a1 Florida State University
This article examines the origins of state-level regulations controlling the practice of pharmacy and the manufacture and consumption of dangerous drugs in the Gilded Age. The passage of laws regulating the market in pharmaceuticals grew out of both the precarious economic position of practicing pharmacists and widespread concern for the suffering of individual consumers. As a result, pharmacy laws and other regulations controlling the buying, selling, and use of dangerous drugs during this period should be understood as part of the effort by pharmacists to establish a professional identity for themselves. At the same time, these laws should also be understood as part of the process through which reformers sought to rationalize society toward the goal of protecting the individual consumer. Ironically, however, such efforts were intertwined with the bifurcation of consumer culture into legitimate and illegitimate realms, and with it the creation of the economic and social conditions in which new stories of individual suffering took place.
Joseph M. Gabriel is assistant professor of medical humanities at the College of Medicine, Florida State University. He is currently writing a book on the cultural history of drug addiction and narcotics control.
1 I would like to thank the two anonymous reviewers for helpful suggestions and Claudia E. Sperber for her continued friendship and support.