Use of other drugs was also a big problem, and early substance-related legislation targeted these other drugs as well. For instance, the Drug Importation Act, passed by Congress in 1848, made sure that the U.S. Customs Service inspected all imported medical drugs to ensure they were not counterfeited, diluted, tampered with, or dangerous. Other state laws made it a crime to mislabel or contaminate prescription or over-the- counter medications.


In the aftermath of the American Civil War (1861–1865), the American people became aware of the dangers of opiates (drugs made from the opium poppy). Morphine was first developed in the early 19th century. It was used heavily throughout the Civil War to treat all sorts of ailments, from dysentery to malaria, and as a painkiller for soldiers undergoing surgery. At least 200,000 soldiers returned from the war dependent on morphine, bringing the harrowing effects of addiction home to small towns throughout the nation. Around this time, cocaine, heroin, and other drugs were used in over- the-counter products, often without any rules or regulations whatsoever. For example, the Bayer Company promoted heroin as a way to relieve coughs and induce sleep. Cocaine and heroin were also sold as ways of treating alcoholism. Even soft drinks like Coca-Cola, which were widely advertised as healthy “tonics,” contained cocaine. The science behind addiction was not yet understood, but people could clearly see the impacts. As the effects of substance misuse became more recognized, people began to demand that government address the problem. The first outright ban of drugs came in 1875, when the city of San Francisco outlawed the smoking of opium in opium dens. But the motive for the law had little to do with public health. Instead, it was an anti-immigrant

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