For nearly 85 years, the government has prohibited pscychoactive drugs. American leaders attempted to do the same to alcohol with Prohibition in the 1920?s. In any society, drug use plays a part in the people?s culture. Whether it be a native taking hallucinogens for a religious ceremony, a destitute alcoholic drinking on a city street, or a group of teenagers smoking marijuana, drugs and alcohol have the same effects in any culture. The question of ?why do people use drugs? has been a dilemma which American medical experts and government leaders have fought to answer for years. Recently, many institutions and organizations have formed in order to fight the war on drugs and help diminish the percent of Americans who use dangerous drugs and excessive amounts of alcohol.
Drugs and alcohol have been part of cultural recreation for thousands of years. Ancient China and India used marijuan thousands of years ago, and Herodotus wrote in the fifth century B.C. of the Scythians? ?burning marijuana on hot rocks and producing a vapor that made them shout out loud?(Duke and Gross 44). Over 7,000 years ago, Peruvian legend attests that llamas which lacked sources of food ate the leafs of the coca plant. The result was increased energy, which led the Peruvians to eat the plant for the same reason (Duke and Gross 66). It is also a well-known fact that ancient tribes still use psychoactive drugs and drink homemade alcohol to enhance religious ceremonies. All of these examples point out that drugs have been around a long, long time, and no solution can possibly wipe out drug use totally.
Before being capable of fighting the use of drugs and alchol, one must come to an understanding of why some people use drugs. The decision to ultimately use drugs is influenced mainly in childhood. Whether in a poor ?ghetto? neighborhood, or in a middle-class suburb, all children are vulnerable to the abuse of drugs. Most high-risk children are effected by personal and family circumstances (Falco 51). If a child?s parents are substance abusers, then it is a fairly safe prediction that the child will abuse drugs later in life. Also, early-life experiments with drugs greatly increases the chance of abuse later in life. Academic problems, and rebellious, anti-social behavior in elementary school are also linked to drug problems, in addition to truancy, delinquency, and ear...
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...n their goals rather than wasting their lives away by using drugs.
In conclusion, drug and alcohol abuse and misuse is a major part of American society. The battle to reduce the rampant use of drugs and alcohol is being fought everyday by America?s schools, families, and politicians. Their goal is simply stated but perhaps impossible to accomplish: to create a ?drug free? society(Duke and Gross 200).However, with the increased help of psychologists, sociologists, and medical officials, perhaps Americans will finally learn the evils which arise from the abuse of drugs and alcohol. Lives are ruined, dreams are shattered, and society loses many important people to alcoholism and drug abuse. Maybe if we are smart it will all stop.
Duke, Steven B. and Gross, Albert. America?s Longest War: Rethinking our
Tragic Crusade Against Drugs. G.P. Putnam?s Sons, New York. 1993.
Falco, Mathea. The Making of a Drug-Free America. Times Books. New York.
Snyder, Solomon H. , editor. The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Drugs: Alcohol
and Alcoholism. Chelsea House Publishers. New York. 1986.
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