Drugs have been around for thousands of years and were not always deemed to be illegal, illicit or bad. They have been used in religious ceremonies, medical situations, and for social events. Anything from alcohol to certain plants to highly effective drugs, whatever a person wanted or desired (or required) has been around for centuries.
We have long heard the term medical marijuana, but did you know that it dates back to just such a use as over 2700 years B.C.? For years physicians were also able to prescribe many of the drugs they did freely until regulations dictated all drugs were not safe for all people all the time.
Tobacco was an industry that supported many people and the dangers of actually smoking were never even whispered at until the surgeon general came along. Alcoholic beverages were spirits that did just that, lifted one’s own spirits in celebration or after a rough week of work on a ranch, or cattle drive, or with crops.
One interesting difference regarding the history of drugs is how veterans of earlier wars at the beginning and early 20th century were given strong drugs to take on their own. Many came back wounded from war and with an addiction to boot. Nowadays, it takes practically an act of Congress before a veteran can be treated fairly medically in some situations.
Think about the then and now with these drugs: opium: good for celebrating according to the Sumarians back 5000 B.C. Now an illicit drug used only in certain prescriptions. Alcohol: as far back as 3500 B.C. there is record of a brewery in Egypt; then we went through prohibition and now it is legal only at certain ages and under certain conditions such as in the U.S. 21 and not to be bought after certain hours. It is also said that tobacco was introduced to Columbus by the first Native Americans he came across and he took it back to Europe.
It may be hard to pinpoint the exact date of a particular drug but the era is fairly accurate. What we have now is the ability to understand the dangers of drugs and alcohol in society. Some may believe this is not a good thing and that we exaggerate the dangers because “it was good enough in the old days”. However, we really can not say that as we do not know how many deaths were really the direct or indirect result of drug and alcohol use. The history is there; the accuracy is still a matter of discussion.