New article – “Volksseuche” oder Randerscheinung? Die “Kokainwelle” in der Weimarer Republik aus medizinhistorischer Sicht

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The new issue of Zeitschrift für Geschichte der Wissenschaften, Technik und Medizin includes one article that could be of interest to H-Madness readers: Volksseuche” oder Randerscheinung? Die “Kokainwelle” in der Weimarer Republik aus medizinhistorischer Sicht by Hannes Walter. The abstract reads:

An empirical investigation refutes the popular conception that excessive drug usage was a widespread social phenomenon in the Weimar Republic. Although physicians warned the public and politicians of a “cocaine wave” that threatened the public health, there is no evidence that indicates a significant increase of cocaine use during the twenties. The decisive cause for this moral panic was caused instead by the disease pattern of “Cocainism”. The addiction carried the imprint of an infectious disease and would destroy the body, the will, and the civic life of its victims. According to medical doctrine, chronic cocaine consumption also produced the tendency towards deviant sexual activities and criminal activity. For this reason, the use of this substance was in particular linked to deviant social milieus like the so-called Bohemian or demimonde. However, historical sources in fact show that it was primarily a problem of the medical professions. Against the background of the desperate political, social and economic situation in Germany after the First World War, physicians regarded cocaine and morphine addictions as a threat to the hoped for political and biological renewal of the nation.

 

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