"Moderation In All Things."
That is the main starting point
of the solution to any addiction.
(Including sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll.)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010



Welcome to a basic overview of the history of addiction.

And now to our main subject: those sinful substances of such widespread abuse. How did they come to be, and when?

Yes, it would take an entire library to do the topic justice, but hopefully this modest treatment will at least provide a framework to start discussions and encourage further research.

As you'll discover upon reading the historical notes that follow, getting rid of today's drug problems isn't as easy as promoting simple slogans like:


We'll begin by observing that the control and application of any intoxicants, which includes beer, wine, hard liquor, heroin, opium, cannabis and even mushrooms, has rarely been handled with any degree of continuous scientific expertise or correct social decision making.

For instance, around 2700 B.C., China listed cannabis as a "cure" - not a cause - of absent mindedness. By 100 A.D., that picture changed again, but only for the worse; the Greeks regarded cannabis as more than just a treatment for various health problems - it was also being hailed as a "relaxing dessert."

Both medical and non-medical drug experimentation began to skyrocket during this period. In 130 A.D., Italy swore by opium for use by their physicians in treating patients. In 500 A.D., the Incas began chewing raw coca leaves (cocaine) in Peru during "religious ceremonies." Only two centuries later, the Arabs had started something even worse: the transportation of the knowledge and application of drugs on a multi-national scale.


The diabolical destruction (whether premeditated or not) of other societies by the Arab race is easily one of the most notorious examples (sexually-transmitted disease cases included) of the practice of "tainting by travel." Check out these highlights of their horrifying track record:

In 700 A.D., the Arabs introduce the opium poppy to China.

In 800 A.D., the Arabs introduce cannabis to Africa.

Later that same century, the Arabs also blaze the trail in providing the first examples of distillation of alcohol.

(Around this same time, China follows and improves upon this primitive process, so that by the year 1000 A.D., Italy further perfects the concept. But wait - the Arabs aren't through with us yet!)

In 900 A.D., the Arabs pioneer heart-destroying caffeine use, actually promoting "medicinal" doses of coffee (chewing the beans raw) for patients who actually require no such stimulants.

In 1000 A.D. (when Italy perfected the Arab's alcohol, remember?), the Arabs appear yet again in the records of ingestion infamy, as this time they succeed in boiling coffee beans properly so humans can take it as a hot drink, thereby consuming much more of it than they did by their previous chewing method.

As one could guess, the process catches on (especially among the population's toothless), and this strange "morning moca mix" soon becomes an addictive institution.

And the year 1000 A.D. pops up a third time, as a scholar named Biruni (ironically an Arab), produces the first written acknowledgement that there is even such a thing as an "addiction problem" regarding drugs.

This warning is never heeded, coming as it does in the middle of the new rush to be numb to reality, using either a religious or social excuse. Biruni's "spoilsport" caution, arriving as much too little and much too late, of course becomes not much more than a quaint historical footnote. From then on, the drug abuse merry-go-round is off and running.


In 1850, the PUS ("Pharmacopeia of the United States") list includes "extractum cannabis" for the first time, recommending it as a good substance for pharmacological use. It is dropped from that list a bit too late - after almost a hundred years - in 1942.

In 1872, the AFDD (Adulteration of Food, Drink and Drugs) Act is passed in England.

In 1875, the British SFD (Sale of Food and Drugs) Act amends the earlier AFDD Act and regulates the adulteration of these articles.

In 1882, the NYCE (New York Coffee Exchange) is organized.

In 1973, the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs is revamped to become the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration).

In 1978, the ABO (Anti-Burma Opium) Act is passed by the British.

This ABO Act prevents the selling of any opium to the country of Burma only - while still keeping the doors wide open to opium smokers (and eaters) in places including India, and, of course, China.


In 1811 nicotine is identified as the principal ingredient in tobacco by French chemist Louis Vaquelin. This ingredient is later isolated from tobacco by two French chemists in 1828.

In 1820, caffeine is isolated from coffee by German scientist Ferdinand Runge.

In 1832, codeine is isolated from opium by French chemist Robiquet.

In 1831, a source imparts knowledge of the chemical known as chloriform to France, Germany and the United States. The source is never mentioned, however, and the "discovery" (all within the very same year) is claimed by the three countries to have occurred simultaneously and independently of each other.

In 1858, cocaine is isolated from coca by scientist Albert Neiman. This accomplishment is based on much previous work by Gaedkin which began in 1844.

In 1858, American doctors Barker and Thomson innovate the process of using morphine in the form of a hypodermic injection.

In 1852, the American Pharmaceutical Association is founded, which will result in "druggists" and "drugstores" becoming household words.

In 1863, barbiturates are born in Munich, Germany when Doctor A. von Bayer synthesizes barbituric acid. The chemist is only 29 years old.

In 1874, English researcher C.R.A. Wright synthesizes heroin. However, the compound (diacetyl-morphine) at first generates little more than casual interest, until 1898, when chemist Heinrich Dresser develops heroin. At the time Dresser is working as chief pharmacologist for the German branch of the Bayer Company (the Elbefeld Farbenfabrik of Friederich Bayer and Co.).

The heroin is marketed in the United States the very same year, after being backed by an advertising campaign on an international scale. The curing of morphinism (addiction to morphine) is Bayer's major claim.

In 1886, German pharmacologist Ludwig Lewin identifies mescaline. In 1896, German scientist A. Heffter isolates mescaline, as an active alkaloid, from the peyote cactus. The same year, Weir mitchell provides the first clinical description of mescal action. Mescaline is chemically synthesized in 1926.

In 1887, the first amphetamine is prepared by Edeleano, a chemist in Germany.

In 1893, German chemist Felix Hoffman synthesizes aspirin. At the time Hoffman is working for the Bayer Company, which six years later releases it for sale on the market.

In 1923, the country of Germany is once again the site for the creation of a dangerous drug, as the opiate-narcotic Dilaudid is first produced.

In 1927, California pharmacist Gordon Alles synthesizes Benzedrine, ushering in the "amphetamine age."

In 1938, the "acid age" first rears its hellish head when LSD-25 is synthesized by Dr. Albert Hofmann, a research scientist at Sandoz Laboratories near Basil, Switzerland.

In 1943, Hofmann will also accidently inhale ergot (rye fungus) which will send him on the first documented "acid trip." His (non-fatal) psychedelic experience results in the earliest scientific observation of LSD's hallucinogenic properties.

Hofmann's work in the field of ergotism harkens back to outbreaks of human contact with rye fungus which has killed over 50,000 people since the first incidents involving the substance in 944 A.D.

In 1959, Hofmann once again grabs drug development headlines, for the third successive decade; this time its due to his isolation of psilocybin, the active ingredient in a hallucinogenic mushroom, at the Sandoz laboratories in Switzerland.

In 1941, methadone is first synthesized by I.G. Farben researchers in Germany. It will be used as a substitute for heroin, after first changing its original title of "dolphine," named after Adolph Hitler. In 1948 it is officially introduced on the market to aid in the detoxification of heroin addicts.

In 1964, Israeli scientist Dr. Raphael Mechoulame isolates the primary active ingredient in cannabis, called THC (delta-l-tetrahydrocannabinol).

In 1967, PCP (phencylcidine), an ingredient in street drugs (angel dust), is made available legally. Released as an animal tranquilizer, on humans it has an anesthetic-psychedelic effect.

Parents lecture their kids to stay away from such chemical companions, but what are many of these same parents already hooked on themselves, even as they speak? Diet pills, smokes, and, for strictly "social" party purposes, of course... alcohol.