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Past And Current Trends Paper

1448 words - 6 pages

The overall picture of drug abuse in the Unites States is constantly changing. The impact of drug abuse is a major public health problem that affects society on multiple levels. Directly or indirectly, every community is affected by drug abuse, as is every family. Drugs take a tremendous toll on our society at many levels. This paper will discuss the past and current trends of drug use, how American culture supports encourages and supports drug use and abuse, cultural appropriateness of specific narcotics for medical use, and health problems associated with drug abuse.Until the late 1800's, prohibitionists found it relatively easy to identify their targets for attack: Tobacco users were conspicuous, alcohol drinkers could be found in every saloon, and alcohol was served openly in homes and at social gatherings. Even opium dens were well known and opium could be purchased readily, free from state or federal government controls.The Jamestown settlers brought cannabis to Virginia in 1611 and cultivated it for its fiber. From then until after the Civil War, the marihuana plant was a major crop in North America, and played an important role in both colonial and national economic policy…George Washington was growing hemp in 1765 at Mount Vernon…presumably for its fiber, though it has been argued that Washington was also concerned to increase the intoxicating potency of his marihuana plants (Brecher, 1972)The anti-drug movements of the twentieth century could even be considered the result of the early prohibitionists. Until the Controlled Substance Act was passed by Congress in 1970, drug abuse legislation was at odds to keep pace with the endless variety of natural substances and preparations, synthetic derivatives and "improvements" on the natural that were adopted by different subcultures in the search for a new high or an intensified religious experience (Casey, 1978).In an interview with Hardy Cannon, an elderly friend, he said that when he was growing up "no one really thought that much about drug abuse. We had tobacco, alcohol, a little pot, and a few people did a bit of the harder stuff but no one really knew how bad this stuff was for you." Hardy went on to say that "now days we hear about all the different drugs and how bad all the drugs and drinking are for you and we try to pass this onto the younger people so that they don't even get started on them". Hardy also says that "I'm glad that I'm not a youngster nowadays because of all the pressure kids have to do drugs and all just to be a part of the group."The American culture supports and encourages the use and abuse of drugs by the fact that many Americans believe that drug abuse is not their problem. They have misconceptions that drug users belong to a segment of society different from their own or that drug abuse is remote from their environment. Illegal drugs continue to be readily available almost anywhere in the United States. If measured solely in terms of price and...

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