Page:Alcohol, a Dangerous and Unnecessary Medicine.djvu/359

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351
ALCOHOL AS A MEDICINE.


caine, and a few manufacturers are honest enough to so announce on the labels covering their goods; more do not, and leave the victims to discover the truth after they have paid the penalty of ignorance, and developed the cocaine habit. Wholesale legislation, as well as vigorous education, is needed along these lines, and while considering means of betterment, the reputable citizen, the clergyman, and others of good moral repute, whose names are so generally used to herald the efficacy of so-called remedial inventions, should not be overlooked for ethical attention.

"For the information of those of our readers, who are not familiar with the nature and use of toxic drugs, we here refer briefly to the prominent characteristics of a few most dangerously potent for evil, and seductive in kind.

OPIUM AND MORPHINE :— "Gum opium, the dried milky exudate from the green capsules of the white poppy, and its product —morphine—are the most reliable drugs known for the relief of pain. The dose of gum opium in medicine is from ¼ to 1 grain. It contains from 8 to 14 per cent, of morphine, which is its principal alkaloid. Opium is a much more stable, and stronger, sedative than morphine. The cumulative effect of repeated medicinal doses is frequently observed, and is followed by dangerous symptoms. It is both a sedative and hypnotic, and, if given in large doses, quiets the brain, and excites the spinal cord. Small doses have little perceptible effect upon the circulation, but, under the influence of large doses, the pulse is retarded, and the respiration becomes fuller, deeper, and slower. In poisonous doses the pulse may become rapid, and great depression follow, the respiratory centres are paralyzed, thus causing death. If taken in from 2 to 4 grain doses it produces deep comatose sleep, full breathing, full pulse, dry skin, and contracted pupils. If the dose is sufficiently large, the sleep will be more profound, the patient can hardly be roused, and if awakened quickly, he sinks back into slumber. The face may be swollen, and reddened, and the lips deeply tinged with blue. At this stage the breathing may be characterized as puffing.