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022 laudanum
 

Foundations of America

QU201 Prof. Scott Leone

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022 laudanum

Laudanum is an alcoholic herbal preparation also known as the Tincture of Opium. This is because it contained about 10% powder of opium. Today, in the United States, it still used as a prescribed medication, but back in the 19th century, it was used much more commonly. Up until the 20th century, it was sold without a prescription even though it is made up of components such as morphine and codeine. Laudanum is a very potent drug and if an overdose of 100-150 mg is ingested, a person can die. In the 19th century, suicide of laudanum was very common.

Laudanum now is classified as a C-II drug, the same type of classification as oxycontin. People who take laudanum are susceptible to side effects such as euphoria, dysphoria, constipation, respiratory depression, physical dependence, and psychological dependence. Thaw could have certainly acted the way he did due to his addiction to medications such as laudanum. Euphoria is an over excitement which Harry K Thaw showed throughout Ragtime, while dysphoria is an extreme depression, which he depicted as well. Thaw must have also had some personality disorders for his behavior seemed to be more serious than just side effects to a drug an addition. Other people have been users of laudanum such as Lord Byron, John Keats, Lewis Carroll, Charles Dickens, and Edgar Allan Poe.

Harry K. Thaw attempted to commit suicide by drinking an entire bottle of this highly potent medication once. In Ragtime, it is easy to see that Thaw obviously has some issues and was addicted to drugs, including opiates, such as laudanum. Doctorw depicted Thaw's character by describing him as a violent man who always created incidents in restaurants, driving cars up sidewalks, beat his fists against his temples, injected himself with miscellaneous fluids through syringes, lying, and trying to commit suicide by drinking the opiate medicine, laudanum. From Evelyn’s view, Harry was a deranged violent lunatic who on multiple occasions did abnormal things.

 

Citations:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laudanum#Potency_of_laudanum

http://www.tititudorancea.com/z/laudanum.htm

http://www.tititudorancea.com/z/laudanum.htm

http://19thcentury.wordpress.com/2008/03/02/laudanum/

 

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 September 2011 13:59  

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