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When Did Drugs Become Commonly Used

Drugs have been used throughout history for both spiritual rituals, medicinal purposes as well as recreational. Alcohol, Psilocybin mushrooms, Peyote Cactus, Ayahuasca(DMT), Salvia D., Opium, and Marijuana have been used most commonly throughout the years in various cultures and religions. Other drugs known as “Designer Drugs” have a much shorter history. LSD became popular in the 1960s’s, followed by club drugs like ecstasy and cocaine which became popular in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Today there are thousands of known drugs, many naturally occurring others created through synthetic drug compounds.Drugs have been popular throughout human history, only over the last century have they become a concern with strict laws and guide lines in place to protect people from the negative health effects and risk of addiction that goes along with their use.


Marijuana has been one of the most commonly used drugs throughout history. In the 1600’s marijuana cultivation began in the United States with the Jamestown settlers. Marijuana was not originally grown for its euphoric effects when ingested, but for its unusually strong fiber that was used to make rope, sails, and clothing. At one point, Marijuana was a great source of revenue in the U.S., with plantations flourishing in Mississippi, Georgia, California, South Carolina, Nebraska, New York, and Kentucky. During this time people began to smoke hashish, a stronger preparation of marijuana derived from the dried resin of the plant, in the United States, as well as throughout France.

From 1850 and 1937 Marijuana could be purchased in pharmacies and general stores, as it was regularly used for medicinal purposes. In 1910, after the Mexican Revolution, the recreational use of Marijuana in the United States grew. When the price of alcohol in the United States rose due to the Volstead Act of 1920, marijuana became an alternative and led to an increase in its use. At this point businesses where a person could purchase marijuana for 25 cents or less, known as “tea pads” became popular in cities throughout the United States. Throughout time the use of marijuana became linked to lower class communities with crime and violence. by 1937, Congress passed the Marijuana Tax Act which criminalized the drug. By 1970 Marijuana was placed on the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act, which has mandatory penalties for drug offenses. Today the cultivation, distribution and use of marijuana is illegal throughout the United States, with strict penlites if laws are broken.

Opium and Heroin

Opiate drugs have a long history in many cultures for spiritual, medicinal, and recreational use. The popularity of opium use grew in the United States in the 19th Century, especially with women. Opiate drugs were easily available over the counter as well as by prescription for various medical conditions, even menstrual cramps. In the 1850’s and 1860’s, Chinese men came to work on the U.S. railroads, bringing with them the habit of Opium smoking. While opium smoking was banned within city limits in 1875, by the turn of the century opium dens were extremely popular.

In 1803 physicians to label synthesized morphine as “God’s own medicine” for its reliability, long-lasting effects, and safety. At the time of the invention of the hypodermic syringe, injectable morphine became a pain reliever during the American Civil War, leading to many morphine addictions. In 1898 Bayer drug company began marketing Heroin, which was designed to be an solution to morphine, only adding to the problem.

The abuse of opiate medications, opium and heroin grew in popularity throughout the United States, leading to many addiction and fatal overdoses. Heroin addiction became a growing concern for the government as it was connected with a large amount of crime throughout the nation. Since heroin was made illegal, the potency of street heroin grew. By the 1990’s heroin use increased significantly.

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When Did Drugs Become Commonly Used


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