The American war on drugs has been occurring for almost a century with four presidents personally in command of the operation. Unfortunately, drugs are still being circulated, and drug addicts run rampant. The drug market diminishes the standard morals and ethics of a society with the beneficiaries being crime syndicates and drug dealers. Even with billions of dollars spent to destroy the influx of drugs, the government continues to make little progress. Perhaps the spending should shift from law enforcement and penalization to prevention, education, and treatment. .
Drugs first appeared in the United States in the 1800's; opium being popular after the American civil war. Cocaine proceeded in the 1880's, and morphine was discovered in 1906 solely for medicinal use. Morphine was primarily prescribed by doctors as a pain reliever, and Heroin treated respiratory illness. The world was oblivious to the severity of psychotropic drug addiction until the 19th century when the abuse of opium and cocaine reached epidemic proportions. Eventually, Opium lairs and importation were prohibited by local government officials. The pure food and drug act was passed in 1906 which required all physicians to label their medicines. Drugs were no longer seen as just methods of healing. .
The Harrison Narcotics Act was the first federal drug policy passed in 1914.1 The act restricted the manufacture and sale of cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and morphine. To ensure maximum compliance, the act was aggressively enforced. Physicians who provided addicts with drugs were severely punished; over 5,000 physicians fined or jailed between 1915 and 1938. In 1919, the "maintenance" of addicts was not viewed as a legitimate form of treatment and was ultimately ruled against by the Supreme Court (Webb et al. v. United States). The first American drug policy targeted pharmacists and physicians.
The treasury department created the federal bureau of narcotics in 1930 and appointed Harry J.