Whether its caffeine, nicotine, or marijuana, or cocaine drugs of choice have defined our history, bringing tragic results for the most part. The problems we see today existed in other forms and with other drugs throughout our history. The reasons for using drugs have also remained constant: to ease pain, alleviate boredom, or to expand our consciousness. Patterns of American drug use and abuse thru out history outlined the cultural, social, and political movements that impacted, or were impacted by, the use of drugs. Unquestionably our nation has had a long relationship with drugs. They bred life into the colonial economy. “Alcohol was a good creature of God. Tobacco was the enchanted herb. And cocaine, it was the miracle drug the 19th century” (Altered States: History of Drug Use In America). Drugs have been a part of America 's history from the beginning. We have benefited from their use, but have never come to terms with their abuse.
Today, nicotine is the most addictive substance known to man. Nicotine is short acting, and you can smoke it. Nine out of every ten people who try cigarettes develop a dependence problem. It was America 's gift to the world. When 16th century explorers landed here, they encountered Native Americans smoking tobacco. “When the explorers returned to their homelands, they took their new addiction with them” (Altered States: History of Drug Use In America,  Copyrite 1993).
Alcohol is mainly a pleasure product in our modern society, but it was a necessity in colonial America. Water was very questionable because it was associated with diseases, and often it wasn 't clean, nor did it taste good. Alcohol was an import from arriving settlers. “The puritans called liquid ...
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...e colonial settled here, to today. Throughout history many have tried to alleviate the misuse of alcohol and other mind altering substances. The attempts have not been very successful. Today there is now more help available to a person that is in addiction, however drugs and alcohol still have a huge control in society. It is interesting that the two most hazardous drugs in America are legal. “The annual death toll for all illicit drugs is around 4,600, but approximately 18,000 people died last year as a result of drunk driving. Smoking claims over 400,000” (Altered States: History of Drug Use In America,  Copyrite 1993). This has been our nation 's longest war. Its successes and failures are recorded in history. What has been done right can serve as a guideline. The mistakes are there to learn from. Or, as the saying goes, “be condemned to repeat.”
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