The physician Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr., in a speech to the Massachusetts Medical Society in 1860, suggested that heavy drug use was part of the American way. “How could a people,” he asked, “which insists on sending out yachts and horses and boys to out-sail, out-run, out-fight and checkmate all the rest of creation; how could such a people be content with any but ‘heroic’ practice? What wonder that the stars and stripes wave over doses of 90 grains of sulphate of quinine, and that the American eagle screams with delight to see three drachms of calomel given at a single mouthful?

— American tendency to excess  

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