Katya Knyazeva (avezink) wrote,
Katya Knyazeva

One man's quest to get his cocaine (1940)

9 October 1940


Although I realize that local events are keeping our police forces quite busy enough nowadays, I still believe that it might be of some interest to recount the following happening which contradicts both the spirit and the letter of instructions given to the police of the French Concession.

The city authorities, presumably, take into account the possiblity of residents urgently needing help or medicine from a pharmacy at any time of the day and night, and so we are told to make arrangements accordingly. And in any city throughout the world one has only to go to the nearest pharmacy, and ring the night bell. It is different in Shanghai. Here the people can't count on anything at night except a drink at a late hour. At least that was the conviction I was given on the night of September 28 when it was most important that I get medicine prescribed by a doctor, and still more important that I get it quick.

I started out from my home on Avenue Haig and walked along Avenue Joffre up to Rue Massenet. There were many pharmacies along my way. I rang their bells, I shouted, I knocked on the doors, but there was nothing but silence. I had read a municipal notification in the papers that the pharmacy on night duty was the one I passed first, but there a little boy whom I had awakened told me his father (the pharmacist proprietor) had gone to Tsingtao leaving no one in his place and apparently making no report of his departure to the police who would probably have appointed some other pharmacy for night duty.

As a last hope, I turned to Route Cardinal Mercier and finally succeeded in rousing the proprietor of the Pharmacie Européenne. He filled my prescription in 20 minutes – it consisted of moprhine and cocaine. I must thank the fates and my own luck that I finally did get the medicine and reached home at 3 am, but from my experience I would gather that many other persons whose need for medicine is no less urgent, and conceivably more so, must be torn by pain until the pharmacies open in the morning.

V. S.

(From the North-China Daily Herald)

Tags: 1940s, article, avenue joffre, drugs, french concession, newspaper, pharmacies, shanghai

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