Medicine: Benzedrine for Barbiturates

Razors pain you;

Rivers are damp;

Acids stain you;

And drugs cause cramp.

Guns aren't lawful;

Nooses give;

Gas smells awful;

You might as well live.*

These drawbacks to self-destruction, as ticked off by Dorothy Parker, do not apply to an overdose of sleeping pills. In recent years the barbiturates have enjoyed alarming popularity as a painless means of suicide, especially among women who are repelled by the more violent forms. Accidental as well as deliberate overdoses kill hundreds yearly.

Knowing no reliable antidote, doctors too often stood by helplessly as a victim sank from coma into death. Last week, when a "suitable antidote" was finally announced, it seemed obvious—benzedrine,...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!