Charts & Graphs

Pandora’s Box

The medicinal origins of illegal synthetic drugs.

Drug Synthesized by Intended Use Actual Use Current Use Criminalized in U.S.
Cocaine Friedrich Gaedcke at a pharmacy in Domitz in 1855 Local anesthetic, teeth whitener Toothache drops, treatment for morphine addiction Snorted, smoked, or injected as party drug 1970
Heroin Felix Hoffman at Bayer in 1897 Treatment for morphine addiction and tuberculosis Cough suppressant, treatment for morphine addiction Injected or smoked to induce euphoria and stupor 1924
Ecstasy (MDMA) Anton Köllisch at Merck in 1912 Treatment for abnormal bleeding None Ingested in pill form as rave drug 1985
LSD Albert Hoffman at Sandoz Laboratories in 1938 Respiratory and circulatory stimulant Alcoholism, psychiatric panacea, CIA truth serum Ingested to induce hallucinations 1966