The Good Old Days: Great Binge Drugs

DRUGS: Why our Grandparents Called Them “The Good Old Days”

Have you ever heard of the Great Binge? This was a period prior to WW I where drugs were in huge supply. Not only that, but they were completely legal. Soldiers could order a drug pack for their boys on the front, which contained heroine, cocaine, needles and just about any drug that is now considered as naughty.

Below are some genuine products that were available around the same period. Cocaine tablets, Opium for asthma and Bayer’s Heroin were all too common, which possibly explains why it was called “the good old days”.

Great Binge Drugs from the Good Old Days: Bayer’s Heroin

The Great Binge - Bayers Heroin


A bottle of Bayer’s heroin. Between 1890 and 1910 heroin was sold as a non-addictive substitute for morphine. It was also used to treat children with a strong cough. Back when heroin was legal, there were no addiction treatment centers that could help a heroin addict kick the habit.

Great Binge Drugs: Coca Wine, Anyone?

The Great Binge - Coca Wine


Metcalf Coca Wine was one of a huge variety of wines with cocaine on the market. Everybody used to say that it would make you happy and it would also work as a medicinal treatment.

Great Binge Drugs: Mariani Wine

Great Binge Drugs - Mariani Wine


Mariani wine (1875) was the most famous Coca wine of it’s time. Pope Leo XIII used to carry one bottle with him all the time. He awarded Angelo Mariani (the producer) with a Vatican gold medal.

Great Binge Drugs: Maltine

Maltine - Great Binge Drugs


Produced by Maltine Manufacturing Company of New York. It was suggested that you should take a full glass with or after every meal… Children should take half a glass.

A Questionable Paperweight

Great Binge Drugs - Paperweight


A paper weight promoting C.F. Boehringer & Soehne (Mannheim, Germany). They were proud of being the biggest producers in the world of products containing Quinine and Cocaine.

Great Binge Drugs: Opium for Asthma

Great Binge Drugs - Opium


No comment.

Great Binge Drugs: Cocaine Drops & Tablets (1900)

Great Binge Drugs - Cocaine Tablets


Very popular for children in 1885. Not only did they relieve the pain, they made children happy! All stage actors, singers, teachers, and preachers had to have them for a maximum performance. Great to “smooth” the voice.

Great Binge Drugs: Opium for Newborns

Great Binge Drugs - Opium for Newborns


I’m sure this would make them sleep well (not only Opium, but 46% alcohol). No wonder they were called The Good Old Days!


Galen (name), meaning: "Curious One". A lover of language, human ingenuity and the forces of the universe. Hugely drawn towards the mysterious and unknown. Regular laughter and escapism essential.

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7 Responses

  1. Gareth says:

    man i knew i was born in the wrong era…..actually maybe the government was trying to pacify the nation lol.

  2. Galen says:

    I don’t know hey. I imagine the people living in those days didn’t think twice about what they were taking at the time. They only become dangerous when people find out they have “getting high” properties and end up on the street. Would you take any of these today? I reckon I’d try a cocaine drop ;)

  3. Terrylin Backpackers says:

    Wow, this is interesting!

    Terrylin Backpackers (Afrigator)

  4. Tyler Kilcrest says:

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  5. Galen says:

    Hey Tyler, I’m hoping you’re not a spam bot! If not, sure. So long as you link back to my website, help yourself!

  6. boomboomjen says:

    LOL, My mom sent me this in an email, shortly before she died, a couple of years ago.
    As always, Mom was right: the “Good old days” only seemed “good” because everyone had legal access to their drug of choice.
    Oh Mommy, I’ll always love you and I miss you terribly. Thanks for posting this!!!

  7. Galen says:

    I find it interesting to think that (perhaps 50 years from now) people will look back at this time period (2012) and be amazed by the fact that alcohol was legal and so easily accessible but drugs like cannabis were illegal and considered as dangerous…

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