Drug abuse is the use or possession of controlled substances, or illegal drugs like cocaine, marijuana, or methamphetamines. It is also the use of a drug for a purpose other than that for which it is normally prescribed or recommended. This includes prescription drug abuse, and the abuse of other substances to alter mood and perception like glue or gasoline fume sniffing. In order to effectively deter people from using and eventually abusing drugs, there have been many programs established to educate as well as rehabilitate and prevent drug abuse. These programs are available nationwide and are utilized by all forms of government agencies and public officials in an ongoing attempt to rid society of drugs and drug related crime.
There are many reasons for drug abuse, including escape from reality, search for awareness and mysticism, masking pain, blunting anxiety, fighting depression, escaping mental or physical deficits, lightening other burdens, or improving performance (Online, NIDA-Teens).
Such drugs often require increasing dosage to obtain the same effect, leading to mental and physical dependence and possibly severe withdrawal symptoms with high risks.
There is evidence of drug abuse dating back thousands of years. Narcotics can be traced back to 4000 B.C. and the medicinal use of marijuana has been dated to 2737 B.C. in China. In the late 1800's the first signs of the active substances in drugs being extracted was discovered. During this time these newly discovered substances like morphine, laudanum, and cocaine were completely unregulated and prescribed freely by physicians for a wide variety of ailments (Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia). These substances were available in patent medicines and sold by street vendors, drug store owners, or by mail. During the American Civil War, morphine was prescribed all the time and many veterans became addicted. Research shows that by the early 1900s...