Providing straightforward information pertaining to drugs, drug use & drug policy. The Grey Pages promotes drug-related literacy and advocates a system of viable and tolerant drug policies. This is my personal collection of commentaries, essays, tid-bits, and other such writings on everything ranging from drug use, drug policy and drug-myths, to drug-science, addiction, human behavior, and the workings of the human brain. I started this blog with a particular focus on opioids, and over the past year have found my interest gravitate toward the intriguing, ever-changing world of designer intoxicants (i.e. "research chemicals" or "designer drugs").

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Drug History Timeline Pt 2 (Yellow Peril Era)


US Gold Rush & Heavy immigration period.

Beginning of chinese immigration into the US (especially in the west) - With them, the chinese brought the practice of opium smoking. Opium had at this point already long been a staple of the chinese culture just as alcohol is with the American culture.

2nd Chinese/British Opium War (1856 to 1860)


American Civil War begins, Morphine is used for wounded and dying soldiers on the battle field. (1861)

Soldiers return from the civil war, many are now opiate dependent and continue to use morphine habitually. This draws the attention of the Press; some journalists will later on metaphorically refer to morphine addiction as "the soldiers disease". (1865)

Slavery ends in the southern US (1865)


Diamorphine is discovered by Wright when he boils morphine on a stove with acetic anhydride. The effect of diamorphine is studied in dogs, but the drug remains in obscuriry until two decades later. (1874)

A San Fransisco ordinance which is the first of its kind, bans the chinese practice of smoking of opium in dens. An alleged motive behind this ban was to prevent white women from becoming tainted by the inter-racial mingling with chinamen. (1875)

Problems with chinese opium dens are perceived (1870's)


US Congress and Treasury Dept. impose a tax on opium. (1890)

Strong anti eastern sentiment among whites. Chinese Immigrants are referred to as the "Yellow Peril". (1890's)

Journals owned by William Randolph Hearst create hysteria with stories of chinese men of opium dens seducing white women and getting them 'hooked'. The stories are veiled attempts to create fear of the Chinese Immigrants, i.e. the "Yellow Peril". (1890's)

Diamorphine is resynthesized by Hoffman at [what is now] the Bayer company of Germany in an attempt to create codeine, Bayer rediscovers its value and markets it as "heroin", it is initially believed to be less addictive and more effective than morphine. (1895)

Spanish American War (1898) - US Defeats Spain in this War, and takes possession of the Phillipines. Before coming into US possession, the Spanish government had instituted a system of opium control over the people of the Phillipines. The US was now tasked with divising their own approach to this system, and maintaining some form of opium control over these Fillipinos who were now considered wards of the State.

In addressing opium use in the Phillipines, an American missionary named Charles Henry Brent is dispatched to assess the climate of opium use in the Phillipines, and is to pass his reccommendations (of approaching the issue) onto US Congress. Brent is soon given the position of Episcopal Bishop of the Phillipines, and thus works with the US government. Brent conducts a study of opium use in the Phillipines, and discovers all of the opium is shipped from China, hundreds of miles away. Furthermore, China is dealing with its own opium "crisis"; the Qing dynasty of China has long since outlawed the importation of opium into China, but the British continue supplying China with opium illicitly, as there is still a major demand for the drug, for illicit use, by the Chinese. The British East India Company is in control of the trade. Discovering the nature of the opium trade, Charles Brent reccommends that the issue be addressed at the international level. He lobbies for an international conference.

While simultaneously dealing with opium use in the Phillipines, America lends a hand to china in dealing with their "opium crisis" - In order to stop the flow of opium into the Phillipines, the US must focus on China's problem - The US wants to break this British dominance of trade, and has its own interest in suppressing opium use domestically, which has become widespread with the immigration of Chinese to the West coast.

Cocaine use is popular among negroes of the South. Though slavery ended in 1865, racial tensions were still high.

Cocaine use has become perceived as a problem in the US (late 1800s)

Next Section Here (Patent Medicine Era)

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