and those who use them, but even about what it is that we call "drugs" and why.
- Editorial Review from The New England Journal of Medicine.

Opium Use in 19th Century Europe

19th Century Drug Use

posted on Aug, 30 2010 @ 06:59 PM
reply to post by LiveForever8

I do agree a drugged up society would be easier to lead.
Today, I think TV is performing the same function along with pharmaceuticals.

posted on May, 17 2014 @ 08:27 PM
a reply to: LiveForever8

An interesting article but I am slightly confused. your article seems to suggest that because there were so many drug-addicts in the late 20th century, that the populations were easily led into war or more open to political suggestion. If that were the case would mankind not be more open to such suggestions in 2014. Heroin, coc aine and grass are still widely used worldwide and in the US, and I would suggest that the figure of 150,000 to 200,000 addicts would be welcomed as a dramatic drop in the number of addicts we see today in any major city. this is the case in Europe, the US and pretty much every other country in the world.
Not only are we struggling the drugs that were around 100 years ago, but there are now 1000's of new drugs available on both the black market and from your local pharmacy. '___' was created in the 20th century, as was Valium. there are countless numbers of steroids on the market. the WHO, the UN and every other health organization are telling us that the use of drugs is rising worldwide. Add into the mix that we are now drinking alarming amounts of alcohol, with particular rises in alcohol consumption in middle aged women drinking at home. Your article would seem to suggest that because of high addiction levels in our modern populations, that we are more prone to manipulation by the powers that be, so I ask you: if that is the case, are we likely to start another world war in 2014 to end our addictive habits? So: Why are the Europeans not at each others throats? Why are there not new political ideals such as socialism being to take hold in down-trodden countries?
Is is that in 1913 an even spread of the population were off their heads, from the poor working man to the top politicians, the artists and the engineers, the great authors to the great public speakers? Where as, in 2013, most of the drug addicts are the poor and the uneducated. Most do not write, most do not get involved in politics or cast a vote, most of them have been brought up in homes with at least one addict and by parents who were on welfare at one stage or another. Most of them do not watch the news or keep up with current affairs. As for the upper class drug addict, their theories are never given any weight when it is exposed that they might have smoke a joint while they were doing up their proposal and when exposed most end up in rehab and curse the drug that put them there. In 1913 drug addicts had an influence on society, in 2013 most drug addicts are considered dregs on society and only influence the size of the welfare lines and the size of the prisons. So provided the powers that be stay away from drugs, the world will be a safer place.

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