Growing up in New England, I got used to seeing the supermarket beer aisle shrouded in white plastic every Sunday, lest the alcohol tempt us at a sacred time (thanks Puritans!). The region certainly has some pretty restrictive alcohol laws, but they’re hardly the oddest. For that, let’s take a tour around the country to learn about Zion curtains and drunken horseback riding.
Paregoric Elixir […] despite its alcoholic and opiate ingredients, was given to children. An analysis from the Princeton University website notes that Paregoric was “… used to control diarrhea in adults and children, an expectorant and cough medicine, calm fretful children, and to rub on the gums to counteract the pain from teething.” The website quotes a formula taken from an 1870 publication:
“Best opium 1/2 dr., dissolve it in about 2 tablespoons of boiling water; then add benzoic acid 1/2 dr.; oil of anise 1/2 a fluid dr.; clarified honey 1 oz.; camphor gum 1 scruple; alcohol, 76 percent, 11 fluid ozs.; distilled water 4-1/2 fluid ozs; macerate, (keep warm,) for two weeks. Dose – For children, 5 to 20 drops; Adults, 1 to 2 teaspoons.”
With all that opium and alcohol, the patient could be both doped and drunk at the same time!
Travellers along one of Kenya’s busiest highways have been warned not to give alcohol to baboons, it is reported.
The Kenya Wildlife Service says it is “irresponsible and careless” to offer intoxicating drinks to the primates, The Nation newspaper reports. “Liquor has the same effect in animals as on human beings,” says the service’s director, William Kibet Kiprono. “They might become violent, or distract road users, causing accidents. They might also start fighting people and cause death if unchecked.”
He was speaking in Naivasha, a town on a motorway linking the city of Nakuru with Kenya’s capital, Nairobi. The area is sandwiched between several nature reserves, where wildlife abounds. It is not clear how common it is for people to give alcohol to monkeys, but up to 7,000 baboons are believed to live outside nature reserves. Kenya’s NTV television says the busy highway is “under siege by groups of marauding baboons”.
Meanwhile, locals have been complaining about the nuisance tipsy animals are causing. “They eat our goats, and we have been unable to plant food for the last three years,” one farmer tells The Nation. Another villager adds: “We chase 20 monkeys every night. They enter our kitchens and steal food.”