The U.S. classifies a narcotic in legal context as opium, an opium derivative, semi-synthetic opiates and fully-synthetic opiates. Cocaine and the coca leaf are also part of the classification under the U.S. controlled substances act, although they are not chemically considered narcotics. The term “narcotic” is often overused and misused by those in law enforcement. The word is sometimes used as a collective term to refer to all illegal drugs or those that are unlawfully possessed.
The origins of patent medicines are named after the “letters patent” granted by the
English crown. The first letters of patent were given to an inventor of a secret remedy was issued during the late 17th century. Many of the earliest English patent medicines, such as Turlington’s Balsam of Life, Bateman’s Pectoral Drops, and Hooper’s Female Pills, were very successful within the American colonies. It did not take long for Americans to cultivate their own patent medicines. The numbers and types of medications grew steadily in the decades leading up to the Civil War. The second half of the 19th century is considered to be the golden age of American patent medicines.
Before the beginning of federal drug regulation in 1906, patent medicine manufacturers made any therapeutic claims for their products that they wished. In addition, patent medicines often contained dangerous levels of alcohol, opium, and other narcotics, potentially addictive and deadly ingredients that were not revealed to the consumer. Theodore Roosevelt on June 30, 1906. The act was amended in 1912, and an even stronger Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act passed in 1938. These laws required drug labeling to include a list of ingredients and prohibited manufacturers from making false and misleading claims.
Despite dramatic changes in medical knowledge and federal regulation in the past 100 years, self-medication continues to be a popular form of treatment for many Americans. Although no longer referred to as “patent...