Providing straightforward information pertaining to drugs, drug use & drug policy. The Grey Pages promotes drug-related literacy and advocates a system of viable and tolerant drug policies. This is my personal collection of commentaries, essays, tid-bits, and other such writings on everything ranging from drug use, drug policy and drug-myths, to drug-science, addiction, human behavior, and the workings of the human brain. I started this blog with a particular focus on opioids, and over the past year have found my interest gravitate toward the intriguing, ever-changing world of designer intoxicants (i.e. "research chemicals" or "designer drugs").

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Drug History Timeline Pt 5 (Modern War On Drugs Era)


Controlled Substance Act establishes drug scheduling system. (1970)

Nixon declares "War on Drugs". (1971)

The Drug Enforcement Administration is created to take over the role previously filled by the Bureau of Narcotics & Dangerous Drugs. The office of diversion control becomes a DEA branch focusing on prescription drugs. (1973)

Drug Warrior and New York Governer Nelson Rockefeller introduces mandatory minimum sentencing laws for the possession of personal amounts of illicit narcotics; legislation included mandatory sentences of 15 years to life in prison for mere possession of relatively small quantities. (Initially he had supported the death penalty, but others did not share this sentiment) (1973)

World opium shortage depletes US codeine supplies and brings on what some call a pain and coughing crisis. (early 70's)

By request from the Nixon Administration, Bio-engineers rush to develop a Thebaine only poppy, in large part to replace foreign opium poppy supplies which are currently being depleted via Nixon's opium crusade. (early 70's)

Methadone Maintenance Treatment, first piloted in NYC, goes mainstream in the US. (early 70's)


MS Contin is representative of the push for more liberal pain management in medicine, and marks the beginning of the widespread utilization of opioids for chronic use in noncancer pain. For the first time since the the early 19th century, opioids begin to enjoy a less stigmatized place in therapy. (1987)


Calfornia adopts its "Three Strikes" sentencing laws. Other states follow suit with similar legislation. (1994)

Duragesic and OxyContin, both long acting narcotic analgesics, are introduced to the US market and aggressively marketed for treatment of chronic pain. Collusion between the pharmaceutical industry and medical practice leads to a trend of increased opioid use for the chronic treatment of nonterminal pain. (1990's)

This period marks a general change in attitudes regarding the use of controlled substances in chronic therapy. Long term palliation of symptoms with controlled substances with no intent to "cure" becomes a more common and socially acceptable practice. (late 1990's)


Management of pain with opioids becomes its own subspecialty in some areas, with Pain Clinics in Florida which capitalize on the high demand for opioid analgesic prescriptions. Massive demand, coupled with repressive prescription-only drug laws incentivize enterprising yet unscrupulous Doctors to grab their piece of the market. Many clinics accept cash only and begin dispensing medication themselves rather than supplying paper prescriptions for filling at outside pharmacies. The "pain management" industry evolves to resemble the medical marijuana industry in some respects, while supply fuels demand by creating repeat consumers. Incidentally, destructive and harmful use of presciption opioids reaches significant levels, even in the non metropolitan, middle class population; The media sensationalizes the crisis; running stories of self destruction and death, often in teens. Doctors come under scrutiny from grieving families and the media, for the irresponsibility and negligence of their loved ones or friends. Federal Drug Enforcement expands to target doctors and medical practice, launching a paramilitary domestic assault on doctors and patients, and leading a new phase in the war on drugs that is even more over-reaching & micromanaging than the last (2000 to present day)

The internet is increasingly convenient sales front for the illicit prescription drug trade; web based businesses offer RX narcotics and controlled substances without prescriptions required, though many are actually scams. The DEA launches assaults on internet drug suppliers. (Early 2000's)

DATA allows medical opioid maintenance in dependent users by take-home prescription, using licensed CIII drugs specially approved for this purpose (2000)

OxyContin has become widely marketed, while its intentional misuse is brought to the attention of the FDA. Because the risk of the drug is present mainly when knowingly and intentionally misused, the misuse is addressed through black box warning labels. (2002)

Buprenorphine is changed from class V to class III of the CSA List, shortly after, Suboxone & Subutex are approved by FDA for opioid dependence. (2002)

FDA threatens a ban on Palladone due to inadvertent overdoses when mixed with alcohol. It is concluded that due to the widespread casual use of alcohol, there is a significant danger of unintentional overdose, and this danger can not be effectively addressed through warning labels alone. (2005)

Purdue Pharma is convicted in court for their misleading marketing of their narcotic medication, OxyContin (2007)

Attitudes begin to shift yet again, regarding chronic opioid therapy.


US Congress, Dept. of Justice, and the FDA make resolutions to systematically restrict opioid prescribing and bring electronic drug monitoring to every state. (2011)

Organizations like the Drug Policy Alliance, CATO Institute, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, and a recent Global Commission on Drug Policy have become increasingly vocal regarding the lunacy and inhumanity of drug prohibition. Calls for drug legalization have reached mainstream, and the legalization movement has been endorsed by personalities such as George Soros, Ethan Nadelman, and US Congressman Ron Paul (Texas congressman and republican presidential candidate for 2012) (present day)

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