The history of painkillers in America spans well before America was even born. The pain-relieving properties of certain plants were well known among the earliest inhabitants. Over time these plants were used to create popular opioid drugs for the treatment of many different conditions. Unfortunately, in the early 1900s little was known about the addictive properties of these substances and how long-term use could affect people negatively. Today, there is an ongoing battle between those who need the drugs for pain management and those who abuse the substances.
Painkillers In The 1900s-1920s
During the first 20 years of the 20th century, opioid use was all the rage. Doctors handed out prescriptions far and wide for everything from minor coughs to serious injuries. The flow of opioid derivatives and coca was fast and free from much of Asia up until 1914, when taxes were first introduced on the drugs. Nevertheless, these drugs remained prevalent until the early 1920s when doctors began to see signs of their addictive nature.
Painkillers In The 1920s-1960s
In 1924, heroin was outlawed in an attempt to stop the damage being caused by rampant addiction. Nevertheless, during and after World War II many soldiers sought treatment for injuries and chronic pain. In an effort to streamline treatment of thousands of soldiers, doctors used pain management clinics to hand out drugs to anyone who came in looking for help.
Painkillers In The 1960s-2000s
Between the 1960s and the new millennium, the United States government enacted numerous restrictions on prescription painkillers, classifying them according to their effects. Drug task forces were formed to catch those who were bringing in opioids from overseas, and crackdowns on doctors happened where there was evidence of illegal prescriptions being written.
Painkillers In The Present Day
In the last decade, the number of drug-related deaths has increased drastically. The dark history of opiates has come into the light and more people are aware of the damage that these drugs can cause those who become addicted. Today, addiction to prescription drugs outweighs nearly all other addictions in the U.S., and many of those addicted never receive treatment.
Interestingly, prescription drugs have become so widely available that people often opt for prescription drugs over “street drugs” like heroin because they are perceived to be safer.
Anthony Louis Center
The history of painkillers has led to an overwhelming problem for much of America. If you or a loved one is struggling with prescription painkillers, the team at Anthony Louis Center can help, starting with a one-on-one consultation.