What drugs did Sherlock Holmes take


cocaine or cocaine is a powerful stimulant. As stimulant the WHO defines substances that increase, accelerate or improve nerve activity.

History of cocaine

The beginnings of the history of cocaine go well before its official chemical discovery in the middle of the 19th century and not in Europe, where it began its double-faced triumph, but on the other side of the globe in Central and South America. Here it is traditionally common among the local population Leaves of the coca bush, from which cocaine is still made today, can be boiled as tea or the leaves can be chewed. Both variants are neither addictive nor harmful to health and the one valued by the modern cocaine addict, kick does not occur here. Coca tea is a recognized remedy against altitude sickness, its effect as health-promoting is undeniable. The Spaniards were the first to describe the effects of chewed coca leaves. Your conquistadores will be the yield looking at the leaves with benevolence. "The Indians in the mines can stay underground for 36 hours without sleeping or eating. “The latter murder in finely dosed installments is less due to the coca plant, but rather to the undisguised desire for profit of the colonial rulers.

The dawn for cocaine in Europe began between 1855 and 1860 and three men are named as its possible chemical fathers. In 1855 the chemist Friedrich Gädcke, in 1858/59 the Italian neuro and pathologist Paolo Mantegazza and in 1859/60 the German chemist Albert Niemann, who won the honor of being a recognized discoverer. Niemann succeeded in isolating the active components of the coca bush and extracting the alkaloid cocaine from them. In 1898, the later Nobel Prize winner Richard Wittstätter established the molecular structure in his dissertation. In collaboration with D. Wolfes and H. Mäder, Wittstätter succeeded in synthesizing the pure structure of cocaine in 1923.

Janus-headed cocaine

No sooner had chemistry found the cocaine, the pharmacy tried - practically as it is - to use the new drug as a drug and began to drive out the devil with the Beelzebub. In 1880 the American doctors described Bentley and Palmer in the Detroid Therapeutic Gazette the treatment of morphine addicts with cocaine. Tried in 1884 Sigmund Freud To cure his friend Ernst Fleischl from his morphinism - he suffered from unbearable phantom pain - and failed murderously. Fleischl died completely destroyed as a cocaine addict just a few years later. A little before, Freud had euphorically praised the effects of cocaine - not unlike Sherlock Holmes:

The psychological effect of the cocainum [...] consists in an exhilaration and lasting euphoria, which differs in no way from the normal euphoria of healthy people. The feeling of alteration that accompanies the cheer up by alcohol is completely absent, and the urge to act immediately, which is characteristic of the effects of alcohol, is also absent. One feels an increase in self-control, feels more vigorous and more able to work; but when one works, one also misses the noble excitation and enhancement of the mental powers evoked by alcohol, tea or coffee. You are simply normal and you soon find it difficult to believe that you are under any kind of influence.

In 1884, Vasily von Anrep discovered the pain-relieving effect of cocaine at the University of Würzburg and so it was from a local anesthetic for eye operations to a first-aid pharmacy in every ordinary household, Pain relievers in cough syrups and dental pain relievers. Fortunately, the global medical profession did not sleep the sleep of the righteous - not even Dr. Watson - and at the same time ran a storm against this unhindered abuse of a heavy drug - as which cocaine was more and more rightly discredited. In 1904 other means of anesthesia began to be used. In 1906 doctors initiated bans that ban cocaine from simple painkillers and home remedies. The United States banned cocaine in 1914 and the United Kingdom in 1916. In 1930, after the creation of the Narcotics Act, cocaine was also banned in Germany.

Effects and side effects with an introduction - regarding the intake

Cocaine can be fed into the human organism in a wide variety of ways. The type of exposure has a not inconsiderable influence on the period of time until the effect occurs, the duration of this effect and its intensity. With intranvenous admission - also as Cocainism known - the effect occurs within 30-45 seconds after the injection and lasts between 10-20 minutes. The feeling achieved in this way is considered to be impossible to increase ultimate emotion described. The effect of cocaine is 100% available to the body - in contrast to, for example, nasal or oral intake.

The positive Effects at an average dose of 20-50mg are an increased urge to talk and exercise, the feeling of higher efficiency, increased self-esteem, euphoria, alertness, concentration and sharpness of mind. Feelings like hunger, thirst, tiredness and the need for sleep are reduced.

The inevitable side effects can be divided into three groups: physical, emotional and moral. By suppressing the most basic body-sustaining needs, deficiency symptoms up to complete emaciation and neglect appear. The persistent lack of sleep leads to hallucinations and, in its most extreme form, paranoia. Overdosed cocainism can lead to Cocaine psychosis to the chronic, persistent dermatozoa delusion - the feeling of being plagued by insects under the skin. Being driven, anxious, in a potentized form panic attacks. Purely physical side effects are trembling hands, nausea and vomiting, increased blood and intraocular pressure, cardiac arrhythmias, extremely high body temperature, breathing irregularities up to and including stopping, etc. Moral side effects are an increased self-esteem that is unbearable for others, the reduction of social and sexual inhibitions , Decline of conscience. In the truly saddest sense of the word, people degenerate in body, soul and morals! As old-fashioned as it may sound.

