Heroin and public opinion

In the early 1800s, the American medical field was exploding with new ideas, experimental medications and lots of hit-or-miss attempts at helping people. For example, it is believed that the influx of Chinese immigrants in the early 1800s brought with it a new substance that Americans, especially those surging on the Wild West, found engaging: Opium.


Photo from the Wood Library-Museum of Anesthesiology

Opium dens began populating saloons all over America. Alcoholism was already a significant problem and many medical professionals believed that opium was a cure for alcohol addiction. Opium began growing in popularity and doctors began experimenting with its use in other fields, too. Soon, morphine was derived from Opium and became a “wonder drug” for helping patients deal with pain. Doctors began using it everywhere and within 10 years, morphine addiction was rampant in this country.

The morphine epidemic continued, until doctors in Germany created a new wonder drug to solve the significant problems created by morphine. Immediately after it was created, Heroin was brought in to mainstream American medical use. German’s advertised it as, “safe and non-addictive.” And with one clever, ill-informed, advertising campaign, heroin addiction was birthed in America and for the past 150 years we’ve dealt with its devastating wake.

If only everything with faulty advertising could be exposed before the ramifications of a product or idea are felt in the world around us. Imagine if every bad idea came with a warning, then the 1874 Heroin ad campaign might have looked like this: “Heroin: safe, and non-addictive…as long as you never use it.”

Thankfully, the Bible is full of truth-in-advertising warnings. Like this these:

“Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness.” (Ephesians 5:11) Deeds of darkness may have a temporary appeal, but in reality, they are “fruitless” — they have no value. A fruitless, fruit tree is absolutely worthless. I live in the cherry capital of the world, and every day I drive past cherry orchards on my way to the Starwood Ranch or to the church where I work part-time.

Occasionally, I’ll see a dead tree, or a whole row of them, in an orchard. Not long after, those trees are removed and thrown into the burn heap. Why? Because things that are supposed to bear fruit, when they become fruitless, are worthless. So deeds of darkness are…worthless! What a great warning label.

Here are a few more all found in the book of Proverbs:

About ignoring the needy: “If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will dry out and not be answered.” (Proverbs 21:13)

About over-indulging: “He who loves pleasure will become poor; whoever loves wine and oil will never be rich.” (Proverbs 21:17)

About angry words: “…a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1)

About being quick-tempered: “A quick tempered man does foolish things…” (Proverbs 14:17

About careless speech: “Reckless words pierces like a sword…” (Proverbs 12:18)

About a life lacking modesty: “Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion.” (Proverbs 11:22)

About laziness: “Lazy hands make a man poor…” (Proverbs 10:4)

The Bible is full of warning labels. God created this book as a guide for life, as a means to know Him more and to grow in our relationships with one another. Are you reading it? Are you spending time soaking in the words of the Good Book? You can’t live the Overboard Life without reading, and living by, the warning labels in the Scripture.

Go ahead and take the plunge…life is always better on the water!

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1 Response to Heroin and public opinion

  1. Sandy Elliott says:


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