Nov 25, 2002: Part III – History of Drugs of Abuse

The baby boom generation knew little about drugs and therefore, offered the drug culture priests a slew of ready disciples.  When it was discovered that marijuana didn’t drive you mad, the government lost what little credibility it had.  In this age of youth rebellion, the fact that drugs shocked parents was all the more reason to use them.  Hollywood, ever sensitive to changing mores, romanticized the pot-smoking antiheroes in Easy Rider and “let it all hang out” hippies in Hair.  Baby boomers were fooled into thinking you could use drugs and not get addicted to them (as were the people of the 1890s).  Marijuana had a meaning beyond getting high-it was a shared identity among people who had a common point of view-parents are stupid, the government is immoral, and the war in Vietnam is wrong.

Slowly the dark side emerged.  Haight Ashbury and Flower Power became a slew of strung out addicts.  For many college students, LSD became a bad trip.  Even so, illicit drug use had become entrenched in our society.  Drugs, though illegal, were acceptable.

Next week Part IV

As always, if there are any questions, call the MTPC.

I am interested in any questions that you would like answered in “Question of the Week.”  Please e-mail me with any suggestions at

Donna Seger, M.D.
Medical Director, Middle Tennessee Poison Center