History / Definition
Drugs have a long and notorious history for altering minds. Drugs are used as a way of escaping reality and disappearing into another world.
In this speech, I will assist you in understanding the history and definitions of various drugs. My proposed findings are based upon information I have gathered from a variety of what I believed to be reputable and credible sources.
Therefore, according to Professor Blum, from the University of Chicago the original home of cannabis is thought to be Central Asia, but has spread around the globe with the exception of the Arctic regions and areas of wet tropical forests.
Early in its history—the Chinese undoubtedly used it as a hallucinogen. 1500 years later when they had their first contact with Europeans the drug had fallen into decline. However, its value had become a primary source of fiber and there is record of hemp cultivation dating back to Neolithic times.
The United States declared marijuana as an illegal drug in 1937. It has been a source of great controversy ever since.
Another popular drug widely used in the United States is cocaine. Cocaine is extracted from the leaves of a plant called E-Coca. E-Coca, a bushy shrub native to South American countries at high altitudes. Cocaine is the primary alkaloid in these leaves. In addition, Sigmund Freud, the famous psychoanalyst, used cocaine to treat many of his patients, later he himself became an addict. Cocaine was found to have a numbing effect, therefore it was introduced as an anesthetic by Carl Koller. Cocaine use fell off for various reasons, before it reemerged in the late 1970s. Though touted as the “perfect drug,” it has ruined many lives.
Next, lysergic acid diethylamide, commonly known as (LSD) was created in 1943 by Albert Hofmann. This drug gained huge popularity in the 1960s. Hofmann’s description of his experience while testing the drug was a pleasant intoxication-like feeling that extremely stimulated his imagination. His experience of uninterrupted stream of pictures, extraordinary shapes with kaleidoscopic play of colors lasted about six hours. Later, LSD was extensively studied by the military in the 1950s and finally outlawed in 1967.
Other common drugs that are different in name but similar in origin are opium and heroin. Opium is thought to be 6000 years old, where heroin was created in 1874 and was originally marketed as a safe, non-addicted substitute for morphine. However, it was quickly noted that heroin also produce dependency very quickly in some individuals. Because of that, heroin and opiates were made illegal in 1920 with the dangerous drugs act.
Phencyclidine commonly known as (PCP) was developed in 1926 as a surgical anesthetic. Its developers hoped it would prove safe and effective, but early researchers decided it is not much of neither and it sat on a shelf until 1957. This drug is currently illegal in the United States as well.
Lastly, there is the drug labeled amphetamine. Amphetamines are divided into three basic groups—methamphetamine, dexamphetamines, and Benzedrine. These drugs are commonly known as speed, meth, crank, crystal, and ice.
In 1887, they were synthesized in Germany—in search of curing disease. In the late 1920s, the drug was seriously investigated as a cure and treatment against nearly everything from depression to decongestion. Today these drugs are generally used to treat narcolepsy and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder also known as (ADHD).
In closing of my speech, I would like to quote Dr. Alfred Burger from the New England Journal of Medicine by stating, “Drugs are chemical compounds that modify the way the body and mind work. Additionally, the word drug has acquired bad connotations in recent years due to the fact that society takes something good and turns into something bad, this has ultimately become a serious sociological problem.”
Annas, George, J. “Reefer Madness—The Federal Response to California’s Medical Marijuana Law.” The New England Journal of Medicine Vol. 337, No. 6. Aug1997. “Legal Issues in Medicine.” 4 Mar 2000
Blum, Jeffrey. “Re: United States Vs. Anderson, CR-89-210E.” 4 Mar 2000
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