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History of drug war in America traces the past

Getting a drug charge in North Carolina can be such a negative thing. You can lose your job because you have been charged with possession; you can alienate your family who have been there for you in the past. You can even have a record if the charge sticks. You aren't the first person to be charged with possessing or trafficking drugs. As a matter of fact, there is a long history that goes back to the 1960s of drug abuse in America.

In the late 1960s, recreational drug used came to be quite popular and became more mainstream. It was also seen as a way to rebel against the ways of the older generation. The Johnson administration in 1968 created several drug agencies. Drug testing began in all Washington D.C. penitentiaries of all incoming prisoners and this lead to methadone clinics being started.

In the 1970s cocaine became the drug of choice and was considered glamorous. The Drug Enforcement Agency came into being and large quantities of this drug were being seized from Columbia in route to the U.S. by this agency. The cocaine trade became violent and there were many turf wars.

In the 1980s, crack, a smokeable form of cocaine, became the popular drug of choice because it was inexpensive and very available on the street. It began to be "the drug" in New York and rapidly spread to the rest of the country.

In the 1990s, Mexico was the place that drugs came from that were available to the average user in America. It was and remains today a violent way of life to be in the drug business in Mexico. There were killings of some very powerful people in this time period. Some spoke out against drugs while others were from rival gangs.

Today, we are in the midst of making Marijuana legal and giving amnesty to prisoners who sold small amounts of drugs in the past. You don't need to feel all alone in this if you are arrested on drug charges. There is a huge history that goes with you.

Source: PBS, "Thirty Years of America's Drug War," accessed Aug. 27, 2015

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