The use of alcohol and drugs has long been a contentious issue in the world. The historical records reveal that human beings have long been using drugs and alcohol to alter their state of consciousness as soon as they discovered how to use their surrounding flora to achieve a different psychological status. The ancient civilizations all have some early record of the use of alcohol in their activities; examples of such civilizations include Egypt, China, and Mesopotamia. The use varied from one society to another, but the constant factor was that fruits and some plants were used to make alcohol through the process of introduction of some bacteria or yeast.
Drug use is also not a new phenomenon in human society. There are some societies that used the plants in their environments to alter their state of consciousness. For instance, the Native American tribes used some plants and drugs to get to a certain state of consciousness during their day to day activities or specific religious rituals and ceremonies. The strength of the effects of the drug determined how widely it was used in the society. The stronger drugs were designated as the senior spiritual leaders such as the shamans and healers. The mild drugs were circulated among the public for their use.
The societies that used these drugs had systems that were effective in ensuring that the members of the society did not misuse the drugs. The plants with potent drugs were revered and honored for the effects they had on the user. The mechanisms for regulation were very effective. For instance, the kava drug that is popular in the South Pacific islands was used during religious ceremonies, and its use was strictly regulated so as to avoid misuse. However, when the missionaries were successful in their attempts to abolish the drug was now available to many people, and there was no formal setting for its use. The youth took up the use of the drug for recreation, and this has led to some serious problems in these communities. The misuse of the drug has increased the number of addicts to the drug.
In the modern society, there are some communities that are attributed to having a preference for some certain drugs. For instance, the African Americans and Hispanic Americans are known to have a liking to marijuana and the Chinese to opium. Nevertheless, this doesn't mean they are biologically tuned to like the drug and become misusers. There are social factors that contribute to the people using the drugs. For instance, if the drug is culturally accepted as being part of the customs in the community.
For instance, there are Native Indians in the Amazon who constantly use snuff in their day to day activities. In the American society, that community can be labeled as a community of misusers and addicts. However, in the eyes of the members of that community, they are just practicing a part of their culture, and there is nothing wrong with the practice. Drugs are used to put people in the social classes that exist. The high class will call their drunkenness social drinking and label the lower classes as people who drink to the excess.
In conclusion, the issue of drugs and alcohol use in the different communities is a wide topic that has not been fully exhausted. The use of a single standard to judge the use of drugs and alcohol in other communities might not be the best approach since each community has systems that work for it.
Trimble, Joseph E. Readings in psychology and culture. New York, NY: Allyn & Bacon, 2007. Print
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