America & Opioids – A Doomed Marriage: Part 2 – Shutting Down Addiction Clinics: The Nation’s Secret Shame

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, drug addicts had choices. They could stay at private asylums, try to abstain from drugs, or undergo withdrawal with the supervision of a doctor. However, few addicts were legally committed to institutional treatment.

However, within 20-30 years, society went from seeing addicts and their problems as benign to viewing them as a plague. Extremists from the 1920s and 1930s even suggested that the best solution for the drug problem was firing squads as only dead addicts could become abstinent!

Cocaine and heroin quickly spread in the early 1900s and were widely used in immigrant slums. What came next was a startling transformation in how individuals addicted to narcotics were viewed. Then Harry Anslinger arrived and saw addicts as collateral damage in his vendetta against drugs.

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