February 27th, 2012 · Judith C. · Staff Recommendations
There has always been a history of Drug Abuse in the United States. From the time of the settlement of Virginia where the cultivation of tobacco saved the colony in the early 1600’s to the distillation of rum in the New England colonies, tobacco and alcohol were part of the average American’s diet. Just about everyone drank and smoke; both adults and children.
In the late 19th Century cocaine was developed from the coca plant and for many years cocaine was used for medicinal purposes. It was also believed that many soft drinks (many were developed in the late 19th century) had some cocaine. However by the early 20th century, cocaine was being used not just for medicinal purposes. In the early 20th century the use of cocaine, marijuana and heroin became, if not common, at least used by a good number of people. Of course, the use of alcohol continued during the Prohibition years and there were no laws against the use of tobacco. Cocaine, marijuana and heroin were never officially legal but most physicians were allowed to prescribe them and there would not be stringent rules prohibiting the consumption of cocaine, marijuana and heroin until much later in the 20th century.
In the 1960’s and the 1970’s other “recreational” drugs such as LSD entered the drug scene and the use of marijuana became prevalent among many people. People still continued to smoke and drink and many would drink and use marijuana at the same time; the result was often lethal.
In the late 20th century and early 21st century, another use of drugs entered the “recreational” drug scene; the use of prescription drugs such as oxycontin with cocaine to form a deadly “cocktail.” It was also during this time that a much stronger form of marijuana was developed.
Both parents and young people should be aware that the “drug scene” is not new but even though it may be part of American culture and history, it is a history that we should not take pride in.
The Harrison Public Library and the West Harrison Public Library have many books on Drug Abuse, both non-fiction and fiction.