Past and current trends of drug abuse

Essay by Yates Phyllis November 2008

download word file, 5 pages 3.0

Past and Current TrendsThe overall picture of drug abuse in the Unites States is constantly changing. The impact of drug abuse is a major public health problem that affects society on multiple levels. Directly or indirectly, every community is affected by drug abuse, as is every family. Drugs take a tremendous toll on our society at many levels. This paper will discuss the past and current trends of drug use, how American culture supports encourages and supports drug use and abuse, cultural appropriateness of specific narcotics for medical use, and health problems associated with drug abuse.

Amphetamines were first used as a medicine in the 1930s when Benzedrine inhalers were introduced as a nasal decongestant. Doctors found other uses for these pills, like weight loss, depression, impotence, Parkinson's disease, epilepsy and old-age apathy. By the 1950s, the addictive side to amphetamines had become obvious, but the pharmaceutical industry continued to crank out inhalers, pills and even liquid injectable methamphetamine.

Eventually in the 1960s, a moral panic developed around speed-freak teenagers and addicted housewives. A clampdown led to amphetamine-use going underground. Its place has taken in the headlines by other substances such as pot, LSD, heroin, cocaine, the ecstasy (McCrone, (2008).

Until the Controlled Substance Act was passed by Congress in 1970, drug abuse legislation was at odds to keep pace with the endless variety of natural substances and preparations, synthetic derivatives and "improvements" on the natural that were adopted by different subcultures in the search for a new high or an intensified religious experience (Casey, 1978).

American culture also encourages and supports drug use and abuse in the following ways:•Permissive parental attitudes towards use•Parental drug abuse•Psychological characteristics: low self esteem, high anxiety, depression, eating disorders•Stress•Perceived norm of peer acceptance of drug abuse•Expectations that drugs reduce stress•Expectations that drugs increase social...