At the beginning of this century, racists in the United States, spreading all kinds of nonsense, stubbornly instilled fears that blacks of the South, mad with cocaine, could attack whites. In 1906, a law on clean food and drugs was introduced, which made cocaine and morphine illegal and created a platform for the legally sanctioned prohibition of synthetic compounds causing addiction, which were found in the opium poppy and coca plant. Unlike tobacco, tea and coffee, which were first brought to bayonets and then legalized, morphine, heroin and cocaine began their careers in modern society as legal substances, but, being recognized as contributing to addiction, were prohibited. Why these funds, and not others? Maybe they cause more serious addiction? Or does the use of a subcutaneous injection itself cause unpleasant feelings? MaybeIs there any difference in the social and psychological effects of these substances, which made them a scapegoat for the harm done to society by alcohol and tobacco? All these are difficult questions that are not easy to answer. Nevertheless, if we want to understand the completely different nature of the atmosphere of the pharmacological market and drug use in the 20th century, these are questions that we need to try to answer.

The answer may partly consist in the fact that by the beginning of the 20th century there had been almost a century of experience in the use of synthetic drugs that cause addiction and its consequences in social terms. The stupid glorification of each new pharmacological agent as some kind of universal panacea for all ills was demonstrated quite well. The fact that it was possible to deny or leave unrecorded documents in the XVIII and even the XIX century, is not so easy to hide in the twentieth century. Increasingly improved means of communication and transportation make it possible to quickly disseminate information about drugs, as well as drugs themselves.

These technologies contributed to the immaculately organized and skillfully managed large criminal syndicates. But the emergence of these syndicates and modern systems for the production and distribution of drugs required a certain amount of connivance on the part of governments. Addiction characteristic of hard drugs has given them a bad reputation. Governments that have been selling drugs for centuries with impunity have suddenly found themselves in a completely new atmosphere of ideas of sobriety and social reforms, and were forced to transfer this profitable industry from ordinary commerce to the status of illegal activities. Now, governments that previously received money from the sale of drugs will receive them through a system of bribes and through situations in which they will be paid to “look the other way”.

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