History's highs and lows | Calendar | Chicago Reader

History's highs and lows 

Mrs. Winslow's Soothing Syrup was a popular way to treat teething, "nervous," and colicky babies in the mid-1800s. The product worked because it was laced with opium. At the time, GOM--God's Own Medicine--was a legal, over-the-counter drug prescribed to treat coughs, diarrhea, fever, consumption, arthritis, alcoholism, and nervous disorders. The party ended in 1914, when Congress passed the Harrison Narcotic Act. Cocaine, heroin, ether, nitrous oxide, chloroform, and marijuana were also legal in this country at various points in time (on the flip side, both tobacco and alcohol have been illegal or restricted in the past). The exhibit "Altered States: Alcohol and Other Drugs in America" contains hundreds of historical artifacts that illustrate America's fickle, often hypocritical relationship with mind-altering substances and the political motivations behind our attitudes. It opens Saturday at the Chicago Historical Society, 1601 N. Clark. Admission is $5, $3 for students and seniors, and $1 for children 6 to 12. Call 312-642-4600. --Cara Jepsen¯

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Uncredited photo of Mrs.Winslow's Soothing Syrup.

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 

More by Cara Jepsen

Agenda Teaser

Galleries & Museums
May 28
Performing Arts
Sea Change BRNDHAUS PL-ZEN
July 15

Popular Stories