By Stanley Einstein (Auth.)
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Additional info for Beyond Drugs
It would appear, however, that the shady character of the first white opium smokers not only negatively colored opium smoking, but also all other narcotic use. Oddly enough, our ancestors overlooked the fact that the deviant status of the first opium smokers existed long before their initial use of opiates and that the vast majority of narcotic addicts during this same period were not criminals. Although the seeds of drug stereotypy had been sown, there was still no concerted effort to control this behavior.
This commonsense approach and its general acceptance by most of us have generally added to the confusion in the field of drug use and misuse. Because it is not simply the inherent qualities of drugs that place them in one group and not in another; it is also who the classifier is and what his purpose is in classifying that determines the various drug groupings. The two major sources of drug classification are the law and medicine. The law, responding to various segments of the population who consider particular drugs dangerous at a given point in time, has as its goal controlling availability.
To understand the final factors that led to the deviant status of narcotics, we must move into the international political arena. Whereas America appeared to be fairly unconcerned about opiate use during the latter part of the nineteenth century, a number of nations—Britain, Turkey, Persia, and Germany being perhaps the main ones—were significantly involved in the growth or processing of opium. These countries encountered the following dilemma: (1) the feeling that unrestricted opium trade was perhaps immoral, together with (2) an economic interest in continuing such trade, and (3) the assumption that if any of them moved out of the opium business, other nations would either continue or move into it.
Beyond Drugs by Stanley Einstein (Auth.)