Throughout history humans have sought ways to alter their consciousness, ease their discomfort, and treat illness through the use of medicinal plants and chemicals. Native Americans began using the hallucinogenic cactus peyote ten thousand years ago. It is believed that the ancient Sumerians used opium as early as 5000 B.C. Avante-garde artists and writers in Paris used cannabis in the mid-nineteenth century. And in 1884, the Austrian psychiatrist Sigmund Freud took cocaine to treat his depression and reported experiencing an "exhilaration and lasting euphoria." Each anthology in this series focuses on one drug and reveals how it has been used and abused throughout history up to the present. Primary sources provide firsthand accounts by drug users, journalists, and government officials. Secondary sources offer analysis and context about trends and anti-drug efforts. Readers will discover that while drug abuse is a contemporary issue, drug use--and efforts to control drug use--is nothing new.
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