Drug Use in the 1960s
The time: the 1960s. The place: United States of America. Who? The youth. Doing what? Using drugs. Why? Many reasons. The 1960s proved to be a very turbulent time in the history of American youth growing up. There were many different activist movements all over the country. The primary drug user was the male college student involved in politics. He used mostly marijuana, some cocaine or LSD and of course alcohol. The sixites culminated with perhaps the biggest public scene of drug use ever: Woodstock. American youth in the sixties turned to drugs for a variety of reasons including the Vietnam War, the feeling of rebellion, activist movements, and the general pleasure-oriented society.
The society in which these rebellious youth were growing up was one of the pleasure seekers. Dr. Donald B. Louria says “American public is literally enmeshed in an orgy of self-medication.”1 Society was pleasure-oriented: the only things that mattered were those that appealed to the senses. When a pleasure-oriented society has too much leisure time, it leads to moral destruction. Simmel, a sociologist, stated “The deepest problems of modern life derive from the claim of the individual to preserve the autonomy and individuality of his existence in the face of overwhelming social forces.”2
There were many issues raised in the sixties as far as activist movements. Kierna Mayo Dawsey states that the sixties was an “era marked by social protest and rebellion.”3 These include racial justice, abortion, civil rights, women’s liberation, and the United States’ military role in Vietnam. These groups were trying to express “their commitment to such traditional American values as freedom, democracy, and equality.”4 Bret Eynon st…
11. See Fort, 211.
12. See Fort, 220.
13. See Novack.
14. See Novack.
15. See Dawsey.
16. See Fort, 25.
17. See Fort, 157.
18. Harry Nelson, “LSD Still on Some Minds,” Los Angeles Times, 25 March 1991, B3.
19. See Fort, 36.
20. See Fort, 36.
21. See Nelson, B3.
22. Lawrence J. Dessner, ” ‘Woodstock,’ A Nation at War,” (Toledo, Ohio: ToledoUniversity), 769.
23. See Dessner, 771.
24. See Dessner, 776.
Mary C. Dufour, “Twenty-five Years of Alcohol Epidemiology: Trends, Techniques, and Transitions,” Alcohol Research and Health Spring 1995: 77-84.
David C. Lewis, “Putting Training About Alcohol and Other Drugs Into the Mainstream of Medical Education,” Alcohol Research and Health 1989: 8+.
Brent Q. Hafen ed, Drug Abuse: Psychology, Sociology, Pharmacology. (Utah: Brigham Young University Press, 1973).