Legal Substances and Drug Abuse
In the history of the US, drug abuse and drugs have a long history, with some being accepted legally during the old First World War days. These drugs are used in different ways from simple medication to treat illnesses and diseases as well as suppress other conditions that are life-style induced. A drug is described as any other substance apart from food that by its very chemical nature affects the functioning and structure of living organisms (Isralowitz and Myers, 2011. During those times, legal drugs included marijuana, cocaine and heroin.
Drug abuse is greatly fueled by one of the most illicit and large business across several states, with some of the areas being uncontrollable as a result of the influence it has had on different corners of the society. Till the 1870’s, there were drugs considered as legal which were used in varying areas of medication. One such drug was heroine. It was a drug synthesized from morphine and was mainly viewed as non-addictive. At that time, heroine was legal, sold and manufactured by a pharmaceutical company known as Bayer. It was also consumed by a larger society as the treatment for sore and cough reliever, and in individuals suffering from personality disorder, it was used for purposes of increasing personality (Stephens, 1991). Apart from the use of heroin in those days, cocaine as well was widely used because of its medicinal effects of alleviating depression induced ailments. It was also used for purposes of treating alcoholism and often obtained over the counter.
Also, cocaine was another drug that was administered in 1880s as an eye anesthetic and as a throat and nose reliever, apart from which it was abused widely by sports people in the sports industry because of the ability to increase the levels of energy.
During the 1890’s, cocaine was used in beverage drinks such as Coca Cola which, at that period was consumed widely. Also, it was used by the wider American society because of the miraculous effect of its natural capabilities to cure depression and sexual impotence. Its abuse was spread to the entertainment industry as well with Hollywood stars and models using it to enhance their stage performance (“History of Cocaine,” n.d), and it was widely used and readily available. It was peddled in small forms which are known as mules by cocaine cowboys who were from Florida and Miami.
Other drugs such as marijuana as well were legal in the 1880’s. According to US Drug Enforcement Agency, marijuana was supposed to be used for medicinal purposes. It was used as an oriental drug for treatment of illness in adults and children, treating different conditions like epilepsy and stroke because of its active ingredients such as cannabinoids which had medicinal value. Majorly, the drug was obtained from large, small private and forestlands where it was grown. Marijuana, till 1935 was legal in the states of Oregon until there was enforcement of Uniform state narcotic drug. The state of Oregon was the largest indoor marijuana growing states, where the drug was circulated to other regions of the country and where it originated from. The legal drug was supposed to be used for purposes of research and medicine. It was freely sold, either by retailers or manufacturers. Marijuana was also freely grown as it was legally used because of its medicinal benefits.
In current days, an estimated 6 percent of American households aged 12 and above have used illegal drugs with marijuana and cocaine being the most used drugs. Many believe drug abuse is the result of societal pressure, with everyone having knowledge of someone who has used drugs. Some of the illegal substances abused in the US include marijuana, cocaine and heroin, with these, according to researchers said to have close relationship and in some instances, their use reported in places such as St. Louis, Detroit, New York and certain parts of Chicago (Isralowitz, 2002).
Majority of the users are teenagers reported to have gotten used to the act as a result of orgiastic pleasure the drugs have (Schneider, 2008). They had accessed information concerning this from users who were experienced and slightly older than them. Heroin was introduced as a cough suppressant (Taylor & Francis, 1998 and used widely by the Americans. It was abused mostly through injection, depending on its levels of purity while at the same time, it got administered through snorting and smoking. In 2010, Chicago recorded the highest number of admissions that were relate to heroine and mostly among African Americans, with New York being the second closet city (“Heroine Use in Chicago”, 2012 and a large percentage of this was in metropolitan areas.
In other instances, the use of marijuana suddenly rose up as a result of the state of close association with heroin. It is one of the drugs that is illegal used often times in the US (“Marijuana Abuse,” n.d). It is comprised of flowers, seeds of cannabis Sativa plant and flowers. The drug is often used because of its mind-altering ingredient which results to a state of euphoria or being high. Also, it is widely consumed when crushed and dry, then it is smoked by drug addicts. Regardless of the fact marijuana is illegal, medical marijuana, from a view point of medicine, is legal in most states throughout the US, though by federal law, it is still prohibited. There are also indications that federal law will permit use of marijuana within the medical field, while a large percentage of it is accessed through drug peddlers found on the streets.
Another drug widely abused is cocaine, with a large percentage of the cases reported in Central and North America. First, it was established to be quite common among Negroes, whom others stated were immune to bullets. Majority of the African Americans used cocaine as the alternative to alcohol, the so-named black whiskey, as a result of laws that were set to prevent blacks from consumption of whiskey; as such, most preferred as the alternative.
Research conducted from studies indicate illegal drug trade is worth billions of dollars with very close estimates placed at 750 billion. The illegal lucrative market is under watch by drug lords with money that is able to compromise the justice system. There are varying entry routes of drugs with some known to be originating from Mexico into Canada and America. Marijuana is also known to have the largest percentage of users since it is cheaper than heroin and cocaine. The economy of illegal drug in the US is much deeply rooted and bigger within societal fabric. The younger generation is introduced to the vice and it is becoming relatively difficult to control because of early addiction. Drugs, on the other hand, initiate crime, with this being the major cause for the menace. The economy as well is widespread past international borders, and as such, becoming a hindrance in the criminal justice system.
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