Sigmund Freud was snorting lines and injecting coke as often as the average person drinks water. Although, according to the Cocaine Papers, his interest in the drug was strictly scientific. He was sure cocaine was that “miracle drug” that would help many patients, but his ego was after the potential legacy he may be able to leave behind.
Freud’s study of cocaine has been cloaked in myths, speculations, and little half-truths. The book titled Cocaine Papers cuts through the myths to unveil the truth with years of proper research. Annotated by his daughter Anna, it grants the complete, dependable versions of his writings on the drug, including pieces never published, along with the work of other early experimenters. He is revealed as an ambitious and, eventually, tragic explorer for a panacea and as one of the discoverers of psychopharmacology, the science of using drugs to treat mental illness.
Along with some American physicians, Freud used cocaine to treat many things and reported initial successes in treating morphine addicts. Fellow physician Adolf Albrecht Erlenmeyer warned that cocaine was itself addictive, the “3rd scourge of mankind”—after morphine and alcohol. Soon after that, Freud realized Erlenmeyer was correct. A friend and patient, Ernst von Fleischl-Marxow, became the 1st morphine addict in Europe to be cured by cocaine. He was also one of the first to become dependent on cocaine. This development diminished Freud’s interest and helped turn his attention to the psychological theories that eventually won him fame. He goes down in history as the “Father of Psychology.
Some argue he went from a quit kept to himself doctor to using and treating people with cocaine. When he started using cocaine, he opened up and started talking to everyone and asking his patients how they are doing.
“I am not here to build a business; I am not here to build a corporation; Not here to build Schools; I am not here to build churches—I am no Mother Theresa. What I will do, though, is—lead a legacy.”
– Dean Mathers
Markel, H. (2012). Anatomy of Addiction: Sigmund Freud, William Halsted and the miracle drug, cocaine (1st Vintage Books ed.). Vintage Books.
Mendelson, J. (2012). Cocaine, Sex and Physicians. Nature Medicine, 18(11), 1608. https://doi-org.ezproxy.ardc.talonline.ca/10.1038/nm.2968