Morphine And Heroin: The Everlasting Drug War

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John Knox Anastacio, McCord 11-19-10 Humanities 1-2 The Everlasting Drug War Throughout history the poppy flower has been considered to be a gift from God. Once the 19th century arrived, scientists discovered Morphine and Heroin. Morphine and Heroin were scientific miracles at the time, but later became a curse on America. Soldiers during the Civil War did not have the medication needed in order to survive. Morphine allowed doctors to perform surgery on injured soldiers and not just amputate their body parts. Doctors didn’t realize that morphine was an addictive drug and as a result many soldiers suffered from addiction. The lack of laws to regulate drugs caused hardship upon U.S. society, misuse of narcotics, and showed the people…show more content…
Morphine is derived from Opium. Many people were suffering from alcohol addiction and Morphine was used as the “cure” for the alcohol addiction. Morphine is far worse than alcohol and doctors were well aware. Doctors preferred to have people addicted to Morphine because it was socially and domestically safer. Alcoholics were more likely to beat their wives and children and cause havoc upon the city (“The Problem of Pain Relief”). Morphine addicts were quiet and reclusive. Morphine became known as G.O.M. through out America, which means Gods Own Medicine (The Columbia Encyclopedia). For doctors during the Civil War this was a complete blessing. Before morphine, an injured soldier would have the wounded area amputated. They couldn’t perform surgery with a completely conscious patient. The Civil War era was a time of incomplete scientific knowledge. There were more blacksmiths than doctors. The tools of a carpenter were the same as a doctor. Medical school was a one-year course of study. All narcotics were available through a mail order catalog (South, Drugs: Cultures, Controls, and Everyday Life). The drugs would arrive in a brown sealed package and it would include a carrying case for the drug as well. A country can only operate for so long until the downfall of the country arrives. Citizens who were addicted…show more content…
Heroin was introduced as a cough medicine and was also used to help cure Morphine addiction (“Prescription Painkiller History”). Heroin actually is morphine. Once Heroin reaches the liver it turns into morphine but doctors didn’t realize it. Many members of Congress kept trying to engineer a way to ban drugs because technically the government cannot ban drugs completely. The first step to banning drugs was the Pure Food and Drug Act. This required patent medicines to label all of the ingredients in their products. Many of the smaller businesses were bankrupted because of this act but over hundreds of thousands of addicts remained. Companies like Coca-Cola almost were shut down because they didn’t want to stop putting Cocaine into their product (Johnson). The next step to banning drugs was the Heroin Tax Act. The tax said that In order to be an opiate, a person who uses Opium or drugs derived from Opium, you had to be a patient and in order to sell the drug you had to be a medical doctor with a license that they had to pay a tax on. Up to 200,000 people were criminalized for using the drugs. With various drug enforcement agencies, all underground clinics were shut down and within the next couple of years over 10,000 doctors were

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