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    MEDICINE

    If Dracula were interested in drugstores, he'd shop at Sargent's in Chicago. In fact, store manager Harvey Snitman says he's more interested in selling leeches than pimple creams or mouthwash.

    The worm-like creatures, which sport three razor-sharp teeth, are among the drugstore's hottest selling items. Though the store manager tries to stock about 100 of the wiggly, squiggly blood suckers at all times, he can easily sell that supply within a month or two. Known technically as Hirudo Medicinalus, or by Snitman as "Little Friendly Draculas," the medicinal leeches are primarily used by customers to withdraw blood from black eyes. But other shoppers, from as far away as New York, believe they relieve migraine headaches, phlebitis and the swelling of bruises.

    The leeches, which the store imports from Russia, Poland and Hungary through a London broker, run about three to four inches long and retail for $6.50. While the price may seem steep, Snitman is quick to point out that the little creatures can be used more than once. After gorging itself on a luscious shiner, for example, a leech needs time to digest its intake before being called on again for service.

    Physicians prescribed leeches widely until the late 1800's, but their popularity has dropped off since. So, if you're in the market and can't find them at your corner drugstore, stop by Sargent's. Just say Dracula sent you. 

    Campus Life, January, 1980, p. 23.