Sunday, August 21, 2011
Sigmund Freud sniffed it. William Halsted injected it with a hypodermic needle. Both men, as ambitious and driven young doctors in the 1880s, became addicted to cocaine. History suggests that Freud kicked his habit; Halsted never did. Halsted pioneered a host of surgical methods, the use of anesthesia, and antiseptic procedures in surgery rooms. Freud gave us a lantern with which to illuminate the dark labyrinth of the subconscious. Both men played their part in the invention of our modern world, and their stories, as well as that of cocaine itself, are braided together by Howard Markel in "An Anatomy of Addiction."