Opium use in Great Britain was rampant in the 1830 and about 22,000 pounds of it was imported from Turkey every year. When the U.S received its first import of 24,000 pounds, the government realized it would be quite profitable and began taxing it.
Pure Paregoric syrup by Stickney and Poor's had a whopping forty-six percent alcohol and one and three-sixteenth "grains of opium per ounce."
The dose chart that was included advised its use for infants as young as five-days. The recommended dose for an infant of five-days was five drops. This helped to calm them down. If the infant was two-weeks-olds he got eight drops. Five-year-olds got twenty-five drops and the adult dose was a teaspoon.
Another company introduced opium-filled cough drops, cherry flavored. The picture on the bottle was of children gathering up cherries to put in the bottle.
They also believed it was effective in the treatment of Asthma. Not much was known about Asthma at the time. It was thought to be a “seizure” disorder related to the muscles in the body. Opium was thought to help the person breath better, by relaxing the breathing muscles. It is now believed that the reason it seemed effective was because it drugged the person so severely that they were unable to take-part in any vigorous activity that may have led to an attack….Crazy!