Drug abuse is rampant all over the world. Being a common problem of this entire world, every nation is fighting drug abuse by adopting strong legal actions. Several countries seem to endorse strict legal policies to ban certain addictive drugs that have been found fatal in the course of time. But, it would surprise anyone to know that these drugs used to be sold over the counter without the fear of getting penalized legally. Many of the psychoactive drugs used to be freely available in the market before they were outlawed. Having studied the scientific and chemical effects and social impacts of such drugs, lawmakers deemed it necessary to ban the availability of these drugs. Let’s discuss about 10 widely popular drugs later banned for abuses. Put it differently; the following are the 10 most abused drugs later banned by laws across the world.
The use of Opium dates back to 3400 B.C. It has been used since ancient times as a powerful narcotic. People used it as a painkiller and its medicinal use continued well into the 19th century. People used it by dissolving in alcohol in the tincture known as laudanum. It was freely available and to anyone who wished to buy or sell it. But in 1729, the Chinese emperor Yung Cheng declared opium illegal except for some specific medicinal usage. This made China the first country to officially declare opium prescription-only drug. Subsequently in 1799, Chinese emperor Kia King banned opium completely. In case of United States, opium was banned in San Francisco in 1874 only. In 1905, the US Congress as well banned it. We can still see people using opium but not legally.
Created by a Japanese Chemist in 1893, Methamphetamine was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in the United States for the treatment of various medical conditions including alcoholism, narcolepsy, seasonal allergies and mild depression among others. It has been known by the variety of names including meth, crystal, ice which is known to not only cause mania and euphoria but also a high aggression. But its abuse as Methedrine became very common in later years. To control the abuse of methamphetamine, the Controlled Substances Act strictly restricted the use of it in 1970. Having said this, meth is still available as ‘Desoxyn’ for very limited use.
Also known as the cannabis plant, Marijuana is the psychoactive drug was widely popular and unrestricted in United States until early 20th century. Marijuana has seen so much controversy as it has managed to become legalized and banned time and again in different states. The first recorded use of marijuana dates back to 2737B.C. It was initially used for the medicinal purposes, especially to treat rheumatism, gout, and absent mindedness. It was even used as the alternative for the alcohol by many. Following its massive popularity and abuse, California introduced a law banning farmers from growing marijuana plant. Later in 1937, the Federal Law was passed restricting the usage of marijuana for only medicinal purpose. During 1950 , many countries strictly prohibited the use of marijuana introducing mandatory sentencing for possession.
So far as massively abused drugs are concerned, GHB is relatively new name. And it has become the most popular date rape drug that is known to depress the central nervous system. It can also be used as a power booster, aphrodisiac and euphoriant. But, GHB can be fatal when it is combined with other depressants like alcohol. Started as a medicinal drug, GHB has been used as an anesthetic. It was even used to produce reversible comma. Due to its high abuse and people reporting its adverse effects, GHB was finally banned in 1980s.
Peyote is a hallucinogenic chemical produced from peyote cactus. Native Americans have been using it for thousands of years. The use of Peyote is as said to be as old as that of Opium. Peyote remained legal in the most part of United States during 1960s however it was banned during 1920s and 1930s. But it was in 1965 that Mescaline (Peyote) was restricted by Congress under its Controlled Substances Act. Native American Churches however make use of Peyote for bona fide religious ceremonies.
Indigenous people from South America have been using Coca Plant for thousands of years. The drug Cocaine itself is produced from coca leaves. Being one of the most addictive drugs that have ever existed, cocaine was supposed to have first synthesized in 1855. Initially, it was widely popular as an effective drug to cure depression and sexual impotence. Later, in 1886, it was included as an ingredient in Coca-Cola, one of the most popular soft drinks these days. However, there were no restrictions on cocaine, and it was widely available. That resulted into heavy addiction and more social problems. Consequently, Coca-Cola was forced to remove cocaine as its ingredient in 1903, and finally cocaine was banned overall by the Dangerous Drug Act passed in 1920.
Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) or acid was discovered in 1943 by accident. When the Swiss Scientist who invented the chemical accidentally came to absorb some amount of chemical through his skin, he felt the psychedelic effects immediately. US Army during 1950s experimented LSD as a potential ‘truth drug’ involving everyone from CIA Agents to prostitutes. After its heavy abuse and ill-effects in Switzerland and other parts of the world, it was officially outlawed in United States in 1967.
3. Magic Mushroom
Magic Mushrooms, aka shrooms—are the fungi native to Asia and America that contains psychedelic chemical called psilocybin. The psilocybin is said to be responsible for causing visual, tactile, and auditory hallucinations once it gets injected inside human body. While some people are still arguing whether or not Magic Mushrooms existed, majority still believes that they have been in use for thousands of years. Due to their abuse, the mushrooms containing psilocybin were banned since 1968. Psilocybin and psilocin, both drugs are labeled as Schedule-I drugs.
Ketamine—a dissociative anesthetic that causes sedation and feeling of seclusion is currently a Schedule-III substance. It has been used in several medicinal and veterinary purposes legally. But ketamine is also popular as club drug, which is illegal. It became popular due its ability to produce hallucinations. However invented as anesthetic, ketamine started being abused during 1970s. But by 1980s, people started using Ketamine as an addictive substitute to Ecstasy. The heavy abuse of this drug resulted into its banning since 1999, and it was categorized as Schedule-III substance as well.
Notoriously addictive drug—Heroin has reported to be used by over 50 million people regularly. But amazingly, it was way more readily available once. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, heroin used to be sold over the counters. Heroin was first synthesized by German chemist Felix Hoffmann. Having used as medicinal purposes in initial days, it became one of the popular non-addictive morphine substitutes. Before 1926, Heroin was widely available in UK without prescription. Due to the serious problems caused by the highly addictive properties of Heroin, it is officially banned in US since 1924.
However banned for abuse, and for perfectly good reasons, many drugs were originally supposed to be miracle cures. As people started to make heavy abuse, drugs started to cause problems to the extent that it forced the laws to restrict them. The problems are caused because drugs were not used the way intended. For sure, there are certain good reasons why all these drugs have been determined to unsafe for the society and for the entire humankind. Having said this, there are some people who still use drugs—illegally. But how good this world would be if there’s no need of abusing any drug? Well, if so, there would be no such need of restricting ’em either. Anyway, let’s hope for the better world, without drug addiction.
Arun is an IT-gradate. But writing is something he has innate passion for. He loves to explore new things, places and ideas.