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A History of Drug Use and Legislation The history of drug use and the development of policies in response to drug use extends back to the early settlement of the country Like alcohol the classification of certain drugs as legal or illegal has changed over time Morals racism and issues of international policies appear to spear head most of the movements by the nation to combat a social problem Alcoholic beverages have been a part of the Nations past since the landing of the Pilgrims The colonists brought with them from Europe a high regard for alcoholic beverages which were considered an important part of their diet Drinking was pervasive because alcohol was regarded primarily as a healthy substance with preventive and curative powers not as an intoxicant The first temperance movement began in the early 1800s in response to dramatic increases in production and consumption of alcoholic beverages which also coincided with rapid demographic changes Agitation against ardent spirits and the public disorder they spawned gradually increased during the 1820s From the 1850s to the early 1900s many groups like the Womens Christian Temperance Movement which embraced the concept of prohibition began to drive the movement away from saloons and drinking alcohol It was marked both by the recruitment of women into the movement and the mobilization of crusades to close down saloons In 1927 the 18th Amendment was added to the constitution The Prohibition Act This act made the manufacturing sale and possession of alcohol illegal One draw back to this legislation was the wakening of the speak easy These underground establishments were a way mainly for men to get a drink of alcohol and indulge in prostitution with no inte rference from authorities There was one way to obtain alcoholic beverages legally during the prohibition years through a physicians prescription or purchasing the liquor from a pharmacy Physicians could prescribe distilled spirits--usually whiskey or brandy--on government prescription
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