Past and Current Trends

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Past and Current Trends
Drugs and alcohol have played a role in American society for many years. There is, however, a wider variety of drugs available today than ever before and with this wider variety there comes a wider range of addictive qualities and health related risks that individuals who take these drugs are subjected. Habit forming drugs were introduced into American society as far back as the 1700's. These drugs were widely used for "medicinal" purposes without any knowledge of their addictive properties and the health risks involved with taking them. One such drug, Laudanum, a drug containing opium, was widely available in the 1700's and in the 1800's there were many products readily available that contained ingredients such as cocaine, morphine, and/or heroine. These drugs and others were considered miracle drugs when first introduced and were given to infants and children, as well as being used by adults. When these drugs were first introduced they were more than just legal, they were commonplace.

Past and Current Trends
Before you can analyze the trends in drug abuse you must look at the reasons why individuals use drugs and thus the reasons behind the abuse. Individuals use drugs to reduce tension and anxiety, to escape from stress, and to cope with the problems of day-to-day life. Other known reasons, especially in teenagers, include peer pressure, family problems, and curiosity. Due to the increase in these factors the current drug trend for illegal drug use is on the rise. In an article written in the Journal of Drug Issues, the writers state that "…results from the Monitoring the Future Program, which surveys 8th, 10th, and 12th graders, reported that methamphetamine use has doubled in the last decade." While this article only speaks of methamphetamine use teenagers have increased their use of other drugs as well. This increase in teenage drug use indicates that peer pressure is strong, family problems have heightened, and curiosity to...
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