Opium, Cocaine, Fairies, Prohibition & the Gendering of Drug Use

By Terry Gotham

I wasn’t sure how to order the stories I’ve been preparing for this series on the History of the Addict & Society. Instead of using something pedestrian like chronology or chemical family, I went a little more esoteric. I hope you’ll come with me as I move from notion to related notion in the series, starting the original justifications for anti-vice laws in the USA, ones you may have never considered.Check this out: The use of drugs by sex workers in the early 20th century attracted men to a lifestyle alternative to the protestant work ethic, gay and straight, such that the substances needed to be controlled. It wasn’t just the substance use, but the perversion (or in this case, inversion) of the masculine gender role that ensured substance use went from uneasy toleration in the late 19th Century to outright prohibition before WWI broke out.

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