The Discovery House Blog

A Brief History of Alcohol and Drug Treatment

February 11, 2016 Addiction Education

President’s day is upon us, and we felt this would give us an opportunity to look through the history of alcohol and drug treatment and summarize the bills and laws that have affected how drugs and alcohol have been classified, sold, and treated in the United States. All of these dates and bills are significant in how they’ve shaped current U.S. policies and attitude towards drug culture.

Where Did the Regulation of Alcohol and Drug Treatment Start?

44 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, under the presidency of James Monroe, 11 physicians met in Washington D.C. to establish the U.S. Pharmacopeia, whose duties are to ensure a standard quality of all pharmaceutical drugs sold in the U.S. 28 years later, The Drug Importation Bill is signed in by Congress (The first bill dealing with drugs or alcohol to be signed in by the U.S. Legislative Branch), which allows U.S. Customs officers to stop and inspect drugs being imported to the U.S.

A Brief History of Alcohol and Drug Treatment
The next major development in the regulation of drugs and alcohol was the 1906 Food and Drugs act passed by congress which banned foreign and interstate traffic of adulterated food and drugs. This act also created the Food and Drug Administration. Just 6 years later, the Sherley Amendment is enacted which banned companies from falsifying therapeutic claims on medicine. A year before this, companies were also banned from leaving out ingredients from medicine. This became a political issue when Mrs. Winslow’s Soothing Syrup for babies was causing many infant deaths due to the unlabeled morphine included in the syrup. In 1914 The Harrison Narcotic Act was passed that increased the measures taken for bookkeeping when dealing with drugs that included a significant level of narcotics. This was done to ensure proper regulation on these substances.

Prohibition and the Fight Against Drugs and Alcohol Abuse

In the year 1920, the United States Eighteenth Amendment took effect which banned the sale, transportation and importation of alcohol. This only lasted 13 years until the Twenty-first Amendment was passed in 1933 which repealed the Eighteenth Amendment., once again allowing the sale, and transportation of alcohol.

We’re going to jump over some minor legislation to 1951 when the Durham-Humphrey Amendment was passed which defines what drugs can, and cannot be used without the consent of a medical professional, as well enacts laws which prohibit sales of these drugs by non-practitioners. Signed in 1965, and enacted on February 1st 1966, the Drug Abuse Control Amendments were a direct response to the spike in abuse of stimulants and depressants. The laws re-classified any drug that contained any size quantity of Barbituric acid as a controlled substance, and banned sales of these drugs except by medical professionals. Another aspect of these laws was that President Lyndon B. Johnson created the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs which was done in hope of consolidating, and streamlining the policing of the traffic of drugs. Fast forward to 1972 when the “Over-the-Counter Drug Review” begun to take a closer look at drugs sold over the counter without prescriptions. New levels of safety and upgraded regulations and labels were put on these types of drugs.

Where Does Alcohol and Drug Treatment Stand Now?

At this point, the U.S. has a pretty solid drug and alcohol policy. There aren’t many new bills that are signed in that deal with street drugs, but a few here and there are notable. In 2009, the FDA announced the ban of the sale, and manufacture of cigarettes flavored like candy, fruit or clove. This was done in hopes of preventing children from wanting to smoke.

The United States History of regulation of Drug and Alcohol can be seen here. Most of the major developments happened in the first part of the 20th century around the age of prohibition. We hope that this brief history lesson has made for an educational read on this 3 day weekend.

If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction to alcohol and needs alcohol help or inpatient substance abuse treatment, call us today at 1 (855) 203-7930. The knowledgeable addiction specialists at The Discovery House will help you find alcohol recovery programs that will work for you and your specific situation.

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