Few people are aware that before World War I, a 9-year-old girl could walk into a drug store and buy heroin.
That's right – heroin. She didn't need a doctor's prescription or a note from her parents. She could buy it right off the shelf. Bayer and other large drug companies sold heroin as a pain-reliever and sedative in measured doses – just the way aspirin is sold today. Cocaine, opium, and marijuana were readily available as well. No Drug Enforcement Agency, no undercover cops, no "Parents – the Anti-Drug" commercials. Just people going about their own business is whatever way they chose.
Seeing today's never-ending crisis of teenagers using drugs, you can imagine how bad it must have been when there were no laws to stop children – or adults – from using drugs. But, in fact, there was no drug crisis at all. A few people were addicted to heroin or cocaine, just as a few people today are addicted to sleeping pills or Big Macs, but there was no national uproar about it. Such people, if they wanted to break their habits, could freely consult doctors without fear of being sent to prison.