Cape Cod History – Cocaine and Morphine Found Floating In The Canal In 1921

heroin – On this day in 1921, as described by Donald G. Trayser in “Cape Cod Historical Almanac” –

A mysterious zinc container found at the Sagamore end of the Cape Cod Canal a few days ago according to the Yarmouth Register in 1921 has federal revenuers investigating.

Captain Arron Barnes of the Atlantic Coastwise Transportation coal barge Camden, bound through the canal to Boston, spied the container, put out in a small boat and hauled it ashore.

It was full of bottled medicines, and since Captain Barnes couldn’t figure out what the stuff was, he sent up to the village, and druggist Harry D. Pratt came down. The find proved to be drugs: 65 bottles of sulfate of morphine, 15 bottles of cocaine, and a large quantity of acetate of morphine, altogether valued at about $15,000. Internal Revenue officers are trying to trace ownership, according to the story.

$15,000 in 1921 is the equivalent of $200,000 today.

Well, well, well. Maybe the drug “epidemic” we hear about constantly isn’t quite the new phenomenon we think it is. Could it be that drugs have been plaguing society since their inception?

Look, I’m not trying to minimize the problems addiction causes. It is very serious and can ruin lives and tear apart families. All I’m saying is that it might not be any worse now than it’s always been. Think about this for a second, before the internet, would you hear about a heroin overdose two towns away? No.

Nowadays we get inundated with bad news. Sure an informed and educated public is definitely more progressive and I dare say more compassionate, but let’s not mistake the fact that we hear about all this bad news in every little detail for the impending doom of society.

People have been using and abusing drugs for hundreds of years, it just wasn’t in our Facebook feeds on our smart phones until a few years ago. Today if you live in Harwich and somebody OD’s in Bourne, you hear about it instantly and from four different sources. 10 years ago you would have no idea it even happened.

So the next time you are feeling like Cape Cod has gone to shit, remember, this epidemic and the overall decay of society didn’t just start happening a few years ago, the internet did. Things are actually getting better, not worse. We are getting so bombarded with bad news that it just feels that way sometimes.

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