Chapter two explains the history of addiction. The history of addiction is important to understand because it gives us insight. This insight will be beneficial in moving forward with regards to the field of addiction and recovery.
Substance abuse and addiction has been present and documented worldwide for thousands of years. Europeans are accountable for drinking evolving from to dark ages to colonization. The main advancement in the evolution of alcohol was the distilling of alcohol. This made alcohol stronger and ultimately caused personal and social problems. The isolation of cocaine from the coca bush also created similar problems of substance abuse.
When European settlers arrived in America they brought vast amounts of alcohol with them. They viewed alcohol as a necessity of life that was used for things ranging from medicinal purposed to social gatherings and political life. The Europeans were responsible for introducing alcohol to Native Americans, who are biologically more susceptible to alcoholism. However, in colonial America drinking was viewed as a choice and drinking large amounts was thought to be acceptable. Between 1780 and 1830 the consumption of alcohol increased drastically. In 1784, Benjamin Rush was the first person to refer to excessive drinking as a disease or an addiction. By 1826, a rise to intolerance for drinking led to the temperance movement and the start of the prohibition movement.
The period between 1830 and 1919 was not only known for alcohol consumption, but the use of other drugs as well. Medical doctors were directly responsible for this rise in drug use due to using drugs as cures. Furthermore, Opium, morphine, and cocaine were legal for use without a prescription until 1914. At this time, addiction became apparent and many theories of addiction came in to play. Also, the second wave of the temperance movement occurred. Although it had its ups and downs, overall the prohibition movement was unsuccessful. However, the Oxford Group was formed to encourage healing through personal spiritual change and is now referred to as the foundation of Alcoholics Anonymous. In 1935 the program Alcoholics Anonymous was formed. It has become an essential part of the way we understand addiction today. By the 1940’s collaboration between medical doctors, psychiatrists, and lay persons in recovery began to work together to understand addiction, especially alcoholism.
The 1960’s are well known for their connection to drug use. This was due to things such as the counterculture of the hippie movement and the soldiers returning from the Vietnam War. In the 1970’s clubs became popular, and so did the use of cocaine. Around this time, medical researchers declared alcoholism and addiction a disease. Also, the common bond between alcoholism and drug addiction was recognized. Furthermore, the public began to be aware of and understand addiction. Soon after this, America proclaimed a War on Drugs and a “Zero Tolerance” stance.