Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds: How Drugs Have Shaped Popular Culture Over the Last Hundred Years
1. Understand the types of drugs that you might encounter in your personal and future professional lives.
2. Outline how some of these drugs work
3. Explain the interaction of modern society with these drugs, both legal and illegal.
Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds: How Drugs Have Shaped Popular Culture Over the Last Hundred Years
Drugs can be described as any form of chemical substance that can be used to cause, or alter perception, mood, and other psychological states in human beings (Price, 2011). These chemical substances can be sourced naturally or synthetically modified. The practice of using chemical substances to alter the way people feel about the environment or within the inner self dates back to the ancient years. As a result, people used drugs to relieve pain, sooth themselves or even protect themselves from infections. As Dvorsky (2012), there are very complex developments that have taken effect in the way medications are being administered to patients compared to the ways the medications were administered 100-200 years ago. Over the past century, issues relating to the use of drugs have made headlines to hold a very firm position in the society. Research has indicated over time that, there is widespread change in the use of drugs especially in popular cultures raising a concern on how to effectively control the misuse of drugs. The different modes of administering drugs have made medication an instant healing process, although the most effective drugs are becoming highly addictive to the patients (Golub, Johnson & Dunlap, 2005). Indeed, it is clear through the history that drugs that were used in the aftermath of the Second World War became apparent and most minority populations became the addictive users.
As the contemporary age embraces technology, new integrations are being made on the manufacturing process of the drugs to suite curtain purpose contrary to the normal healing that the drugs were previously meant for (Price, 2011). By the mid 1960’s the drug culture was causing moral panic in cultural setups that were described as the hippie culture. The hippie culture proposed extravagant use of hedonism and were very unreceptive to work or discipline as a result. As time went on into the 21st century, new entrants into the design and market creped in like cannabis and amphetamines. This has affected many lives across Europe and the United States. Even though the countries are trying to control the misuse of the drugs today, most cultural activities dating way back to the early 20th century are associated to the use of the same drugs making it hard for the governments to fully implement the drugs control Acts (Price, 2011).
Propensity of drugs
According to Cultural Survival (n.d), drugs have a natural propensity that dates back to the ancient times making it hard to implement new policies on how popular cultures can use drugs in the current contemporary age. Archeological evidence indicates that human beings in the early 20th century to the mid-20th century used drugs to seek different alterations of consciousness. As such, people had to seek psychoactive substances. By 1910 the lake people of Switzerland used poppy seeds to heal or as a balm to childbirth pains in women. During the First World War, the same poppy seeds were used as a balm for the injured soldiers in war. As a result, and after the war, the poppy seeds were largely used to relief pain in most parts of Europe and Middle East. Most people were attracted to the drug as a cheap remedy to body inflammations creating curiosity among the popular culturalisms that ensued the drug to opium and later named it poppy opium, which meant to enjoy. This made the drug to lose its original function as a pain reliever and became a psychoactive substance.
In china, it has been the culture of the Chinese to cultivate the cannabis famously known as the hemp over 4500 years. According to the Chinese culture, the cannabis was believed to grow at a spot where divine drops of ambrosia fell from heaven. The plant was treated as holy and anyone who consumed it has the mind turned agile and granted long life. By 1936, Chinese people still were aware of the intoxications that were caused by the cannabis on the human brain and respected the plant keeping it holy. Cannabis was used as a stimulant for sexual prowess and would only be administered to newly married couples especially the men. Even though some old men in the society were given the drug as a psychoactive substance to stimulate their mind, the concept was not well interpreted to the popular cultures. As time went by, cannabis was the highly misused drug in the European countries as well as the United States indicating an evolutionary trend. The only difference is that among the Chinese, the drug was preserved for special persons in the society. Today, young people in popular cultures use the cannabis to stimulate themselves and achieve altered mental states.
