Is jazz a drug? Of course it is; a doctor said so, in a piece called "Jazz — a Drug." He was E. Elliott Rawlins, M.D., writing in the New York Amsterdam News, April 1, 1925:
The form of music called jazz is just as intoxicating as morphine or cocaine; it is just as harmful, and yet its use is not determined by law. . . .Dr. Rawlins' column is a reminder that African-Americans have not always celebrated jazz as a great cultural accomplishment. Yes, the Amsterdam News, if you don't recognize the name, is an African-American newspaper, founded in 1909, still publishing weekly from Harlem.
Jazz is killing some people; some are going insane; others are losing their religion. The young girls and boys, who constantly take jazz every day and night, are becoming absolutely bad, and some criminals. . . .
Jazz, like any other drug, should be used only when needed, in a specific dose, and by those who know how it should be used. A little jazz is all right and proper; an overdose is harmful.