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The culture was severely harmed by the massive proliferation of drugs which began in the 1960s and today continues unabated. For many years prior to that turbulent decade, psychiatrists had busily endorsed the use of drugs as a solution to a multitude of mental and emotional conditions. LSD, for example (and L. Ron Hubbard warned of its danger to society as early as 1951) was heavily promoted and used by psychiatry during the 1950s and 1960s as a treatment for mental conditions. Subsequently, it was pushed out into the society and billed as a means of attaining enlightenment. In such a wise, the illegal street drug market boomed. Narcotics, stimulants and other substances found wider and wider acceptance in the society. Abuse of such drugs, once confined to a small segment of the population, grew to epidemic proportions in the 1960s among college students and spread from there.
Abetted by giant pharmaceutical firms and much media attention, psychiatry made drug taking an acceptable, mainstream activity for many. In addition to LSD, drug companies unleashed a torrent of drugs into the society – heroin, methadone and countless tranquilizers among others – that have proven to be nightmares for mankind. Added to an increasing use of marijuana, mescaline and other psychedelics, the availability and acceptability of drugs increased enormously.
A common tactic to gain acceptance for a pharmaceutical drug is to release it amid massive public relations campaigns professing the drug’s efficacy and safety. But often, cases discrediting the claims of safety and revealing instead harmful side effects soon begin to accumulate. In the mid-1800s, opium addiction begat morphine which was touted by the medical establishment as nonaddictive treatment for opium addiction. But by 1870, morphine was recognized as more addictive than opium. This led to the development of heroin, extolled as a nonaddictive substitute for morphine. Within fifteen years this claim had clearly been shown to be otherwise. Following World War II, psychiatrists began pushing a new drug, methadone, as a cure for heroin addiction, thus foisting a century-old con game on a growing number of victims – all while reaping huge appropriations of public funding for its implementation.
Other prescription drugs such as Valium, Librium, Xanax, Oraflex, Halcion and Prozac were all claimed to be safe, but each has been found to have harmful side effects. Psychiatrists have earned hundreds of millions of dollars prescribing these drugs – and then treating the problems created by their own prescriptions.
The pharmaceutical drug companies reap huge profits, literally tens of billions of dollars a year, from the widespread use of drugs to treat an ever-increasing list of symptoms for new illnesses "discovered" each year by the psychiatric profession. Drugs have, for example, even become entrenched in the educational system. Today, a child labeled "hyperactive" can be given the psychiatric drug Ritalin in the classroom. And hundreds of psychiatric drugs are consumed by millions to "solve" a multitude of modern problems such as sleeplessness, nervousness, stress or just plain boredom.
All this is quite in addition to the widespread consumption of illegal drugs (many of which were originally prescription drugs), which are figured to be a 500 billion dollar a year industry in themselves. By some estimates, marijuana is now the biggest cash crop in America. Cocaine and its derivatives became very fashionable in the 1970s and are now widely abused, due in part to false data from psychiatrists who claimed as recently as 1980 in their own texts that cocaine usage was not addictive. They could not have been more wrong. Many medical and psychiatric drugs – heroin, LSD, methadone, Methedrine and tranquilizers, to name a few – were poorly controlled by those professions and allowed to proliferate on the illegal market, further exacerbating the problem. Right now, the most widely prescribed antidepressant, Prozac, is also the hottest kid on the block in the illegal street drug market.
Drug taking seems to be part of being alive in our modern world.