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How Drug Addiction is Perceived

Time and change are two universal constants since time will continue to pass and change will happen despite efforts to the contrary. This essay will outline the change that occurs over a period of time, specifically looking at the change in how drug addiction is perceived and which drugs are reported on through the New York Times. The years used in examining this change will be 1926, 1954, and 1983.

In 1926, drug addiction was a heated subject at the time, with opium considered the prime drug evil. According to the New York Times, one of the biggest debates was the estimated number of addicts in the United States. A special committee, appointed by the U.S. Treasury Department had "made the most comprehensive survey of the drug addiction problem that had ever been made. . .[and] the number of drug addicts in the United States exceeds 1,000,000" (Says Drug Addicts. . ., 1926, n.p.). However, the U.S. Bureau of Public Health moved to suppress the report and reported that there were only 110,000 drug addicts in the U.S. at that time (Say Drug Addicts, 1926). Although there was agreement that the increase in drug use seemed to coincide with poverty and an increase in crime rates, there was disagreement in how to fight this trend, with many believing they should limit growth and production of pharmaceutical plants and drugs and others believing that educating the public would be the best course of action (Foes of Drug Evil, 1926, n.p.). Insurance estimates were that only 2 percent of addicts did so through medical use of opium (Says Drug Addicts. . ., 1926).

By 1954, both opium and heroin were on the list of narcotic drugs banned in the United States (Ryan, 1954). Additionally, a report from late 1953 by the Committee on Use of Narcotics Among Teenagers, projected that the number of young addicts in New York were 7,500. This clashed with figures from the Commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics who estimated their numbe...

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How Drug Addiction is Perceived. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 01:02, May 29, 2023, from