8 Deadly Vintage Prescription Drugs We Can’t Believe Used to Be Legal

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In the past, prescription drugs contained some dangerous, highly addictive, and sometimes deadly substances. Cocaine, morphine, heroin and chloroform were legal and offered as solutions for everyday ailments, including headaches, insomnia, sore throat, and depression.

However, it wasn’t just adults who benefited from these drugs. They were often given to children to cure hay fever, teething pains or to soothe a cold or flu.

Take an uneasy walk down memory lane with these 8 deadly vintage prescription drugs. Considering how many people around the world are currently addicted to prescription drugs (and have fatally overdosed on them), it doesn’t seem like much has changed.

Advertised as a sedative drug to prevent pregnant women from experiencing morning sickness. This drug caused horrific birth defects.

Bayer Heroin
Heroin was once the trusted elixir that was capable of making coughs disappear, even for children. As you can imagine, patients soon became addicts.

Made from a mixture of opium, acid and alcohol, this drug, which was used to treat asthma, was highly addictive and dangerous.

Nembutal Barbiturate
Meant to be used on kids “when they’re frightened and tense,” Nembutal sometimes caused fatal overdoses. It was inserted as a suppository.

Soothing Syrup
Condemned as a “baby killer” in 1911, this combination of aqua ammonia, sodium carbonate and morphine often put crying, teething babies to sleep forever. It contained 65mg of morphine per fluid ounce.

Once thought to treat menstrual irregularities, this medicine was incredibly toxic. It caused hallucinations and gangrene, as well as liver and kidney damage.

Cocaine Toothache Drops
Cocaine was especially popular in cough drops and toothache drops — costing only 15 cents per package. They allegedly worked.

It was the most frequently prescribed sedative and muscle relaxant until it started being used recreationally. It has been off the market since 1982.