A Brief Look at The US Drug Prohibition History


Human beings have been on substances for thousands of years and if we look at history and other ancient sources of information it is quite clear that they made use of opium for pain management, have smoked marijuana apart from chewing cocaine leaves to get energy. They also have used psychoactive mushrooms and peyote cactus. However, the use of the substances caused more problems than benefits just like the Federal drug possession Dallas which is one of the serious crimes in the US.

Therefore, the United States has had a history of trying to combat misuse of various psychotropic substances. The country is famous for having pushed a radical approach when it came to deal with these intoxicating substances. Instead of simply depending on ruthless prohibition, the country has been known to have opposed drug use for non-medical purpose.

A Look At The Timeline

Prohibition as it exists today in the country did not happen overnight but was because of some well-planned events and laws. It was all the result of various important landmarks and watershed moments as far as US Drug Prohibition History is concerned. Let us have a look at a few such moments in the history of this country which it went through in its pursuit of misuse of various substances.

1914 was considered one of the most important years as far as America’s tryst with prohibition was concerned. It was the year in which the famous Harrison Narcotics Act was passed. This act severely put restrictions on the sale and use of cocaine and different types of opiates.

The government of the day knew that it might have been unlawful to simply ban the use of these drugs. Therefore, they worked out a different strategy. Instead of simply banning the use of these psychotropic drugs they imposed heavy taxes on those who wanted to use them.

The year 1937 saw the passing of the Marijuana Tax Act. As mentioned above, this was done with the main objective of making use of marijuana expensive and perhaps even unaffordable. This was the time when the country was going through quite a bit of social tensions. It was directed against African Americans, Mexicans and Chinese immigrants.

These two laws are considered very important in the timeline of America’s attempt to come to grasp with this huge social menace. The year 1966 also saw a big movement forward with the promulgation of the federal Cigarette Labeling & Advertising Act. This made it mandatory for cigarette manufacturers to print a warning label.

October 27, 1970 – The year 1970 is also considered another important milestone in the history of US drug prohibition. The US Congress passed the Drug Abuse Prevention Act which was considered at that point of time to be one of the most comprehensive laws. While reducing the quantum of punishment for stocking and using Marijuana, it gave the authorities wide powers to search suspects and nab them.

This was followed by a host of social, non-government and government moves to further crack down on substance use. The year 1986 is famous for the famous “Just Say No” campaign launched by Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan towards drug abuse.


Apart from the above, there are quite a few other laws and movements which might have contributed positively towards making the country a drug free nation. However, this still continues to be a dream and much more needs to be done.

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