Many people think that the beginning of substance abuse and chemical dependency in this country was the “hippie” movement of the 1960s or perhaps the cocaine craze of the 1920s. These assumptions are incor rect; substance abuse began as soon as humans realized that certain leaves, twigs, cacti, barks, etc. could be used to produce an altered state of consciousness or relief from pain. History books, historical newspapers, and even the Bible contain references to chemical sub stances being used to alter perception or reality. Early people used plants and herbs to cure or relieve the maladies that they experienced. Herbs and plants were the basis for all the early “medicines”. Many of these materials did, indeed, have medicinal properties. For example, early Native Americans used the bark of the willow tree to make a tea to give relief from body aches and pains as well as headaches; we now know that willow bark contains a form of aspirin. Some substances were addictive or capable of producing hallucinations. These halluci nations were thought by some early peoples to be communication with the spirit world. Thus, not all the “medicines” were used to seek relief from pain; some were used to seek escape from reality. Today is no different.