USA Drug Policy History
Historical Overview of Drug use
in America (and around the world)
in American Society, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th editions, Erich Goode, McGraw-Hill,
1999/2005/2008/2012. Chapter 4 and 12)
History of Drug Use in Human Societies
Use is a Cultural Universal
Inuit Eskimos have no record of traditional Drug use
- And, this changed when
contact with Europeans was established
- Most, if not all, societies
integrate drug use into accepted, sometimes ritualistic, cultural patterns
- Drug use seems to be
a vital part of everyday social interaction
of Psychoactive Substances is MASSIVE in Modern Society
Use Prior to the Twentieth Century
and Medicinal Drug Use in the 19th Century
- Limited access to drugs (opiates
were the primary source of pain management, when available). Alcohol was also
commonly used. In particular, the use of opiates masked the symptoms of most
illnesses, providing the false impression of curing.
- Brutal surgeries and amputations
(no antiseptic technique). Ignaz
Semmelweis (Hungarian physician) advocated hand washing to prevent spread
of infections in the 1850s. His work was ignored until the 1890s.
Medicines" (see more)
- Opium, Morphine, Marijuana, and
Cocaine widely available.
- No accurate data
- Estimates of narcotic "addicts"
in 1900 range from 100,000-500,000. Best estimates 250,000 (Musto) and 313,000
(Courtwright). (US population: 76,200,000): .4%. Today (2003), population
12 years and older: 237,000,000. Two percent report past month non-medical
use of any pain reliever, .05% report past month use of heroin.
- User Groups:
- Medical/quasi-medical use:
white, middle aged, middle class, women (largest group)
- Opium smokers (Chinese immigrants)
- Criminal Sub-culture (morphine)
- Cocaine users: 80,000
- Opium Control and Chinese Immigrants
Food and Drug Act
- Railroad and gold
- Economic change and growing
- 1875: San Francisco passes anti-opium
- 1882: Chinese Exclusion Act
(banned immigration for 10 years)
- 1909: Opium Exclusion Act
Shanghai Commission (The
International Opium Commission), 1909
- Concerns over patent medicines
- Upton Sinclar's The
- Congress passes act to ban interstate
commerce in adulterated or misbranded food or drugs.
- Passing the act created the
and Drug Administration (FDA)
- Did not ban patent medicine
or other drugs, merely required labeling, and government oversight. There
was no focus on safety or effectiveness of medicinal compounds, either.
Act, 1914: "the single most important piece of drug legislation ever
enacted in the United States." (Goode, 2005, page 97)
Wars and trade with China (huge market)
- US possession of The Philippines
(1898) following the Spanish-American War: banned opium in 1905 (chinese
residents) and 1908 (all residents).
- Growing concern over the opium
- Thirteen countries meet. US
Hamilton Wright: "father of American narcotic laws") presents
information on the dangers of narcotics.
- Wright drafts a bill (Foster
bill) to regulate opiates, cannabis, cocaine, etc.) here in the US.
- Hague Conference (International
Conference on Opium) convenes in 1911. Again the US pushes for stricter
controls (although none existed in the US).
- Afterwards, push is on to enact
domestic laws--The Harrison Act.
- See, "THE
HISTORY OF LEGISLATIVE CONTROL OVER OPIUM, COCAINE, AND THEIR DERIVATIVES"
by David Musto
Prohibition Movement (alcohol
Nixon and the Controlled
Substances Act (Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act)
Maintenance Clinics (1918-1923)
- 30,000 physicians arrested
- Narcotic addiction became
a criminal offense.
of a criminal subculture (starts prior to Harrison Act)
- David Courtwright: decline
in narcotic addiction occurred between 1895 and 1915 based on voluntary
changes in the way physicians managed patients. This led to a proportional
increase in the underworld addict population, and following the Harrison
Act, and the criminalization, led to the solidification of the heroin
using addict subculture (Congress passed a bill in 1924 specifically
banning heroin: Heroin Act). "Junkie" comes from the junk
collecting activity of NYC addicts in the 1920s--their method of supporting
Years of America's Drug War (from PBS)
- Supercedes all previous drug
- Commission on Marijuana and
Drug Abuse 1972-1973
- Decriminalize marijuana
- Delete word "abuse"
The Carter/Reagan-Bush Years
- Only president to focus on treatment
and prevention (budget 1/3 supply, 2/3 demand)
- 1968: Bureau of Narcotics (treasury)
of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (justice). Later: DEA
- Dole and Nyswander: Methadone
Jerome Jaffe (early methadone advocate, Illinois)--national policy
- Law and order: crime rate increase
and presidential secretary's purse snatching. Egil
Krogh, Mr. "Fix-It."
