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10 of the Biggest Moments in Drug Treatment History

There are numerous moments in history that really made a difference in drug treatment; starting in the 1700s to today in 2014. I’ve done some research and found what I consider to be 10 of the biggest moments in drug treatment history.

10 of the Biggest Moments in Drug Treatment History

#1: 1750 to early 1800s – Alcoholic mutual aid societies (sobriety “Circles”) are created within numerous Native American tribes. Some are part of, or progress into, abstinence-based Native American cultural revival movements and sobriety groups. 

#2: The 1800s – Dr. Benjamin Rush calls for formation of a “Sober House” for the care of the established drunkard. The Swedish physician Magnus Huss defines a disease resulting from long-lasting alcohol ingestion and names it Alcoholismus chronicus. This symbols the introduction of the term alcoholism. The New York State Inebriate Asylum, the first in the country, is released in Binghamton, NY. A developing network of inebriate asylums will treat alcoholism and addiction to an increasing list of other drugs: cocaine, morphine, opium, chloral, ether, and chloroform.

#3: 1907-1913 – First of two waves of public laws is approved calling for the required decontamination of “defectives”: the mentally ill, the developmentally disabled, and alcoholics and addicts.

#4: 1920-1933 – The 18th Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibited the sale, manufacturing and importation of alcohol (fascinatingly, the actual act of drinking it was not illegal). This 13-year period was called Prohibition. Support for the legislation had been gaining ground for periods through the anti-alcohol determinations of the temperance movement, which finally accomplished its goal of a national ban.

#5: 1935 – The opening of Shadel Sanatorium marks the starter of aversive conditioning in institutional alcoholism treatment scenery. The first federal “narcotics farm” (U.S. Public Health Prison Hospital) opens in Lexington, Kentucky. The second facility opens in Fort Worth, Texas in 1938. This marks the commencement of federal participation in addiction research and addiction treatment. The meeting of Bill W. and Dr. Bob S. mark the establishment of Alcoholics Anonymous. The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous is published in 1939.

#6: 1948-1950 – The “Minnesota Model” of chemical dependence treatment arises in the collaboration between three institutions: Pioneer House, Hazelden, and Willmar State Hospital. Disulfram (Antabuse) presented as an aide in the treatment of alcoholism in the U.S. Other drugs used in the treatment of alcoholism during this era include LSD, barbiturates, and amphetamines (Benzedrine).

#7: 1963-1966 – Providing for local alcoholism and addiction therapy are incorporated in federal legislation backing the development of local comprehensive community mental health centers, anti-poverty programs, and criminal justice diversion programs. Such federal finance rises throughout the 1960s.

As alcoholism programs spread, there is an intense dispute over the question of who is skilled to treat the alcoholic. Pressures overflow between “paraprofessional” recovering alcoholics and psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers within freshly developing alcoholism treatment programs.

#8: 1964-1975 – The insurance industry begins to reimburse the treatment of alcoholism on par with the treatment of other illnesses. This leads to a dramatic extension in private and hospital-based inpatient treatment programs.

#9: 1982 – The federal Block Grant Program transfers responsibility for the supply of treatment and prevention facilities to the states. Former First Lady Betty Ford gives her name to a treatment center for alcoholism and other drug addictions. Cocaine Anonymous is established.

#10: 1985-1990 – Addiction treatment becomes more and more concerned about “special populations” and promotes specialized treatment paths for women, youths, the elderly, gays and lesbians, and the “dually diagnosed.” As the trials of treating new forms of cocaine addiction grow, relapse tracks also become a common treatment innovation.

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