A dangerous habit


In 1938, a savage drug was menacing Perth. The side effects were terrifying:

Within a minute or two after taking on an empty stomach, sensations of the most pronounced kind occurred. The partaker became exhilarated, light-headed, bright and talkative, their face was flushed, their pupils dilated, heart and respiration both quickened.

Under the influence, you would become giddy and ungainly with wild involuntary movements. Finally, the drug could so excite the central nervous system it would produce epileptic convulsions.

With dangers like that, it was difficult to understand why Perth’s fashionable set kept drinking cocktails.

Yes, that’s right. The scourge sweeping Western Australia in 1938 was a cocktail on a weekday after work.

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