Jerry Kuntz (Writer)

Exploring American History through Unique Individuals

Nellie’s New Vice

In Minnesota’s Notorious Nellie King I detailed Nellie’s several substance abuse habits: whiskey, laudanum, morphine, and cocaine. Just recently, however, a new favorite of hers has surfaced:

opium

from Duluth Evening Herald, Sep 29, 1891

This should come as no surprise, though. Opium use was rampant during the 1880s and 1890s, and opium joints likely existed in every American city and frontier town. I wonder if contemporary readers instantly recognized what “sadly demoralized state” meant, e.g. withdrawn from a drug high.

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