If you think people nowadays do unusual things, you should check out our comparatively recent history. You’ll see that our ancestors used to do even weirder things. But their actions were actually legal.
Comfia has a compilation of scary things that were permissible in the past.
100 years ago, people didn’t treat this substance as harmful. On the contrary, it was available in drugstores and sold without a prescription to heal coughs and toothache. Cocaine was also recommended as a sedative for kids. And, as with other pharmaceutical drugs, cocaine was widely advertised.
Sending kids through the mail
It sounds like a joke, but at the beginning of the 20th century, Americans had the opportunity to sendtheir kids through the mail absolutely lawfully. It cost around 15 cents if their kid weighed no more than a standard parcel. Such “solicitous” parents probably wanted to save some money by sending their kids to relatives.