Narcotics have been widely abused by millions of people since the very, very early days dating back to early Chinese history. The Chinese smoked opium for hundreds of years before realizing that there was any danger of addiction or abuse occurring from the use of these drugs and even after they realized the dangers, they continued to abuse the substances widely and openly. Sobriety if not one of the best influences of mankind over the past 300-500 years. In fact, millions upon millions of people have set out to abuse substances throughout the past 100 years or more in an effort to “get high” alter moods or otherwise “feel good.”
The history of narcotics is really no different than the history or progression of various other types of drugs. It all starts with recreational use or in some cases with medical use that turns to recreational use. For Narcotics, it took nearly half a century of abuse in the United States alone before the government made any direct impact or attempts to intervene.
The upper class, dating back to the days of Hippocrates would use narcotics to alter their mood and reduce inhibitions. The most widely known group to consume narcotics in the early days were the Chinese but even hundreds of years later, during the times of slavery, the wealthy would smoke opium to relax.
Ancient Egyptian writings, hieroglyphics actually, tell stories of the Romans and the Egyptians using opium poppy for pain relieve during child birth. The poppy leafs were chewed to produce analgesic effects as far back as the 1700s and even earlier in some cases. In fact, the history of narcotics can be dated back hundreds of years even further than most other drugs that are still being used on the street and in medical settings today.
When Edinburgh invented the hypodermic needle or the syringe in the late 1800s, 1853 to be exact, opiates would become much more widely used and abused. At this point in the history of narcotics, the primary method of use was through oral ingestion. By now, the extraction of morphine from the poppy plant had began (in 1806) and more measured disease were being administered to patients during child labor and other painful procedures.
According to Duke University, with the invention of the syringe, morphine could be given as an injection which would allow for even stronger pain relief qualities. With the use of injectable morphine, many hospitals and medical practices began to more widely use narcotics for the treatment of pain. They were even widely used in war during the early 20th century.
By the early to mid 1900s, various synthetic and semi-synthetic combinations of narcotics were being developed for use in the medical setting. One of the first synthetic forms of Morphine was produced in Germany in 1939 and named Pethidine. This drug was widely used hospital settings during the 1940s and would continue to be used for many years until other drugs were developed with more mild side effects and greater pain reduction capacity.
As the history of narcotics has progressed, these drugs have become more widely used in a medical setting as well as for recreational uses. Today, narcotics make up the majority of the abused drugs that cause criminal activity and addiction which requires treatment. Millions of people are addicted to dangerous narcotics and don’t even realize the severity of the disease that they have or the need for treatment.
Those who do seek treatment for narcotics addiction are likely to go in and out of a treatment program many times before finding adequate care that works for their individual needs. It’s taken many years throughout the history of narcotics for healthcare professionals as well as others to realize the dangers of these drugs. Though widely used for the treatment of pain and other disorders, many narcotics have a very strong potential for causing physical tolerance, dependence and subsequent abuse.
As long as narcotics are available in hospitals, pharmacies and on the streets, there will likely be a continued need for controlled observation, legal consequences associated with improper possession and qualified treatment for narcotics addiction. Unfortunately, these are just the side effects of having hundreds of dangerous drugs that have a potential for abusive use by those who are looking to “get high” change their mood or otherwise alter their perception of what is really happening in life.
If you suspect that you or a loved one needs some help with a narcotics addiction or abuse situation, make the call for help before it’s too late. The most serious side effect that could occur as a result of long term narcotics addiction is death–a consequence that none of us can return from.