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World Association of International Studies

Post Drug Use Then and Now
Created by John Eipper on 09/21/13 3:12 PM

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Drug Use Then and Now (Massoud Malek, USA, 09/21/13 3:12 pm)

In June 2010, the UN released a report, based on a survey on drug use in Afghanistan. The survey showed that around one million Afghans (age 15-64) suffer from drug addiction. One of the reasons cited is limited access to prescription drugs. According to BBC, Afghanistan produces 90% of all opiate drugs in the world, but until recently was not a major consumer. Women and children account for 40% of the country's drug addicts. Some of these children started using heroin ten years ago at the age of eight. The entire annual budget for treating the country's one million drug addicts is just $2.2 million, a little over $2 per addict, per year.

In 2010 there were an estimated 22.6 million Americans over the age of 12 that were current or former illicit drug users. This equates to about 8.9 percent of the population aged 12 or older. The growth of the prison population continues to be driven largely by incarceration for drug offenses. Until 1924, most drugs, including heroin, were legal. In 1800 and early 1900, drugs were used for their medicinal uses. Babies as young as five days old were given alcohol and opium.

When the Spanish arrived in South America, most at first ignored aboriginal claims that the coca leaf gave them strength and energy, and declared the practice of chewing it the work of the Devil. But after discovering that these claims were true, they legalized and taxed the leaf, taking 10% off the value of each crop. Until the prohibition of cocaine, stage actors, singers, teachers and preachers used cocaine tablets to smooth their voice and increase their performance. Cocaine drops for toothache was very popular with children.

French wine coca is a combination of cocaine, alcohol, and French wine. One popular brand was Vin Mariani, developed in 1863 by Corsican entrepreneur Angelo Mariani. Coca wine was created by the druggist John Pemberton, the inventor of Coca-Cola. It was marketed mostly to upper class intellectuals. In an 1885 interview with the Atlanta Journal, Pemberton claimed the drink would benefit "scientists, scholars, poets, divines, lawyers, physicians, and others devoted to extreme mental exertion." The wine became very popular and there were a huge variety of wines with cocaine on the market; they competed with champagne for seducing women. The wine would also work as a medicinal treatment. Maltine coca wine was produced in New York; it was suggested that adults should take a full glass with or after meal. Children should only take half a glass.

Pope Leo XIII, the oldest pope, who reigned until the age of 93, is considered to be the most intelligent pope. As soon as he was elected to the papacy, Leo XIII worked to encourage understanding between the Church and the modern world. Pope Leo XIII used to carry one bottle of Mariani wine with him all the time. He awarded Angelo Mariani with a Vatican gold medal.

In quest of a non-addictive alternative to morphine, Alder Wright was able to synthesize heroin, in 1874. When used in medicine, it is typically used to treat severe pain, such as that resulting from a heart attack or a severe injury. From the time of its discovery, heroin was sold as a non-addictive substitute for morphine. It was used for many things, such as cough drops and as a painkiller for menstrual cramps and migraines; and it was also used to cure addiction to morphine. In 1924, the United States Congress banned its sale, importation, or manufacture. Codeine, an opiate, replaced heroin in cough syrup. Codeine and morphine as well as opium were used for control of diabetes until relatively recently.

Archeological digs in Switzerland have found opium poppy seeds and pods, dating from the New Stone Age, a period running from 5500 BC to 8000 BC. This makes opium the oldest known drug. Opium was first introduced to China by Turkish and Arab traders in the late 6th or early 7th century. Opium plays an important role in the Middle Eastern traditional medicine. For example, opium was considered as a cure or asthma, shortness of breath, and diabetes. Today many mothers in Afghanistan and some parts of Iran, who can't afford prescription drugs give opium instead of ibuprofen to their newborn babies. In the 19th century, a company in Kalamazoo, Michigan, sold a mixture of 45% alcohol and opium to cure asthma. Stickney and Poor's Pure Paregoric syrup had forty-six percent alcohol, one and three-sixteenth "grains of opium per ounce," and contained a dosage chart as follows: Five day olds: 5 drops; two week olds: 8 drops; five years old: 25 drops; and adult: one teaspoon. Those drops gave a good night sleep to everyone in the family.

Opium helped Elizabeth Barrett Browning to become one of the most prominent poets of the Victorian era. Thomas Jefferson planted white opium poppies at Monticello for medicinal purposes. Opium poppies grew in the garden until the early 1990s, when they were removed by the Drug Enforcement Administration, after a drug bust at the University of Virginia. One of the side effects of the use of any type of opiate by men is erectile dysfunction. A great number of prostitutes in Iran and Afghanistan are married to addicted men. Coca wine made Leo III, the most intelligent pope. Could we say that the inventor of Coke, showed us the path to greatness?






JE comments:  This one's worth three images.  Bayer Heroin, anyone?  I wonder if CVS makes a cheaper generic version:



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  • Failure of the War on Drugs (Luciano Dondero, Italy 09/25/13 2:46 AM)
    To add to Massoud Malek's historical note of 21 September, in 2011 it was reported that:

    "Global war on drugs 'has failed,' say former leaders" (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-13624303 ).

    This war is costing all of us a fortune. It fosters all sorts of Mafias and criminal organizations, and has many more and severely pernicious "side-effects," e.g., "The Negative Impact of the War on Drugs on Public Health: The Hidden Hepatitis C Epidemic"

    (http://www.globalcommissionondrugs.org/reports/ ).

    See also: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_on_Drugs

    It seems that no lesson has been drawn from the farce of Prohibition.

    JE comments: There is near-universal agreement among WAISers that the War on Drugs is lost. Recall WAISer emeritus Tim Brown's insightful appeals for legalization. In the US, there is a gradual acknowledgement that the no-holds-barred war is over: consider the legalization of marihuana in Colorado and Washington, the adoption of lax "medical marihuana" laws in many states (including Michigan), and the reduction of mandatory sentencing for drug offenses. In my state, a phone call is usually all that's required to procure a marihuana license: "Doctor, I suffer from occasional migraines."

    In two weeks, WAISers will have the chance to visit Adrian's newest thriving business: the "Head Shed."  The name of that establishment is self-explanatory.

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