So asks Watson of the great literary detective. But Sherlock Holmes certainly wasn’t the only thinker of his era to plunge himself into experimentation with drugs. Both Sigmund Freud, father of psychoanalysis, and William Halsted, giant of American surgery, suffered from cocaine addiction. Howard Markel’s new book, An Anatomy of Addiction: Sigmund Freud, William Halsted, and the Miracle Drug Cocaine, describes how the drug plagued these two doctors. Below, Science Friday’s Ira Flatow interviews Markel.
MARKEL: Well, I became very interested in seeing addicted patients in my own clinic, and I tend to understand the world as completely as I can, as both a historian and a physician. And I wanted to learn a little bit more about the origins of addiction. And as I studied more and more, and read more and more, I came across both Sigmund Freud and William Halstead and I, well, I became addicted to their life stories. They were so fascinating. They were so compelling. And I thought, using their lives and their struggles, I could really put a human face on this terrible disease.
image via Baltimore Sun