Tachyphylaxis - a tolerance threshold - against cocaine can develop. The dependent then needs to maintain an approximately constant Kicks increasing doses of the drug. After this subsides Kicks the addict falls into a deep depression and desires another Lightening his state of mind. The addiction expresses itself on this purely psychological path and not on a physical one. If the addict has developed the inner strength to free himself mentally from cocaine, the addiction can be triggered and reactivated at any time by a key stimulus. So a considerable inner strength is needed to face his depressions, to avoid the tempting euphoria and the rest of his life.

Sherlock Holmes and the cocaine

In illustrations

The only illustrator who at least almost depicts Holmes' dependence is Richard Gutschmidt, who wrote the opening chapter of the story The sign of the four opened immediately with Holmes thoughtful look at his stabbed forearm. Gutschmidt, however, lets Holmes see the outside of his arm, which is illogical, because he puts the syringe intravenously and needs a visible vein, which is easy to find - after the arm has been tied - only on the inside.

In the stories of Doyle's Canon

Arthur Conan Doyle mentions the term cocaine in the following stories:

Thus, Holmes' cocaine addiction should have peaked in the years 1886 to 1889.

In the narrative A scandal in Bohemia returns Dr. Watson - he is now newly married and has moved into his own house with his wife - to visit his friend Holmes. He describes how Holmes stayed in the old apartment on Baker Street, buried himself there in his old books and alternated between cocaine consumption and strict, ambitious work, between the sleepy exhaustion after drug use and the uncomfortable energy that is so for his nature typical was switched back and forth.

In the pastiche

Francis London takes up the drug use of Sherlock Holmes in three of his stories.

  • In The Paradol Chamber (Action date: January 1887) a scene is described in which Watson feared that Holmes might reach for the needle. However, this apparently does not happen, Holmes addresses this in his remarks to Watson and gives the impression that he has his cocaine consumption under control. As we already know from the canon, this was not yet the case at this point in time.
  • In The military conference (Action time: July / August 1887) the use of cocaine by Sherlock Holmes as an elementary part of the action is taken up and described. At two points in the narrative, Holmes reaches for the drug to ensure his involvement in this case.
  • In The French securities (Time of action: late summer 1888) Holmes pokes himself up with cocaine on a sleepless night. In addition, it is described for the first time how Sherlock Holmes consumes morphine. Morphine has the opposite effect of cocaine, it is not stimulating but sedating.

In plays

On a retouched photo, presumably from the play co-authored by William Gillette and Arthur Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes: A Drama in Four Acts (Sherlock Holmes (play, 1899)), one sees Holmes himself one little relief procure. As with Richard Gutschmidt's illustration, the position at which Gillette places the syringe is anatomically incorrect, namely somewhere on the left wrist. Dr. Watson next to him looks on more angrily than just shaken, perhaps also worried about where the cocaine ends up in Holmes' organism when his friend looks skyward. Gillette was known for not neglecting the human side of Holmes in his game, which is shown in this photo, because precisely these Naughtiness was only too gladly overlooked in early interpretations.

In film adaptations

  • In Billy Wilder's Pastiche film The private life of Sherlock Holmes (Eng. The Privat Life of Sherlock Holmes, 1970) makes Watson Holmes reproaches about his 7% cocaine solution, which Holmes immediately fends off and tells his friend that he knows very well that he is diluting it to 5%.
  • In the movie No coke for Sherlock Holmes (Engl. The Seven-Per-Cent-Solution, 1976) Dr. Watson took his friend to Vienna under the pretense of a fictitious case to subject him to a psychoanalysis with Freud and thus to free him from his addiction. Whether Freud - let's note the history of cocaine - would have been the right person to turn away from cocaine is questionable.
  • In The silk stocking killer (Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Silk Stocking, 2004) at the beginning Holmes takes opium - during the cocaine case - allegedly something that he never does in investigations, so the canon. Finally, the classic question. What Holmes would do now that Watson was married. He would have the needle, the answer. When he notices Watson's horror, he tries to present his answer as a joke, but only Watson seems to want to believe it.
  • In The dog of the Baskervilles (The Hound of the Baskervilles, 2002) at least two scenes in which Holmes takes cocaine have been cut. In the extras for the film you see Holmes, once tying his arm on Baker Street and once apparently setting a needle in a toilet.

