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Vintage Ads That Promoted Now-Illegal Drugs

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If you get pulled over by the police and they find a bag of cocaine, you’re probably not going to be able to get out of the arrest by saying it’s for your toothache. But in the 19th century, people were gobbling up drugs like cocaine, heroin, and marijuana as if they were candy. As time progressed, methamphetamines and codeine were added to that list of illegal drugs that were being prescribed by doctors. A lot of the vintage ads for these now illegal drugs are amazing pieces of drug advertising that definitely make you want to start taking whatever it is they’re selling, whether it’s opium, or a fistful of barbiturates. This list of the vintage drugs ads, promoting drugs that you definitely can't get over the counter (or even legally) today is full of lots of vintage advertising that just might leave you speechless.

Cocaine, heroin, opium, meth, they're all on this list and now they're all illegal, but until the '50s (and even later for some of this stuff) a lot of drugs that we consider illegal, or even dangerous, were fair game as long as you had a doctor’s script. Some of the items on this list didn’t even require a prescription; treatments like the “Aromatic Invigorator” and the “Pain Annihilator” were sold over the counter and were probably full of garbage that didn’t do anything other than offer a placebo affect.


Enjoy this list of vintage ads for illegal drugs and upvote the old drug ads you think are the craziest, then head over to the comments section to let us know what you think Brain Salt does, because we have no clue.
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  • 1

    Kids Love Cocaine Toothache Drops!

    Kids Love Cocaine Toothache Dr is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Vintage Ads That Promoted Now-Illegal Drugs
    Photo: Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY
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  • 2

    Is Cocaine Pastille an Elton John Cover Band?

    Is Cocaine Pastille an Elton J is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Vintage Ads That Promoted Now-Illegal Drugs
    Photo: flickr / CC0
    73
    22
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  • 3

    Lose the Cough, Gain Some Track Marks

    Lose the Cough, Gain Some Trac is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Vintage Ads That Promoted Now-Illegal Drugs
    Photo: flickr / CC0
    61
    13
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  • 4

    I Want To Be Sedated

    I Want To Be Sedated is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Vintage Ads That Promoted Now-Illegal Drugs
    Photo: Metaweb / CC-BY
    65
    17
    Is this surprising?
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