There was a time when cocaine, morphine, heroin, marijuana, opium, and hashish were freely available to purchase without prescription. They were marketed for all supposed benefits, but were completely unregulated. Some of these snake oil preparations contained not just highly addictive substances, but otherwise highly toxic chemicals. For example, in the civil war, diarrhea was treated with opium, and constipation, with mercury.

The United States Government has come up with different categories that most recreational drugs fall in. Alcohol and tobacco are free to purchase at age 21 and 18, respectively (in most precincts in The United States). This doesn’t make them necessarily less dangerous than illegal drug use.

These divisions of illegality are dubbed “Schedules”

Schedule I

These substances are entirely illegal:
“no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse”. They aren’t used in medicine at all, having no official medical potential.

Examples include heroin, marijuana, and psilocybin. I know…putting the latter two in this category is outrageous. Soon enough marijuana will be legal, and psilocybin is in speed-up trials to battle depression, along with a highly-regarded study stating that it belongs in Schedule IV, per its profile and Scheduling criteria.

Not only this, but mescaline, DMT, ibogaine, and MDMA, all garnering serious medical studies funding serious medical potential, are Schedule I as well…

Schedule II

Schedule II drugs are used in medicine, though with restrictions and great caution. They have a ” high potential for abuse, with use potentially leading to severe psychological or physical dependence. These drugs are also considered dangerous”

Some chemicals in this class are methamphetamine, amphetamine, cocaine, morphine, and hydromorphone

Schedule III

Moving on. In this category, substances are said to have a “moderate to low potential for physical and psychological dependence

Suboxone, flunitrazepam (Rohypnol) and codeine fall into this category

Schedule IV

This category includes drugs that have
“low potential for abuse and low risk of dependence

Every benzodiazepine save Rohypnol is in this division. This includes alprazolam (Xanax), lorazapam (Ativan), diazepam (Valium), clonazepam (Klonopin), and more.

Schedule V

Finally: the least restricted of the Scheduled substances. They have
“lower potential for abuse than Schedule IV and consist of preparations containing limited quantities of certain narcotics.”

Pregabalin (Lyrica) and DXM are Schedule V substances.

Image result for schedule V substance

None of the information on this section, and in the website overall, justifies breaking the law in any state or form. It is merely a revealing of the facts behind the making of drugs illicit, and some other empirical information on some of these substances.

Bridging on the beginning of this passage, and discussion over many Schedule I substances, there are helpful infographics to further place things into perspective. This is by no means reason to try psychoactives without doctoral assignment, especially illegal and potentially damaging substances. It just highlights how these categories are heavily socially determined.

It is otherwise clear that, in the words of the ACLU:

“The best evidence of prohibition’s failure is the government’s current war on drugs. This war, instead of employing a strategy of prevention, research, education and social programs designed to address problems such as permanent poverty, long term unemployment and deteriorating living conditions in our inner cities, has employed a strategy of law enforcement. While this military approach continues to devour billions of tax dollars and sends tens of thousands of people to prison, illegal drug trafficking thrives, violence escalates and drug abuse continues to debilitate lives. Compounding these problems is the largely unchecked spread of the AIDS virus among drug-users, their sexual partners and their offspring.”

Drug Prohibition Creates More Problems Than It Solves  

The stories behind the making of these substances as illegal highlights how little science has gone into many such designations. The first law curtailing drug use, passed in 1875 in San Fransisco, and Federally in 1909, dictated opium smoking to be illegal – the preferred form of use for Chinese immigrants. Eating for injecting tinctures were largely reserved for Caucasian users. In what would become a pattern, people believed that Chinese men would take advantage of white women in opium smoking dens. They were dubbed “The Yellow Menace”.

For example, a quote from Richard Nixon:

 “You see, homosexuality, dope, immorality in general. These are the enemies of a strong society. That’s why the communists and left-wingers are pushing the stuff, they are trying to destroy us.”

  • Marijuana
    • In 1920, the Department of Agriculture urges citizens to grown marijuana. What happened? Well, most are aware of “reefer madness”. In particular, there was press about how Mexicans were invading the United States and preying on white women while violent on the substance, which apparently granted them superhuman strength. A lot of this press was connected to a man with high investments in paper derived from trees. As hemp is much more efficient in all manners, he used power to bring a bad name to the plant, changing its name from “marihuana” to “marijuana”, a more spanish-sounding name. This man was “depicting marijuana as the largely unknown drug of murder, torture, and hideous cruelty“.
    • It was thought to be behind criminal behavior of the lower class

“Commissioner Harry J. Anslinger writes: “How many murders, suicides, robberies, criminal assaults, hold-ups, burglaries, and deeds of maniacal insanity it [marijuana] causes each year, especially among the young, can only be conjectured.” [Quoted in John Kaplan, *Marijuana*, p. 92]”

“How many murders, suicides, robberies, criminal assaults, holdups, burglaries and deeds of maniacal insanity it causes each year can only be conjectured,” Anslinger wrote in a 1937 article in American Magazinetitle “Marijuana, Assassin of Youth.”
It was surely no coincidence that the scare movie Reefer Madness came a year earlier.”