In the film adaptations of the Sherlock Holmes series by Granada TV with Jeremy Brett as Holmes and David Burke or Edward Hardwicke as Dr. Watson:

  • In the first season: A scandal in Bohemia the classic conversation between Holmes and Watson becomes his habit inserted, although according to canon it is at the beginning of The sign of the four belongs. In contrast to the literary original, Watson is also wrong, because he has drawn wrong conclusions and Holmes did not use cocaine in this case. However, this scene has been withheld from the German viewer and has been cut out; it is now reinserted unsynchronized in the DVD edition.
  • In the second season: In The Musgrave ritualWatson discovered by chance that Holmes had taken both his bottle of cocaine and the one with morphine and apparently also used one of the two, which explains his slightly idiosyncratic mood at the gentlemen's evening. Another scene that doesn't appear in the canon. In that case The man with the disfigured lip we are then faced with a true-to-the-factory implementation of the opening scene. Watson surprises Holmes, who is investigating incognito in an opium den, and fears for a moment that his friend is now having a third bad habit small vices added, alluding to cocaine and morphine. In one of the darkest films in the series, The devil's foot, Holmes is portrayed vacillating between his dependence and Watson's legitimate doubts and buried, literally, his little truck on the English beach. This scene arises from the often-expressed assumption that Holmes' seclusion to the English coast in Cornwall has its origins in a possible rehab.
  • In the full-length film adaptation The sign of the four The cocaine scene at the beginning is missing, as it has already been used, but Watson's question at the end, what would be left for Holmes after the case was resolved, is answered modified by the latter, not the one small bottle on the mantelpiecebut the satisfaction of having solved a case is Holmes answer. In another long film adaptation, The coveted bachelor, Watson assures himself, without Holmes noticing the state of his injection set, evidently the orderly and untouched state of it calms him down more than Holmes' idiosyncratic behavior does.

Allusions to Holmes preferences and anxious side glances from Jeremy Brett as Holmes, both from David Burke and from Edward Hardwick as Watson. And even if Brett's play is eccentric in many of the later episodes and reflects his own depressions, they still reflect what Conan Doyle often only hid in small hints and subordinate clauses, I think.

In radio plays

In the radio play Sherlock Holmes and the Karl Marx case (WDR 2001) by David Zane Mairowitz, Holmes sharpens his perception using cocaine, both intravenously and nasally and over a longer period of time. Watson reminds his friend of his promise to stay off drugs. Holmes contradicts him:

.... Holmes (Ulrich Matthes): "I had to sharpen my awareness. I've been swimming lately."
Watson (Christian Redl): "Be careful they don't go under!"
Holmes: "Knowing my limits down to a fraction of a millimeter is one of my great virtues, Watson. I don't need an outside world that sets me limits."
Watson: "You only know the safe dosage of a single syringe of Holmes. As for the lasting effects ..."
Holmes: "... I'm floating in unknown waters, yes, I know, but the brain that perceives them is still mine." ...

My truly humble train of thought

I have come to the end of my article. With two small exceptions in the previous paragraphs, I have tried to make a sharp distinction between scientific findings, unfortunately irrefutable truths, and Conan Doyle's stories. There is a simple reason - at least for me - the more I became concerned with the effects of cocaine a train of thought germinated that could not be shaken off and I suspect that this is not necessarily acceptable for friends of Sherlock Holmes. For the reason that every reader has the right and the duty to express their own opinion, I have put the individual sections next to each other. After all, it's not about the assumptions of an individual, but about facts on the one hand and my personal point of view on the other. Despite everything, it is presented here like a remedy from the poison cabinet! Thumb | 300px | right | Idea of ​​a Holmes friend on YouTube

How much and what of Holmes' character is an expression of his cocaine use? Which aspect reinforces, which diminishes? Which buried consciously or unconsciously? It is well known that he loved playing with disguises and masks. But where is it human Holmes behind that understanding Holmes? Did he need the stimulated ultimate emotion to feel complete? If he wanted clarity and sharpness of mind, why use cocaine during periods of inactivity to idle the mind like a hamster on a wheel? After all, cocaine is a stress drug, mostly used by people who have to constantly give 1000% performance or who demand themselves and not a relaxation drug. Or wasn't he really admitting to Watson and himself the depth of his original depression? Because Watson is more logical here than Holmes. Why a 10-20 minute whitening three times a day and then sink into a depression worse than the original for the remaining 23 hours of the day.

Intelligence, sharp deduction, but also depression are given to him by nature and the former are perfected through self-study. And if Dr. Watson writes that, according to his own information, Holmes would only come to his when he was depressed medium it is hard to imagine that he regularly torments himself every few days or weeks through the potentiated hell of a psychologically exhausting withdrawal. To put it more sharply: Why stop doing something that you find acceptable and pleasant in order to wade through the hell of depression even more often, even deeper, even blacker than you are naturally burdened with? And just because Watson does not notice regular consumption, to conclude there is none, is the smooth and soothing shortening of an unloved train of thought. He hasn't seen a lot, maybe didn't want to see.

Jeremy Brett - the modern Sherlock Holmes actor - himself on the narrow path between everyday life and depression, has probably recognized it and reflected exactly this mental fluctuation in his interpretation of Sherlock Holmes.

Miss Morstan 9:16 PM, Mar 12. 2010 (UTC)