Just Curious

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Crayola13, Jan 9, 2020.

  1. Crayola13

    Crayola13 Active Member

    I'm curious as to everyone else's opinion on why drug use has gotten so bad in the past few decades. Pot, heroin, peragoric, crystal meth, and LSD were all legal back in the old days. Codeine and laudunim were over the counter when our great grandparents lived. But, there weren't high rates of drug addiction back then. I'm trying to figure out why. Maybe it's because many people lived on farms back then and couldn't get to an area where they could have purchased drugs. I think it's also because people were tougher back in the old days and knew how to suffer. People knew that pain and hardship were part of life and they handled it well. I also think it could be due to the incease in mental illness.
  2. HMBgal

    HMBgal Active Member

    I wish I knew. I raised two daughters. One is a drug addict, one is not. They are close in age and raised in the same way. They even worked at the same place, which is the place my where my older daughter discovered the joys of smoking crystal meth. And 20 years later, she still can't kick it. She did okay when she was married and having her two babies. That lasted a whole six years. But she divorced, got back on drugs, and now I'm raising her two kids and she's basically living in her car. Now I'm looking at her two kids and wondering if one of them will start using. The one with the emotional behavioral issues with ADHD would be my first guess, but you just never know.
  3. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    I would think that things are probably only slightly worse today.

    I think family cohesiveness , better friendships...more effort at social kindness might of helped a little. We are social creatures.

    Maybe people who abused drugs died quick back then. Or it was hidden. Maybe not immediately recognized.

    I do suspect it’s always been there.

    Addiction is such a sad and tragic thing.

    Although I agree, it’s worse today than ever...I’m not sure how much worse.
  4. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I think drug use is less hidden than it was back in the day, when having an addicted family member was something to be ashamed of. My grandfather was an alcoholic, and none of the grandkids knew - until his last rehab stay. I'm the oldest, and I was probably 14 or so.

    I agree with Crayola that the old timers/pioneers were tougher than we are, more fatalistic, in that there were fewer solutions for problems like addiction. I don't think there's an increase in mental illness, again, it was something to hide. My former mother in law was horrified to learn that my grandmother referred to mother in law's aunt as "that crazy (insert family name)." There were fewer solutions for mental illness and people who didn't conform were talked about, shut away, or sent away so as not to taint the family name.
  5. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member

    Yep. Agree that it was always there. Social media shines a flashlight on it now and it is more out in.the.open. There are also shows in TV about addiction like intervention.

    I think we just know more now and hide it less. Same with other social ills such as child abuse, domestic violence, and sexual abuse. Things such as autism were misunderstood and wrongly considered a form of schizophrenia back in my childhood. Mental illness was hidden with little help.

    It's just all out there now, which is better than having secrets in my opinion.
  6. Nandina

    Nandina Member

    I agree that drug use as well as mental illness are both more out in the open, but I think there were/are other factors that have increased drug use in the last couple of decades. When I was growing up in the late 60s and 70s, cocaine and heroin were both very expensive and not as accessible as they are today, though if you sought it out you could find it.

    Then, in the mid-80s and early 90s, the introduction of crack cocaine made cocaine very cheap and easily accessible. It was also instantly addictive. I raised a child whose birth mother is a product of that era, as are many of us raising similar children.

    Then again, in the last decade or so, pills such as oxycontin and other opioids became readily available (and this is borne out through statistics and information showing that the drug manufacturers played a huge part in their accessibility). Although these opioids weren’t cheap, they were extremely addictive, though doctors were being told by drug manufacturers that they weren’t. Many drug addicts were created by folks whose doctors had prescribed opioids legitimately for pain after surgeries, etc. in addition to those who became addicted through recreational use.

    Around this time, heroin became cheaper and more mainstream. Many of those addicted to the more expensive pills switched to the cheap heroin because the high was similar. It seems as though heroin has become almost more “in vogue” as well, something I will never understand, as my father put the fear of God in me about it when I was a kid!

    Pot is one drug that although it has become much more expensive (sold in grams now instead of ounces!) it seems way more in use and acceptable than when I was young, and probably is, what with legality in many states. But it’s also much more potent, and some would say addictive, or at least a “gateway” drug.

    And I don’t think that we can overlook the generational pull of drug addiction. With addictive parents come addictive children. And on and on it goes...
  7. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    I did a very quick research online on this topic, and it does indicate that illegal drug use/addiction has risen. One of the things I noticed that seems to be a factor is the availability of drugs to people at younger ages than in the past—middle school or younger now is common. 90% of current addicts claim to have started using some type of drugs before age 18 (50% with marijuana). People who try drugs at a younger age are more likely to become addicted than if they waited till their twenties or thirties.