Drugs were mainly egested as chewable material or in some other circumstances external applicable especially for inflammations since the ancient times. As technology was integrated in the manufacture of drugs, medicinal drugs were packaged and sold inform of tablets, a trend that began after the Second World War. During the war, soldiers were given powdered drugs. This made it hard for physicians to administer the medication especially when at the war front. After the invention and conversion of powdered drugs to tablets, syrups were introduced for children and for stomach ailments (Manning, 2008). Syrups had a higher rate of dissolution it the patients stomach compered to tablets (Golub, Johnson & Dunlap, 2005). This led to the invention of injection liquids, which are directly injected, into the nervous system of the patient making the patient to have instant recovery. Although poised as the best medicine administration method, injections provide analytical challenges and are highly prone to overdose, paralysis if not well administered and the spread of contagious diseases. Injections are becoming highly misused especially in the popular cultures where people want to share drugs using a single injection (Roy et al., 2016). This has led to an increase in the spread of diseases like HIV/AIDs. In the current years, injections are highly used to abuse illicit drugs warranting the future of injection drugs. Some highly addictive drugs are used by young men and are administered using the injections.
The confluence of Drugs to cultural strains
Towards the end of the 19th century, many drugs that are now considered as illicit across Australia, America and Europe, were mostly used by the nobles in the society. In fact, high and mighty people in the society like George Washington documented hemp as the best pain and inflammation reliever. Drugs never lacked critics then just as it is the case currently. As a result, seminars were organized and most of the events were free to everyone (Schroeder & Ford, 2012). Families attended such events and most of the drug users though addicted to the drugs looked to live comfortable life. This made the less fortunate in the society to appreciate the drugs.
With the growth in the economy of the united states in the early 20th century, international commerce grew leading to industrial revolution that saw waves of immigrants flocking to the United States. This brought about a massive cultural change leading to the growth of the popular culture that mostly comprised of the blacks. With the attraction to the noble people drugs creeping in, most of the cultural and poor individuals found it easy to alter their minds using the drugs so as to work effectively. This made the drug to be spread across American plantations and industries lacking the meaning as a pain reliever but as a stimulant (Boys, Marsden & Strang, 2001). By 1950, most slums across Jamaica embraced the use of hump but as mind deterrent and not as a pain reliever. The consumption rates were high and uncontrollable.
After the second world war it became evident that most drugs had made their way to various parts of the world. War against drug abuse was instigated but up to date there is still no sign of victory (Schroeder & Ford, 2012). Children in the contemporary are falling prey to the drug cartels who have sophisticated the art in the manufacture, packaging, and transportation of the drugs. Unlike in the early 1920’s to the late 1950’s when drugs were consumed raw or the seeds plucked out, drugs have been modified to resemble normal tablets, or powders making it easier to consume within the shortest time possible. The 1960’s style of consuming drugs was described as sit-ins while engulfed in fear that the drugs would be addictive. Towards the 1970’s, the veterans showed fewer to no side effects from the drugs. This attracted more users who thought that the those advocating for minimal use of the drugs were not well acquainted with the required information on the side effects of the drugs. This saw more hippies smoke Marijuana, and young children in the slums introduced to hard drugs like heroin. On the other hand, Americans are becoming more addictive to antidepressants. According to Dennis, (2015), close to 3 out of every 5 Americans take a given type of prescribed medication either some anti-depressants, or high cholesterol reducers or diabetes drugs.
Most drug users especially those who were exposed to drugs at a very young age became addicted to the use of the drugs early as well. As a result, after the state government enforced measures to control the use of the drugs, these drug affiliates looked for alternative means of altering their minds, which were not explored by the government to be illegal (Schroeder & Ford, 2012). As such, there were close to seven distinctive regimes that were almost identical across the globe. The 1950’s were described by rampant use of alcohol. Bars across Europe, America, and Australia would open as early as 8:00 am and shut down late in the night. This made beer and other forms of liquor available for the users throughout the day. To enable the less fortunate to afford the beer, smaller bottles were introduced making it easier for the persons living in the popular cultures to acquire their favorite drinks.
