Drug abuse has plagued America since the 1800s, when morphine,heroin and cocaine were praised for their amazing curative properties. By themid-20th century, however, illicit drug use was all but abolished in the USthrough focused national and global suppression of the industry. All thatchanged in the 1960s when many new and exotic drugs, such as hallucinogens,amphetamines and marijuana, became more readily available during the hippiemovement. The rapid increase of these substances createdmany government agencies, all mandated to counter the burden of illegal drugs.These bureaucracies, in turn, needed statistical information in order toeffectively understand the scope of their task. In due course, they discoveredthat: cocaine users were an average of 1.
3 million per year during 1980-1984,which then dwindled to around 536,000 by 1994. A shocking fact that that thebureaucracy had found was that between 1992 and 1993, 5.5 perfect of Americanpregnant woman had confessed to taking illicit drugs when conceiving. The Indians, Assyrians and Egyptians were cultivating andpreparing opium from the opium poppy. Indeed, the upper classes of manycivilizations would use this to relax and pass time, although some uses aremuch less compassionate.
Opium eventually made it to China, andthe locals traded with other countries such as the French and the Dutch. Itstarted arriving in Europe and the Americas in bulk in the late 17th century,when it promptly became a problem. With improved ships that could carry more cargo, traders could getalmost anywhere in the world and bring back whatever they could get their handson. Without control, drugs spread like wildfire through middle and uppersociety. The poor were no better off; in Europe-particularly in Britain-gin hadbecome a nuisance thanks to some exceptionally poorly thought-out laws, and inthe Americas, cannabis, rum and beer were proving problematic for colonists.