Inside a Nineteenth-Century Quest to End Addiction

In the United States in the late-nineteenth century, drunkenness was an epidemic. And a second plague of addiction was advancing: Opium had quickly transformed from a rare, exotic drug to a life-changing pain medication to a crippling habit. Advocates preached against the vice of alcohol and encouraged strong moral character and abstinence pledges, while others reached for more dramatic options to end alcoholism and drug addiction, including asylums and even corporal punishment. Seventy miles outside Chicago, small-town doctor Leslie E. Keeley offered a different answer.

“Inebriety is a disease,” Keeley proclaimed to anyone who would listen, a radical pronouncement for the era. “I have a remedy that will cure it.”

role: Author
outlet: JSTOR Daily
publication date: December 2016
category: History

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