DuPont: another methadone advocate
- Vietnam and heroin addiction (~4%
versus 10%). Drug Urinalysis Testing
- Nixon/Jaffe: SAODAP (1971): $155
million, $105 for treatment. "War on Drugs." (demand-side)
- 1972: $35 million to Turkey--stop
poppy production (also spraying marijuana in Mexico with herbicide, Paraquat)
Connection." Crime down, heroin supplies low. Mexico, SE Asia, Iran,
and Afghanistan enter supply chain.
- 1973/1974: Federal anti-drug budget
$600 million (8x increase. addicts in treatment: over 80,000
- Rockefeller in NY: harsh laws--focus
- Nixon pushes for similar federal
laws. March 1973: The Heroin Trafficking Act.
- May 1973: BNDD--DEA.
- Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental
Health Administration (ADAMHA) created to coordinate federal research
- Methadone program doing well,
but public opinion moving towards punishment
- Jaffee resigns, Dupont dismantles
SAODAP (geography--SAODAP was close to White House, NIDA, far away)
- 1972-1974: Watergate, Nixon
resigns (not much thought on drug policy)
- Ford takes office. Not much concern.
Methadone funding declines. White
Paper on Drug Abuse (can't eliminate drugs, but can reduce harm:
- Shift to enforcement activities.
- Start of massive increase
1993-2000: Bill Clinton
- Carter: Liberal, popular
Bourne: Drug Advisor (treatment oriented, worked with Jaffee)
- Marijuana decriminalization movement
- 1976-1977: Schuchard
family incident. Dupont shifts to hard-line
- National opinion shifting--"parent's
- Reverses opinion on marijuana,
it becomes the new target: Mexico
and Paraquat (scroll to middle of linked page)
- 1978: Bourne "busted"
(quaalude prescription and cocaine at NORML
party (2/3 down)). "Zero-tolerance" becomes
- 1976-1980: illicit use rises.
11 states decriminalize marijuana
- 1980: Peak of use. Reagan elected
- Emphasis on enforcement. Budget
reverses: 1/3 treat, 2/3 enforcement.
- DuPont leads "zero-tolerance"
- 1981: Carlton Turner appointed
drug advisor: All illegal drugs dangerous. Treatment encourages use.
- Federal spending on treatment
- Nancy Reagan
- Bad press (extravagance)
- Picks up "Just say no"
from NIDA film. 1985: White-house
anti-drug event. Phrase picked up in press.
- Federal spending: 1/5 treatment,
- 1983: DARE
program started by LAPD--quickly spreads to other cities, and receives federal
- 1985-1986: Crack Panic (Len Bias,
Dan Rodgers: cocaine deaths)
- Ed Koch in NYC: death penalty
(becomes life sentence for selling ~$50 of crack).
- Summer of 1986: Reagan: Nationwide
crusade against drugs.
- Anti-drug Abuse Act of 1986: overwhelmingly
approved. Major intensification of penalties. Death to traffickers, No longer
distinctions between "hard" and "soft" drugs, or "recreational"
- Public opinion increasing harsh
(ironically reported drug use falling rapidly).
- George Bush (the elder) elected.
Carries on. William Bennett: Drug Czar.
created: 1988 (Current Director: R. Gil Kerlikowske)
- September 1989: 64% of Americans name drug
abuse number one problem (illicit use at historic low). Only 2% viewed
it as so problematic in April 1986.
- Smoked, but didn't inhale.
- Illicit use increases
- 1992: ADAMHA Reorganization: Transfers
NIDA, NIMH, and NIAAA to NIH and incorporates
ADAMHA's programs into the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
- Federal anti-drug budget increases
ten fold ($1.5 billion in 1989--$18.5 billion in 2000)
Barry McCaffrey appointed Drug Czar. (1996)
- Arrests soar: 1,580,000 arrested
in 2000 (use approaching secondary plateau)
- Refuses federal support for needle-exchange
- Links drug use violation to termination
of federal education loans and grants
- November 1996: Proposition
215 in California: medicinal marijuana
2001-2008: George W. Bush
look at the history of American Drug Legislation
Social History of America's Most Popular Drugs (PBS
Frontline: Drug Wars, 2000)
the Media, and Research
Owner: Robert O. Keel email@example.com
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Tuesday, October 16, 2012 3:47 PM