"The Proposition": what was the headache powder?

Sherriff Stanley is shown consuming headache powder straight from the wrapper and mixed with water. Any guesses as to what this would have been? I’m assuming some kind of patent medicine with opium or morphine.

You can buy aspirin and other headache relievers in powdered form, though they are hard to come by in some parts of the country.Saw them a lot in Georgia. Don’t know anything about The Proposition, though. If I recall, the one brand was BC.

Sorry, I meant Goody’s

Silly me, I was right the first time too! There are a lot of brands out there, and BC is another biggie. It’s been a long time since I tried them, so forgive me for not remebering clearly.

They’re pretty popular in the southern US, but never caught on elsewhere. I picked some up a few years ago when I was visiting; my daughter didn’t like pills at a time and it seemed a good option. IIRC, they were aspirin with a little acetaminophen.

I have encountered Goody’s Powders in stores in Ohio, and IIRC, Pennsylvania, but it seems to be most restricted to states below the Mason-Dixon.

I love the stuff, and buy it whenever I come across it. Works much faster than regular aspirin, but I will warn you, make *sure * you’re swallowed it all before taking another breath. I once inhaled it in the back of my throat and it was a horrible experience. It burned and stung, and I was tasting it for the rest of the day.

Are these ‘powders’ water-soluble or drunk as a suspension?
Do they come in sachets, or do you just get a box/tub of powder?

The machinery for mass producing solid tablets for dispensing medicines wasn’t invented until a long time after the medicines themselves were. One of the main duties of early pharmacists was compunding medicines into pills so people could more easily take them.

You can mix them in liquid, or just put them on the back of the tongue and swallow them like a pill. The theory is that since it’s a powder, it dissolves quicker than any pill and thus starts working faster.

The ones I saw were in individual pouches. Maybe they came in a tub at one point, but that would make it harder to figure dosages. A pre-measured pouch is easier to deal with.

I can’t comment on the US products, but Beecham’s Powders are readily available in the UK.
They come as several individual doses in a box, each wrapped in a slip of paper, and are generally taken as a suspension in water.

Everyone else’s responses are helpful but I don’t think anyone saw the movie. I too think it was an opium compound. (the movie takes place in the mid-late 1800s Austrailia)

PYD: thanks for being on point!


I haven’t seen the movie, but there is a good chance the powder is Bex. It is a sort-of iconic Australian headache powder. It is rather before my time, so I can’t really give you much info on it, but a bit of research may confirm (or completely deny) my guess.