When your day is done, and you want to ride on

From the Daily Mail Online:

Shocking cocaine adverts from 1970s America that would NEVER be allowed today

Although cocaine is a heavily controlled substance, the white powder’s accessories were once brazenly hawked in American adverts during the wild 1970s.

In what would be considered shocking today, shameless ads promoted the mood-altering drug by picturing scantily-clad women posing with scales used for cutting cocaine.

Dozens of glossy adverts sold paraphernalia, such as the Sno-Blo nose doucher and luxury razor blades made out of jade and gold, for millions of drug-crazed Americans.

The height of drug use in the United States was in 1979, when one in 10 people used illegal drugs on a daily basis, according to the FDA.

To cater to users’ expensive habits, companies shamelessly advertised cocaine accessories without restriction from the government. 

Here are some of the scandalous ads, made between 1976 and 1981, that show how advertisers fueled American’s consumption of cocaine.

Follow the link to see these images from a bygone era. The article does not say where these ads appeared; there is one cover image of a magazine called Head, and I suspect they appeared there and in other niche-interest publications (in other words, they were not appearing in Time or Newsweek, so they’re not nearly as “brazen” as the Daily Mail would like us to believe). My personal favorite: the one showing someone snorting up some coke that has fallen onto… a multicolored shag rug.

It was the seventies.

Drugs

An interesting observation from Niall Ferguson, Empire: The Rise and Demise of the British World Order and the Lessons for Global Power (2002), 12-13:

As Defoe observed in his Complete English Tradesman: ‘The tea-table among the ladies and the coffee house among the men seem to be the places of new invention…’ What people liked most about these new drugs was that they offered a very different kind of stimulus from the traditional European drug, alcohol. Alcohol is, technically, a depressant. Glucose, caffeine, and nicotine, by contrast, were the eighteenth-century equivalent of uppers. Taken together, the new drugs gave English society an almighty hit; the Empire, it might be said, was built on a huge sugar, caffeine, and nicotine rush – a rush that everyone could experience.

I once wrote a paper in grad school about the advent of coffee in Europe. They posted it online, and I discover that it is still there! An excerpt:

Why did coffee become so popular, and come to fulfill a “progressive” social function? Why not tea or chocolate, or, as alcohol was never banned in Christendom as it was under Islam, wine or beer? One suspects that coffee may have become “fashionable” somewhat randomly. It was cheaper than tea and more caffeinated than chocolate (as contemporaries observed, it tended to be more caffeinated than tea as well). It is of course a stimulant rather than a depressant, which makes it more conducive to conversation (and some regulars at coffeehouses, like Voltaire, would consume up to fifty cups a day), and does not leave one with an alcoholic hangover. Coffee did have its detractors (who claimed it was nothing more than a slow poison), but its proponents were equally willing to extol its benefits, such as its ability to ward off plague or to dispel noxious odors.