History of Drug Abuse in the United States

Subject: Sociology
Pages: 1
Words: 233
Reading time:
< 1 min
Study level: Master

When it comes to discussing victimless crimes – that is, crimes where those involved are willing participants – one is to inevitably address drug abuse. In Chapter 14 of Criminology Today: An Integrative Introduction, which this paper summarizes, Schmalleger (2018) explores the issue. Illegal drugs in America were made use of throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, but it was almost exclusively artistic individuals who lent themselves to them. A change occurred in the late 1960s – early 1970s, during the hippie movement, when psychoactive substances became massively accepted.

There is quite a number of sources providing data on the issue in the United States. A particularly interesting report has been published by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). It shows the amount users of specific drugs among Americans who are 12 and older, according to which marijuana is the one most commonly resorted to – and by a substantial margin. However, the percentage of the population using it varies depending on the state.

It has been estimated that if the current statistics are accurate, the implication would be that nowadays, drug abuse is not as serious of a problem as it was before. Unfortunately, there might be some methodological problems when it comes to conducting nationwide surveys that are able to make the results not as authoritative. Nevertheless, NSDUH authors have recognized and acknowledged that on their website.


Schmalleger, F. (2018). Criminology today: An integrative introduction. Pearson.