University of Phoenix
September 20, 2010
Past and Current Drug Abuse Trends in the United States
Trends in drug use amidst Americans are in a roundabout way attributed to trends in society. Despite the fact that drugs always have been around in one form or another, their early manipulations on society trace back to 4000 B.C. American society has been familiar with habit forming drugs as far back as the 1700s. These drugs were extensively used for medicinal and therapeutic purposes without any knowledge of their addictive characteristics and the health risks associated with taking them. Trends in drug abuse have changed over the years as a result of influences that Americans face from different cultures and celebrities. Sometimes using illicit drugs is considered culturally appropriate, for example, American soldiers used morphine freely during the Civil War as a surgical anesthetic and to ease the pain of wounded soldiers. After the war was over, countless wounded soldiers were sent home with the drug. John Pemberton composed a drink or tonic he named Coca Cola. When Coca Cola was introduced to society it contained cocaine and caffeine. The introduction of the Pure Food and Drug Act in 1906, which required that a list of ingredients be visible on packaging, led to the removal of many substances, for instance cocaine from products. Over the past few years, illicit drugs, alcohol, and tobacco use by teens has declined gradually in the United States. Results from the annual Monitoring the Future (MTF) surveys indicate an almost 7% decline in the use of illicit drugs among teenagers. The same survey also revealed an 18% drop in marijuana usage (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2010). Marijuana was favored a Mexican laborers and jazz musicians until the government cracked down on its use in the 1930s. In 1937, the Marihuana Tax Act...