There was an increase in the number of drunkards across the streets of United Kingdom making the government to enforce new laws aimed at curbing the habit. As a result, manufacturers were instructed to repackage the beer in larger quantities to disadvantage careless consumers. At the same time, the opening hours for all bars were adjusted and restricted to evening hours. This made the alcohol addicts to feel disadvantaged and opted for the lysergic acid diethylamide commonly referred to as LSD (Moloney, Hunt & Evans, 2008). The LSD hallucinogens were used by people working in heavy material production industries. The LSD’s increase the appetite of the users besides altering the functioning of the brain. Most users reported to trigger preexisting health conditions in the body, especially increased acids in the digestive track. The governments imposed a barn on the substance leading to the introduction of cannabis as a remedy to those addicted to LSD. The LSD’s were so much misused in the market until the British Broadcasting Corporation had to burn the playing of the 1960’s hit Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds by Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The song was speculated to have lyrics that promoted the use of the LSD. Although, LSD was described by many users to have less negative effects compared to cannabis, most addicts did not have another remedy. As such, cannabis was highly used during the 1970’s.
According to Robinson (2002), in the article “decades of drug use: data from the ’60s and ’70s”, cannabis was smoked by both the young and old in the slums. Due to the mental alteration that it causes to the brain in stimuli, most of young men were forced into unlawful activities raising the crime rate in slum areas. Cannabis is highly addictive and has severe effects to the brain. Users become psychoactive and are unable to themselves since the minds are still at a tender age. After the control and banning of the use of cannabis in various countries towards the end of the 1970’s, another drug was introduced in the market. In 1982, the first case of a highly heroin intoxicated patient in Europe was reported (Moloney, Hunt & Evans, 2008). There was no proper legislation to burn the drug from the market. Manufacturers of drugs had improvised new methods of packaging the heroin making it hard for government agencies to control the importation and trade of the drugs. Towards the end of the 1980’s most users and sellers were being arrested sale and use of burned substances igniting the efforts to reinvent another drug for sale in the slums across Jamaica.
In the 1990’s the British coastal towns became the largest blackspots for the unemployed. As such it was easy to smuggle hard drugs into Britain using the unemployed young men on the coastal town. This saw an increase in the use of ecstasy during the 1990’s (Robinson, 2002). The drugs were sold inform of tablets and an affordable price. The acidic concentration in one tablet was very high that on tablet would be enough to serve more than three mature people. Cocaine was also introduced in the market and at a very low price making it hard to control the spread and use of the drugs (Roy et al., 2016). Due to cultural inheritance, a new class of cocaine users was born. Unlike the first alkaloid that was isolated from the coca leaves, and which made soldiers to remain strong during war, the new form of cocaine was sold in pharmacies and used by surgeons to induce anesthesia to the area to be operated. This made more surgeons to be passive users of the drug. Due to addiction, there is increased number of cocaine user globally.
evolution and the illicit use of drugs provide a powerful framework that can
easily help a scholar to understand the various trends that are available and
which drug users use. Social-cultural significance remains one of the major
driving forces that has led to the availability of drug pandemics among users.
There are many drug generations and phenomena that seem to recur as a result of
the various trends in cultural evolutions. People always want to associate
themselves with the practices that were socially acceptable in their community
of origin regardless of the dynamics in time and trend. As such, there is no
proper description of the causes of an increase or decrease in a drug era. As
the world evolves, various cultural dimensions of drug administration influence
the effects and risks that users are exposed to causing negative health
consequences. The use of injection medicine exposes illicit drug users to more
dangers of contracting diseases compared to the methods of drug administration
that were available 100 hundred years ago. Injections take the shortest time to
administer yet the drug takes effect instantly eliminating the chances of
agonizing the patient in prolonged painful moment. Whether the drugs are
illicit or not, the users’ bodies become addictive to the instant effect of the
drug leading to severe progress patterns and clinical course. Cultural setups
and historical evolutions have greater influence on the type of drugs as used
in the society today. The documentations available help the current scholars
associate the drugs to various occasions as used by the cultural herbalists of
the nobles in the ancient times. The evolutionary approach makes viable the use
of some drugs that are available in the market today. On the other hand, there
is adverse misinterpretation of some of the concepts as to how the drugs were
administered before and how the medications are to be administered in the
current contemporary age. As a result, young people are becoming addictive to
the use of illicit drugs.
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