"Opium was widely available in the 19th century, sold by barbers, tobacconists and stationers. Writers including Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Charles Dickens all used the drug, for pleasure or as medicine."
There are many Victorian novels that feature the evils of the opium den. Sherlock Holmes, that inveterate purveyor of cocaine, often had to rescue recalcitrant clients from the opium dens found in the China town.
A great show to see this kind of media manipulation at work is Mad Men. It's set at an advertising firm in the late 1950s, early 1960s and they do a whole show on advertising Lucky Strike cigarettes where the owners of the tobacco company insist that cigarettes are good for you.
Speaking of cigarettes...
There are also ads for bourbon and scotch toothpaste.
There are even advertisements for aspirin with heroin when you really want to kill your headache (excuse the pun).
DDT had a jingle, "D-D-T is good for meeee!"
At Christmas time, Colt said "Get Mother what she really wants for Christmas - a Colt" featuring a housewife wielding a Colt-45 in front of a Christmas tree. You better like your presents this year!
Are these things even around anymore? If they are they should just go out of business for being this insensitive. Maybe it's just that we are more sensitive to the feelings of others today, or maybe everyone in history is crazy.
Hmmm....what will your children think of us? Will we look crazy?
What ads do you see on television, YouTube, or Hulu that we might find distasteful or insensitive in the future?
What products do we advertise today that we might look back with embarrassment in twenty or thirty years?