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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in Spokane: Doctor arrested after issuing 27 prescriptions for whisky

From our archives, 100 years ago

A Spokane pioneer physician, Dr. W.D. Valentine, was locked up in county jail for issuing prescriptions for whisky by the score.

The county prosecutor said that he had heard reports that Dr. Valentine had issued 27 prescriptions for whisky to one Spokane drug store alone. So authorities sent in an undercover operative to visit Dr. Valentine and request a prescription. The man emerged with a prescription for one pint of whisky “to be taken with cocoa at meals,” and another pint to be taken with milk.

The prosecutor said “there was too much of this business going on,” meaning, too many people getting around the prohibition laws by getting bogus prescriptions for “medicine.” The prohibition law, which became effective at the start of the year, did allow for certain uses of alcohol for medical reasons, but the prosecutor said that the patient in this case was not suffering from any ailment.

The doctor said he only gave any prescriptions to patients who needed them.

“It is true I have issued many such prescriptions, but, say, I have turned men down right along, as I did not think they were sick,” he said from jail.

The doctor said that this man came in to his office and told him he had “a bad pain in his stomach.”

From the cigarette beat: A Spokesman-Review editorial cited a study that blamed excessive cigarette smoking for an increase in the national school dropout rate.

The editorial also quoted factory employers as saying they would not hire young men smokers, because they were incapable of doing accurate work.

The juvenile smoker is “incapable of concentration of nervous energy” and becomes “restless and unnerved.” One employer said that because of cigarettes, “the boy today is not what the boy 10 years ago was.”

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