Heroin was sold, unrestricted, in the United States until the passage of an 1890 congressional act that levied taxes in conjunction with the sale of the opiate’s cousins, morphine and opium. Heroin laws became more stringent in the early 1900s, culminating with the Heroin Act of 1924, which made the possession of heroin illegal.
Millennia before doctors began prescribing Diamox (acetazolamide) for mountain sickness, ancient Incas chewed the leaves of the coca plant cope to counter the respiratory and energy-sucking challenges of high altitudes on the body.
Sigmund Freud used—or abused—the substance, even encouraging others to take it while meticulously documenting the side effects. In 1912, 5,000 cocaine-related deaths ultimately resulted in the banning of the substance a decade later. Today, cocaine is still used as anesthesia during sinus surgery.
Image credit: Bayer heroin