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Archives a Century Ago
Jan 2012

Blue Atrophy of the Skin From Cocaine Injections.

Author Affiliations
 

SECTION EDITOR: MARK BERNHARDT, MD

Arch Dermatol. 2012;148(1):16. doi:10.1001/archdermatol.2011.1556

THE JOURNAL OF CUTANEOUS DISEASES VOL. XXX JANUARY, 1912 NO. 1

By WILLIAM S. GOTTHEIL, M. D., New York.  .  .  .

J Cutan Dis. 1912;30(1):1-4.

FUN FACTS TO KNOW AND SHARE: COCAINE

Analyze This!

Sigmund Freud had a problem. He was desperately in love, but as a young doctor with few prospects and even less cash, his prospective in-laws forbade the union. When he read about the wonders of a new-fangled drug called cocaine, he decided that this was his ticket to ride. The journal from which he gleaned his information was a publicity vehicle wholly owned and written by Parke, Davis & Company of Detroit, Michigan, America's largest producer of cocaine. The testimonials published in said journal, Therapeutic Gazette, were pure fiction invented by Parke, Davis just to promote cocaine use. Freud repeated the Gazette ’s “findings ” unchallenged and unconfirmed. Freud allowed his monomania for money to cloud his professional judgment, to deny his complicity in the broader acceptance of cocaine, and to resist beyond all evidence to the contrary that cocaine, far from the glorious treatment for addiction which he promoted, was a dangerously addictive drug itself. Freud was an enthusiastic coke user and encouraged everyone he met to do coke. Freud introduced Ernst von Fleischl-Marxow to cocaine to wean him off the morphine he used for the pain from a catastrophic injury, thereby earning Freud the dubious distinction of turning his friend into the first cocaine addict! Ironically, the fame and fortune from cocaine of which Freud dreamt was instead garnered by another friend, Karl Koller, who in 1884 first reported cocaine's use as a topical anesthetic.

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