chapter  3
10 Pages

Historical overview

WithG. Hussein Rassool

The use of psychoactive substances dates back thousands of years and records of ancient civilisations provide evidence of the use of alcohol and plants with psychoactive properties. From the earliest time, alcohol and drugs have been used for medicinal, religious, cultural and recreational purposes and as a social lubricant. The use of alcohol and drugs throughout history helps us to understand the distinctive nature of the use and misuse of psychoactive substances in today’s society and the changes in the use and misuse of alcohol and drugs. This chapter reviews the historical development in the use of alcohol, opium, cannabis, cocaine, amphetamines, hallucinogenic drugs and coffee.