Since the founding days of this country, we as a nation have been struggling with drug abuse. Take into account the world as a whole, and one quickly sees that men and women have been using foreign substances to alter their mental states for thousands and thousands of years. While there is no shortage of history of drug abuse through the ages, the following article hopes to shed light on some of the most important moments throughout the decades in relation to drug abuse and addition.
Opium’s Place in Drug Abuse History
When the Ming Dynasty of China placed a ban on the smoking of tobacco in the 17th century, the country began a long “love affair” with opium. Opium abuse and addiction remained a problem in the country for centuries. Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, China struggled with widespread opium addiction, and when many Chinese immigrants moved to other countries (including the United States) they brought the drug with them – thus paving the way for the smuggling routes that continue to this day.
American History 101: United States Declares War on Drugs
With the possible exception of the Prohibition Era of the 1920s, no period had as much impact on the American state of substance abuse than the 1970s. It was during this time of relaxed attitudes towards drug abuse that President Richard Nixon declared a “War on Drugs” and enacted a series of laws that still impact our society to this day. Thanks to Nixon (and in the 1980s, President Reagan), individuals could be more easily jailed as a result of drug-related offenses and today, many prisons are filled with non-violent drug offenders as a result.
Today, people hold conflicting beliefs on how drug addiction should be treated on a criminal level. Many believe that incarcerating drug addicts does nothing to improve the state of drug addiction in our country. Oftentimes, once drug addicts are jailed, their addictions only worsen as they are surrounded by other addicts. They may learn new ways to covertly acquire drugs or progress to even stronger substances of abuse. Many advocate the use of drug courts instead. According to the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP), drug courts offer addicts the best shot at real recovery. Instead of jail time, drug addicts receive intense rehabilitation at an addiction treatment program. Some states employ the use of drug courts and have seen positive results from them. Addicts are still responsible to adhere to the guidelines set forth by the court, including drug testing and attendance at meetings, hearings and sometimes community service.
The Crack Cocaine Epidemic
During the 1980s and 1990s, the United States was in the grips of a crack cocaine epidemic. Countless men and women saw their lives thrown into ruin as a result of this powerful, inexpensive and highly addictive form of cocaine. The streets of major cities were filled with individuals willing to sell or do anything in order to obtain their next fix. And although the mania surrounding crack would eventually die down in the late 90s, this period was unlike any other in the annals of America’s drug abuse history.
Though crack cocaine isn’t as prevalent an issue as it once was, abuse and addiction to crack cocaine are still problems in the United States. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), crack cocaine is incredibly addictive and carries with it a host of ill health effects, including heart attacks, strokes or seizures.
Afghanistan, Terrorism and the Drug Trade
The poppy flower used to produce heroin is abundant in the country of Afghanistan, which is in fact the biggest producer of heroin in the world. In addition to creating a number of opium addicts, this lucrative business has also provided the financing for a number of terrorists operations around the world. As the United States and its allies fight a dangerous war in this mountainous country, they are encountering a drug problem that threatens the future of potential addicts and Western countries across the globe.
The history of drug abuse and addiction is long. The only hope for those suffering from drug addiction is that they get the comprehensive help they truly need to achieve sobriety and long-term health. If you or someone you love is suffering from addiction, rest assured that there is hope. You can effectively gain control of your addiction with the help of a high-quality treatment program. In treatment, you’ll address the base causes that led to your addiction and you’ll learn how to control your impulses so you don’t return to drug use. Call today for more information.