The Brief and Poorly Known History of Some of the Most Commonly Used Drugs
February 16th, 2015
Drugs and drug abuse are issues of our contemporary society everyone has heard about at least once in their lifetime. However, what may surprise you is that most of the drugs that are commonly used out there began as actual medicine. Later on, when specialists discovered their highly addictive properties, as well as the after-effects that come with this, authorities decided to ban them from legal use. Here are some things you may now have known about some of the most popular (and dangerous) drugs out there:
- Meth has a long history that begins at the end of the 19th century when amphetamine was first produced in Germany. Later on, in 1919, the Japanese started producing methamphetamine, which became popular during the World War II (Kamikaze pilots, for example, were injected with meth before their missions).
After the World War II, its use became even more frequent and in the 1950s, meth was widely used as a helper in diet and as an antidepressant as well. In the 1960s, the issues regarding meth started to be revealed as more and more people were gaining access to it, which led to its ban in the in the 1970s in most of the countries out there.
- Cocaine has an even longer history that goes as far back as ancient Incas. Before the arrival of the Spanish, Native Americans in South America did not use coca leaves but for spiritual purposes but when they were enslaved, they started to be given with these leaves to become easier to control. Later on, cocaine was isolated in the mid-1800s and it started to be widely used. Sigmund Freud, for example, used it and recommended it to everyone for general use. The U.S. passed a law banning cocaine as illegal when not for medicinal purposes in 1914 and it was not until the 1970s that this drug was made completely illegal.
- Heroin is also connected to an ancient drug – opium and it has two other ancestors as well – morphine and codeine. It was not until the mid-1870s that heroin itself was isolated and it started to be commercially available only starting with 1898 when a German company began to sell it. Heroin was legal for quite a long time there until people realized that it is extremely dangerous and authorities started to ban it.