History of Drug Abuse Treatment

Posted on :  October 21st, 2016  |  By :  towardsrecovery

Drug use has been part of human history for thousands of years with narcotics use recorded as early as 4000 B.C. with the Egyptians. China used marijuana for medicinal purposes since 2737 B.C., but active extraction did not begin until the 19th century.  Morphine was freely used during the American Civil War with kits being distributed to wounded veterans and by the 1900s an estimated 250,000 Americans were considered addicts.

Drug Trends

During the 1800s cocaine, morphine, and heroin were flaunted for their curative properties.  Unfortunately, by the 1960s exotic drugs like amphetamines, marijuana, and hallucinogens can be easily bought.  This resulted in the creation of various government agencies tasked with countering the proliferation of illegal drugs.

Based on the findings of these agencies, it was discovered that from 1980 to 1984 there were about 1.3 million first-time users of cocaine annually.  That number decreased to around 533,000 by 1994, but by 1995 there are approximately 5 million self-confessed frequent marijuana users in the United States alone.

From 1992 to 1993 about 5.5% of women took some form of illegal substance during their pregnancy.  The Office of Drug Control Policy declared in 1996 that it detected an increase in the use of heroin for the young and young adults.

Recognizing the Problem

Gradual recognition of drug abuse came with legal measures being adopted as early as 1875 with the outlawing of opium dens within San Francisco.  It was not until 1906 that the Pure Food and Drug Act was passed and subsequently the Harrison Narcotic Act of 1914 that banned the sale of significant amounts of cocaine, opiates, and eventually heroin.  Soon after, use of these drugs for treatment were abandoned.

Antidrug education became part of school curriculum in most states by the 1930s as a prevention plan against experimentation.  Despite efforts of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Narcotics (later renamed to Drug Enforcement Administration) use of marijuana, tranquilizers, and amphetamines increased in the 1950s.  All throughout the 60s and 70s there was increased drug use until it declined by the 1980s with crack and cocaine use being the most prevalent.

Temperance Movement

A new view on addiction and recovery for substance abuse treatment was introduced with the Temperance Movement that began in 1808.  The initial target was alcohol abuse, which was viewed more as a moral affliction instead of a disease.

When the Civil War started in 1861 the Temperance Movement stalled a bit but gradually gained momentum in the political arena.  Women’s group became involved as they made a harder push not only for temperance but also prohibition.  This led to the creation of the Prohibition Party in 1869, with policy initiatives seeing adoption with the introduction of the 18th Amendment to the Constitution in 1920.  This created a powerful impact on how substance use, abuse, and treatment is dealt with during the early part of the 20th century.

Early Treatments

Despite focusing mostly on alcohol during the 19th century, there was a growing interest in treating drugs.  Until the Harrison Act was signed, psychotropic drugs were considered legal in the U.S.  During this time there was an increase in the availability of cocaine and opiates that resulted in the drug epidemic.

At this time patients with drug addictions were seen more for the disease of addiction rather than being considered as a moral failure.  It is noteworthy that during the 19th century opium addicts were white, educated, and higher socioeconomic status women.  Those who sought treatment was because of psychological or physical nature, unless they preferred to hide their addiction.

Early treatment methods for substance abused included the use of other drugs.  Cocaine was even prescribed to arrest opiate and alcohol addiction.  It was also used as an anesthetic when performing surgical procedures.  Come the 20th century most treatments centered on easing withdrawal symptoms using addictive psychoactive substances like codeine for example.

It was also at this time that maintenance programs was experimented with.  However, most programs were ineffective resulting in a cycle of addiction that remained sustained.

The good news is that today, places like Towards Recovery Clinics, Inc. look at substance abuse as type of chronic disease issue and use the philosophy of lifestyle intervention that help rebuild lives and careers.  Call them today!

Who We Serve ?

  • Individuals using/abusing street narcotics (e.g. heroin).
  • Patients abusing prescription narcotics(i.e., Codeine, Talwin, Percocet/Percodan, Dilaudid, Morphine or Demerol, et cetera).
  • Individuals displaying any of the following behaviours: Compulsive drug use or drug seeking/craving.