There was such headlines as: “MOTHER SACRIFICES CHILDREN, HOME, REPUTATION FOR DOPE By Annie Laurie — S.F. Examiner – Feb 27, 1930 pg.4”

Shortly after the prohibition, a man is sentenced to four years hard labor for selling two joints worth of the plant.

The plant was otherwise said to cause rampant, extremely violent insanity.

  • Cocaine
    • Initially, the substance was used in Coca-Cola, though not in high amount
    • The pope at the time had a favorite cocaine-infused wine brand
    • It was stated that black men on cocaine would turn into crazed animals and rape white women, and that it made them bulletproof.
    • Otherwise people, in opposition to racial integration, railed about it causing interracial relationships.
    • Some police precincts even increased the caliber of their bullets
    • 1914: New York Times article: “Negro Cocaine ‘Fiends’ Are a New Southern Menace: Murder and Insanity Increasing Among Lower Class Blacks Because They Have Taken to ‘Sniffing.”

“1914 Dr. Edward H Williams cites Dr. Christopher Kochs “Most of the attack upon white women of the South are the direct result of the cocaine crazed Negro brain.” Dr. Williams concluded that ” . . Negro cocaine fiends are now a known Southern menace.” [New York Times, Feb. 8, 1914]”

That said, crack is much more damaging than cocaine. When it appeared, cocaine was wrongly thought to be as addictive. Unfortunately, especially in New York, possession of crack was treated many, many times more harshly than cocaine. Thus, large cocaine dealers were given lower sentences than crack addicts.

  • Psychedelics
    • Mescaline (active ingredient in Peyote)
      • “1921:…chief of the Bureau of Drug Control of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, publishes a paper in the *Journal of the American Medical Association* in which he characterizes the Indian peyote religion a “habit indulgence in certain cactaceous plants,” calls the belief system “superstition” and those who sell peyote “dope vendors,” and urges the passage of a bill in Congress that would prohibit the use of peyote among the Indian tribes of the Southwest. He concludes with this revealing plea for abolition: “The great difficulty in suppressing this habit among the Indians arises from the fact that the commercial interests involved in the peyote traffic are strongly entrenched, and they exploit the Indian. . . . Added to this is the superstition of the Indian who believes in the Peyote Church. As soon as an effort is made to suppress peyote, the cry is raised that it is unconstitutional to do so and is an invasion of religious liberty. Suppose the Negros of the South had Cocaine Church!” [Thomas S. Blair, Habit indulgence in certain cactaceous plants among the Indians, *Journal of the American Medical Association*, 76:1033-1034 (April 9), 1921; p. 1034]” Psychedelics (serotonergic hallucinogens)
      • The chemical is still used in certain demographics as an ancient religious rite.
    • LSD
      • Initially, there was much attention for, and optimism towards, LSD. It was thoroughly tested by the CIA, even without consent.
      • “1966 C. W. Sandman, Jr. chairman of the New Jersey Narcotic Drug Study Commission, declares that LSD is “the greatest threat facing the country today . . . more dangerous than the Vietnam War.” [Quoted in Brecher et al., op. cit. p. 369]”
      • The hippie generation was thought to be heavily linked to LSD usage, leading to its criminality.
      • Also, Timothy Leary, appraised Harvard psychologist turned avid LSD promoter, scared the government and lead to national stigma.
      • In essence:
        “As the Hippie movement grew, the combined desire to crush a perceived danger to the social order and the desire to make a statement of moral condemnation against ‘those druggies’ led to our current model of prohibition: The Controlled Substances Act of 1970, passed at the height of Hippie power.”
      • Hence, the government went ahead to criminalize most every drug that it wasn’t knowledgeable about
    • Psilocybin
      • Human use dates to over 11,000 years ago
      • Was caught up in the stigma over LSD, as it works similarly
        • Though it doesn’t carry the same stigma
      • Recent studies suggest its use in psychiatry within a few year
    • DMT/Ayahuasca
      • Ayahuasca is DMT and an MAOI
        • The latter stops the former from breaking down fast, leading to its efficacy in oral use
      • Used as an ancient religious rite, as well as mescaline
Image result for psychedelic hallucinogens
  • GHB (gamma-hydroxy-butyrate) and
    Rohypnol (a benzodiazepine, flunitrazepam)
    • Received the great brunt of media criticism as the “date-rape” drugs
    • GABAergics
    • GHB used for narcolpesy
      • In that form it is Schedule III, otherwise it is Schedule I
    • Rohypnol is little-used due to its stigma and reputation
      • This is despite the use of many, many other benzodiazepines that work quite similarly
        • Valium
        • Klonopin
        • Restoril
        • Ativan
        • Halcion
        • Xanax
Image result for hallucinogens profile

Again, this information isn’t meant to help people break the law. Though legislation currently may not reflect the reality of how these substances affect people, the law will still exist. Please don’t break it. The incarceration system is nothing to be involved in. So, stay clear away from it!