    Coupled with the social acceptability in recent years, legalization of marijuana, etc. it doesn’t seem as if things will be reversed soon.
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  8. Crayola13

    Crayola13 Active Member

    I just think it's mind blowing that crystal meth was legal and easy to get in the early 1990s, but the addiction rates were so low. People could order heroin from the Sears catalog along with needles in the 1800s. People used cocaine legally in the 1920s, but the addiction rates were nothing like now. I guess people were so busy trying to survive in the farm that they were too busy to think about drugs. It was hard to get off the farm back then. Everyone was impoverished back then, so if they had to choose between a bag of flour or a bottle of paragoric, they new the flour was more important. Now days, people would buy the drugs instead of flour to cook. Even poor people have a better standard of living than back then.
  9. Nandina

    Nandina Member

    Wow—I didn’t realize crystal meth was legal in the 90s! But now we have all the meth labs and regular people trying to cook it up in their homes. I think the internet might have helped there, with recipes for it and cheap ingredients to produce. (drain cleaner, anyone?) Cheapness might even have something to do with the younger kids doing drugs. They are affordable to anyone, even a kid with an allowance from Mom and Dad.

    And think of all the countries now involved in supplying us with illegal drugs. I just read that China is our largest supplier of Fentanyl, another drug that has been mainstreamed. Apparently it is very cheap to make. But it’s extremely potent, used in anesthesiology and never, ever meant to be a street drug! It is responsible for hundreds of thousands of overdoses. On the street, it’s used to cut heroin.

    Back to the original question and what bothers me too, is why? Just because something is readily available and cheap doesn’t mean everyone has to use it. What is it about our society that so many of our young people just live to get high? Is life so hard that escaping reality with drugs is the only way to get through it? It seems it would have been so much harder back on that farm.

    Good question Crayola—one that I think about a lot.
  10. Crayola13

    Crayola13 Active Member

    Correction, I meant crystal meth was legal in the early 1900s. It was often prescribed to help nightmares and used in marriage counseling.
  11. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    Kids and teens didn’t have access to drugs back in the 1800s/early-mid 1900s. The younger you start, the more potential for addiction.
  12. HMBgal

    HMBgal Active Member

    That's amazing. I wonder why it works in marriage counseling? My daughter self-medicates with it. She has severe ADD and it helps her focus. Or at least it used to. I think that between her use of Ecstasy and crystal meth, I can't imagine that her brain hasn't been permanently damaged. I know her teeth have been, and she's painfully thin.
  13. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member

    There are no accurate records from earlier times. We don't know what the addiction rate was. There are better ways of tracking percentages now. I suspect alcoholism was way higher then and alcohol definitely kills.

    Our life expectancy today is decades higher than it used to be. I don't like to focus on only the bad side of life. Even drugs haven't stopped us from living longer healthier lives. Back in the 1800s and early 1900s there was polio, measles, smallpox, deadly diseases. Plagues.No antibiotics. No way to cure cancer. People smoking with no clue of the diseases it caused. Smoking was the norm as late as the 50s. Could that kill you? Absolutely. I think we tend to romanticize old times in an unrealistic way. It wasn't all that great in my opinion.

    In the end, my own daughter included, it is about our long term choices in this lifetime.

    Last edited: Jan 10, 2020
  14. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Solid business strategy. Alcohol distillers and drug manufacturers (legal and illegal) put some real thought and high powered computers into their strategy to increase the market for their products. While many people think of drug cartels as people who smuggle drugs across borders, reality is that they are large multinational corporations. That effort wasn't put into drugs until the last few decades. Think about the Sacklers and Purdue Pharma. They spent huge sums on fines, and it wasn't even a drop in the bucket of the profits they made from oxycontin. They grew the market for ALL painkillers by convincing doctors that the medications were not addicting (though many doctors knew, and either fooled themselves or are too stupid to practice medicine) and iwth fancy marketing campaigns directed primarily at doctors. Pharmaceutical reps spent fortunes convincing doctors to prescribe oxycontin, and other medications also got prescribed as a byproduct of this marketing campaign. This wasn't done in the past, not at any point. It is why states are suing or have already sued Purdue Pharma.
  15. JMom

    JMom Active Member

    I think it is a combo of the drug companies offering incentives for docs to hand out pills and kids (and adults) are getting those prescriptions out of people's medicine cabinets. Every time I have an ache or pain, the doctor is offering up hydrocodone. I never accept it. Someone once said the US is the only country that advertises drugs to ask your doctor about (not sure if that is true). They are heavily marketed here. One last thought, there are parents like myself who unknowingly enabled their children rather than allowing natural consequences. I know in my case that certainly didn't help my son. I can't say if it would have made a difference if I would've done things differently, but I feel responsible in part.
  16. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    HMBgal, meth was used in marriage counseling to get the woman to do more housework and still have energy for sex whenever the men wanted it. There was a case study about this in a course I took at university. NOT a psychiatric course, a course about creating a market for your product.
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