Historical Analysis of Drugs and Drug Use in America
Growing up in the era of 1950-2000, drug abuse was something I became familiar with. It was something I had seen a lot within my family history. It also became what I had watched destroy my family because of the side effects it had on my parents. It created a gap in family relationships because of the way they were to the people around them that loved them dearly. Therefore, I will analyze a drug that was not only used during the time frame of 1950-2000 but the abuse that became of the drug of choice as well.
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MDMA became a very popular drug used and abused during the time frame of 1950-2000. What is MDMA? According to (Montvilo, 2017) it is considered a controlled substance which was not only smuggled but produced illegally underground. It has several different nicknames which includes the well-known name of ecstasy, love drug, or molly. The original purpose of it was to be an anticoagulant when it was synthesized in Germany in 1914. However, once World War I, took place it had been used as an appetite suppressant.
According to (Montvilo, 2017) MDMA was explored in efforts to use it as a psychotherapy treatment in the 1970’s. This included therapist using it with their patients as a way to discover their feelings for each other as well as promote trust between the two, according to (Abadinsky, 2018). On the other hand, MDMA also had the ability to act as a psychoactive stimulant. It was like an energy drink for people where they were given more stamina once they took the pill. Because of that effect on people, it was very popular in the club scene.
Even though MDMA was used as a way to treat patients in a psychotherapy setting, there was something that stood out about it. According to (Abadinsky, 2018) based on the use of MDMA it was popular for people in the professional setting as mentioned but Caucasians. However, as the usage of MDMA continued to grow, it spread into other minorities and the one that stood out the most among all the different ones was African American.
Even though MDMA comes in the form of a pill, there are other ways it can be taken rather than orally. The other ways that it can be taken besides the most common way includes using in the form of powder so that it can be snorted or smoked as well as injected, according to (Abadinsky, 2018)
The short-term effects of MDMA bring more symptoms compared to the aftermath, which include feelings of desire, the heightening of mood as well as insight, according to (Montvilo, 2017) The negative side of the short-term effects can create problems in a person’s thinking, distress, the heart rate to increase or even start sweating. On the other hand, the aftermath can lead to permanent effects if used for long term which would be the serotonin levels staying low in the brain, according to (Montvilo, 2017). Could this be what causes the other aftermath effects of depression, restlessness, or trouble sleeping?
There is some risky behavior that people have participated in when using MDMA which can cause the worst effects as a result and that is when one decides to continue taking a pill once the side effects begin to wear off, according to (Montvilo, 2017) The effects that can happen when this is done will increase blood pressure at a dangerous level, increase one’s temperature, or heart rate increasing to the point of what is called cardiac arrhythmias which could end up the cause of one’s death. On the other hand, there are withdrawal symptoms that come from heavy users of MDMA, according to (Abadinsky, 2018) as well as tolerance. For instance, a person who takes MDMA regularly may find themselves having to take increasingly more in order to feel the side effects whenever they are on the drug rather than just one pill in comparison of the first time.
“MDMA’s history as an underground drug began most probably in the 1960s in the U.S.” (Passie & Benzenhofer, 2016) What is considered an underground drug? An underground drug would be considered any drug whether through a prescription from the doctor or any other illegal substance that is sold under the table. For example, if I had a prescription for MDMA from a doctor in psychiatry and decided to sell it to someone for their own recreational use that would classify it as an underground drug.
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MDMA was an underground drug that didn’t start being noticed until about ten years later, which would have been in the 1970’s. It was also after that point that it became increasing distinguished in the streets, according to (Passie & Benzenhofer, 2016). In fact, it was August of 1970 when MDMA was first seized by law enforcement officials. According to (Passie & Benzenhofer, 2016), it was Chicago Police Department that had taken the first sample of MDMA. From that point on, it began to become a more common occurrence. The most significant occurrence with this issue in the streets was when over 890 grams of MDMA was taken by the DEA in a lab in the state of Tennessee in April of 1973. It even started making an appearance in Canada three years later. In fact, there was a tremendous amount confiscated from a lab there.
In conclusion, the attempts to use in a psychotherapy setting wasn’t enough to prevent the modifications done to the drug and the underground promotion. It not only lead to recreational usage, but drug abuse as well. Therefore, there were no benefits of the usage of MDMA which resulted in the banning of MDMA in 1985 here in the U.S, according to (Passie & Benzenhofer, 2016). As a result, this is when MDMA became classified as a controlled substance.
Controlled substance is a way for the government to attempt control of the usage of MDMA. MDMA being deemed a controlled substance was a way to make people go through stricter guidelines in order to access MDMA. The reason for doing so is because it was a prescription drug that not only lead to being made in laboratories in excessive amounts, but it went beyond drug abuse to the point it was being excessively used here in the U.S.
Even though MDMA has been banned here in the U.S over 34 years ago for not having benefits in the healthcare setting, it appears to be making a comeback. For some reason it is still peaking some peoples interest in having potential benefits somehow, regardless of its excessive recreational use here in the U.S. Once pure forms of MDMA was approved by the FDA scientists have experimented with it in clinical trials to see if there are more benefits than the side effects for war veterans who suffer PTSD, according to (Montvilo, 2017). It was even approved by the DEA to perform trials using MDMA to treat anxiety in anyone who was terminally ill in 2015. Two years later there was a trial used to treat alcohol using MDMA which ended up being approved. However, the approval took place in another country which was Great Britain.
MDMA was a drug that was made through pharmaceutical which led to being tampered with by man in order to satisfy their own recreational use. As a result, it became used beyond the point of drug abuse and lead to compulsive use all over the US. There were no benefits found with it during the time frame of 1970 when it was becoming popular until the time it was banned in 1985. However, it has become beneficial in Great Britain in recent years. Does this mean that MDMA could potentially make a comeback here in the U.S here in the near future?
- Abadinsky, H (2018). Drug Use and Abuse: A Comprehensive Introduction, 9th Edition. [Purdue University Global Bookshelf]. Retrieved from https://purdueuniversityglobal.vitalsource.com/#/books/undefined/
- Montvilo, R. K., PhD. (2017). MDMA. Salem Press Encyclopedia of Health. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com.libauth.purdueglobal.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ers&AN=94415458&site=eds-live
- Passie, T., & Benzenhöfer, U. (2016). The History of MDMA as an Underground Drug in the United States, 1960-1979. Journal Of Psychoactive Drugs, 48(2), 67–75. https://doi.org/10.1080/02791072.2015.1128580
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