Drugs have been used for medicinal and recreational purposes since the United State's inception. in the 1890s, Sears and Roebuck catalogue included an offer for a syringe and small amount of cocaine for $1.50. In some states, laws to ban or regulate drugs were passed in the 1800s, and the first act to ban Morphines and opiums took place in 1890. Drugs continued to be banned throughout the years, such as marijuana, cocaine, and smoking opiums.
In 1970, President Richard Nixon signed the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). This law called for the regulation of certain drugs and substances. The CSA outlined five different "schedules" which were used to classify drugs based on their medical application and potential for abuse. Schedule 1 drugs are considered as the most dangerous as they pose a very high risk of addiction with little evidence and medical benefits. Some of those drugs include Marijuana, LSD, heroin, and MDMA (Ecstasy). The substances that considered as less addictive such as cough medicine with small amounts of codeine fall under category 5.
In 1971, Nixon officially declared a "War on Drugs" stating that drug abuse was "Public enemy number 1". In the 60s, there was a rise of recreational drug use that most likely led to president Nixon's focus on targeting some types of substance abuse. As part of the War on Drugs initiative, Nixon increased federal funding for drug-control agencies, and proposed strict measures such as a mandatory prison sentencing for a drug crime.
While Nixon did many great things for the drug war, the question is. Were there ulterior motives behind the war on drugs? During an interview in 1994, Nixon's advisor provided information suggesting that the war on drugs campaign did have ulterior motives which mainly involved helping Nixon keep his job. In the interview, Ehrlichman explained that the Nixon campaign had two enemies: "the anti -war left and black people." His comment has led many to question Nixon's real intentions in advocating for drug reform and whether or not racism played a role in his decisions.