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Was Roosevelt using cocaine before his speech?

Although it sounds a bit like gossip and slander, there’s a possibility that Franklin Delano Roosevelt was using cocaine on the day he gave the now famous speech that references “a day that will live in infamy.” However, it’s not nearly as scandalous as you might think.

In the 1940s, it was common practice to treat a sinus infection with cocaine. Doctors would attempt to decrease the swelling that occurs inside a nose and would sometimes put a needle into the sinuses to irrigate them. Cocaine would be used to help stop the swelling and to numb the place where the needle would be inserted. FDR received treatment from Dr. Ross McIntire on December 7 and 8 for a sinus infection.

Although we do not have certain evidence that FDR used cocaine on the day he gave the “Day of Infamy Speech,” there is a possibility that it happened. It was common practice at the time to highly dilute any dose of cocaine administered, however, so it probably didn’t have any impact on him. It’s also possible that FDR had no knowledge that he had been given cocaine. It was believed at the time that if you used cocaine to treat a patient but did not tell them that you did, they were less likely to become addicted to it.

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