History of Drugs of Abuse

Today’s major drugs of abuse and alcohol have a vast history. They have been used for thousands of years for different purposes mainly in medicine. Alcoholic beverages have been fermented from different kinds of plants and fruits earlier. Some references to the use of alcohol in medication can be found in ancient Sumerian clay tablets. Alcohol use is said to be very little before the arrival of whites in North America. During the colonial times, alcoholic beverages were introduced in larger quantities.

The Sumerians cultivated the opium poppy, and named it “hul gil” meant the plant of joy. It was used to relieve pain and diarrhea as it has some medicinal properties. Opium was detected among early Chinese immigrants in America and later heroin too was introduced to urban minority groups.

Marijuana is said to have a history of more than 4000 years, which was first found in China and India. Earlier marijuana was used as a fiber; more than 10,000 years back in China, it was used to make clothes. Prior to the US civil war, it was the second largest crop after cotton to be grown in the South. Americans learnt smoking marijuana for its psychoactive properties from Mexican laborers after the First World War.

Most of the world’s psychoactive plants originated from America such as cocaine and tobacco. Cocaine was produced in the Andes of South America and is a major drug of abuse for the past few decades in the United States. Christopher Columbus discovered that many people of the Caribbean use tobacco to treat a number of ailments.

Earlier these drugs were used in medical applications to restore ones health. But today, using these drugs need medication as they are highly addictive and destroy people’s lives.

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