Substance Abuse and Addiciton: A Very Brief History

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Substance abuse can include any substance or substances such as alcohol, illegal drugs, prescription drugs, over the counter drugs, cigarettes etc. Any and all of these can become addictive to people very quickly. For years, people believed that addiction was a willful vice that they do to themselves. For years is has been viewed as an individual problem instead of a social problem. Americans today have many different views than 100 years ago about addiction, alcohol and drugs. In the early days of the 19th century, it was only a dream that a drug could save a life. Today drugs are used for specific treatments of specific diseases. However, they are also a multi billion-dollar business both legal and illegal that is not only saving millions of lives but also destroying millions of lives. The first revolution of substances in the early 19th century brought diseases under control with the use of vaccines. These substances/vaccines helped convince the public that medicine was capable of producing drugs with powerful and selective benefits. The second pharmacological revolution resulted from the introduction of sulfa drugs, penicillin and others. First effective during World War II, they were used as treatments for injuries and infections. The third pharmacological revolution was the development of psychopharmacology that began in the 1950’s. This period saw the introduction of antipsychotic drugs for the treatment of major psychotic disorders. These drugs freed thousands of patients from long-term hospitalization. It helped restructure our approach to mental illnesses on several levels. Because of these advances in psychopharmacology, we came to except the notion that drugs can have powerful effects on our emotions and ... ... middle of paper ... ...ve Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Prevention Treatment and Rehabilitation Act, the hearings and subsequent events related to alcoholism and addiction were not given much thought. “Hughes Act” named for Harold Hughes who got press attention because the press was much more interested in the Vietnam War. Legislation established the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), which gives grants based on population to states for the treatment and prevention of alcoholism. Provides grants to public and private non –profit agencies to conduct demonstration projects, provide education for training of the treatment of alcoholism. During this period, the “concept” of house or therapeutic community began to evolve. Programs like Synnanon in California and Daytop Village in New York started for drug addicts. Statistics for alcohol consumption in Massachusetts

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