Freud and Halsted

No evidence has been found to demonstrate that William Halsted and Sigmund Freud ever met.  Separated by physical and cultural oceans their lives were, nevertheless, intricately braided and shaped by a handful of scientific papers on the medicinal uses of cocaine.  For Sigmund Freud, the creation by too many doctors of so many morphine addicts led him to experiment with cocaine as a potential antidote.  In the quest to obliterate the pain incurred by the surgeon’s craft, William Halsted explored the drug as a safer form of anesthesia.  But because cocaine was such a relatively new drug during this period, neither Freud nor Halsted recognized its addictive and deleterious force until it was much too late.  By using themselves as guinea pigs in their research, each became dependent upon a substance that nearly destroyed their lives and the work that ultimately changed how we think, live, and heal. (Prologue)