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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 135653 Find in a Library
Title: Evolution of American Attitudes Toward Substance Abuse
Journal: Annals of the New York Academy of Science  Volume:562  Dated:(June 1989)  Pages:3-7
Author(s): D F Musto
Date Published: 1989
Page Count: 5
Type: Historical Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: American attitudes toward cocaine use have changed over the past few decades from a high degree of support for decriminalization to a recognition of the dangers of cocaine use. This change in attitude toward cocaine may be a paradigm of the American response to other powerful chemicals including opium, morphine, cannabis, and alcohol.
Abstract: In the mid-1880's, the availability of purified cocaine produced in commercial quantities resulted in widespread acceptance of its use, even within the medical community. Cocaine was used as a remedy for hay fever and was an active ingredient in Coca Cola. By the early 1900's, however, there was a radical transformation in public opinion regarding cocaine and in 1914, passage of the Harrison Act severely restricted the availability of cocaine without a doctor's prescription. This change in attitude toward cocaine parallels the similar change experienced in the past 15 years. Alcohol is another substance about which the U.S. has witnessed recurrent waves of use and alterations of attitude from positive to negative. Antidrug campaigns arose when enough people realized that consumption of the drug did not match the claims for it. The author maintains that the U.S. is entering a new temperance era, resulting from a growing awareness of the dangers of alcohol use, particularly the effects of drunk driving. 24 references
Main Term(s): Alcohol abuse; Cocaine
Index Term(s): Decriminalization; Public Attitudes/Opinion
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