skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 165820 Find in a Library
Title: Opium, Cocaine and Marijuana in American History (From Drugs, Crime, and Justice: Contemporary Perspectives, P 21-33, 1997, Larry K Gaines and Peter B Kraska, eds. -- See NCJ-165819)
Author(s): D F Musto
Date Published: 1997
Page Count: 13
Sponsoring Agency: Waveland Press, Inc.
Long Grove, IL 60047
Sale Source: Waveland Press, Inc.
4180 IL Route 83
Suite 101
Long Grove, IL 60047
United States of America
Type: Historical Overview
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The use of opium, cocaine, and marijuana is examined from a historical perspective, and the author believes America's recurrent enthusiasm for recreational drugs and subsequent campaigns for abstinence present a problem to both policymakers and the general public.
Abstract: Until the 19th century, drugs were used in their natural form. For example, cocaine and morphine were available only in coca leaves or poppy plants that were chewed, dissolved in alcoholic beverages, or taken in some way that diluted the impact of the active agent. The advent of organic chemistry in the 1800's changed available forms of these drugs. By the 1850's, the hypodermic syringe was perfected and the pharmaceutical industry grew significantly. Americans, however, recognized potential dangers in continuous opium use long before the availability of morphine and the hypodermic syringe. Late in the 1800's, some States and localities enacted laws requiring a prescription for morphine. At the same time, health professionals developed more specific treatments for painful diseases, found less dangerous analgesics, and began to appreciate the addictive power of the hypodermic syringe. In the early 1900's, an international conference was convened and an agreement to restrict opium and coca production was reached. During the 1920's and 1930's, the opiate problem declined while international drug control efforts continued. Cocaine was identified as a serious problem in the early 1900's. Although marijuana was used in the 1930's, it did not become a widespread problem until the 1960's. Factors associated with variations in drug consumption over different historical time periods are examined, as well as public attitudes toward the drug problem and drug law enforcement. 6 references
Main Term(s): Drug abuse
Index Term(s): Cocaine; Drug law enforcement; Drug regulation; Marijuana; Opioids
Note: DCC
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.