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Psychology   >   Clinical Psychology – Drug and Addiction Exposure

A Timeline of Drug Misuse, Treatments and Anti-Drug Campaigns

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Clinical Psychology – Drug and Addiction Exposure

In this course, Dr Dean Burnett (Cardiff University) explores society’s exposure to drugs and addiction. In the first lecture, we think about a history of drug misuse, treatments and anti-drug campaigns. In the second lecture, we think about some key differences across sex and gender between people’s experiences of and tendency for drug addiction and abuse. In the third lecture, we think about how pop music represents drugs. In the fourth lecture, we think about some important challenges faced when trying to holistically interpret the effects of drugs on consumers. Next, we think about how the biological and learning approaches to understanding drug addiction compare and interact. In the sixth and final lecture, we think about the United States’ opiate crisis as a contemporary and tangible presentation of drug dependency and addiction. Photo by Raimond Klavins on Unsplash

A Timeline of Drug Misuse, Treatments and Anti-Drug Campaigns

In this lecture, we think about drug misuse, treatments and anti-drug campaigns through time, focusing in particular on: (i) the fact that drugs have been and continue to be a constant presence in human society, with a wealth of factors contributing to their prevalence; (ii) the presence of psychoactive drug consumption in pre-civilised history; (iii) alcohol’s presence in ancient civilisation and other examples of drug presences in historic civilisations; (iv) the presence of drug consumption in religious texts; (v) some religious views that consider those who succumb to addiction to be corrupted or possessed; (vi) the ‘gin craze’ in 18th century London, which was brought in to raise tax revenue in the UK, but that led to overconsumption and the introduction of measures to limit purchase and consumption; (vii) the renaissance, which brought about new scientific views on the long-term negative impacts of alcohol consumption; (viii) conflict between Britain and China over opiate distribution and consumption; (ix) early movements in North America which proposed that addiction people should be treated as patients rather than criminals, as well as promoting abstinence from alcohol; (x) some key changes in drug type consumption and cultural associations through the 20th century; (xi) historical views on the ‘drug problem’ being an individual issue, rather than a societal one; (xii) the death penalty as a punishment for repeated drug abuse in the Middle Ages; (xiii) the latter part of the 18th century being when treatments were beginning to arise for addiction, primarily by admitting those addicted to asylums; (xiv) the ‘asylum era’ acting as a time period for experimental treatments, as medical regulations were minimal; (xv) the introduction of medication to treat addiction in the early 20th century; (xvi) the continually revised Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, which is currently on its fifth major revision; (xvii) early DSM versions’ diagnosis of addiction as a personality disorder; (xviii) the only recent removal of the link between addiction and crime in diagnostic manuals; (xix) anti-drug campaigns, with the temperance movement in the 19th century preaching abstinence from alcohol consumption on religious grounds; (xx) an early 20th century approach to drug consumption deterrence being based on punishment; (xxi) the 1980s, which introduced anti-drug campaigns like ‘just say no’; (xxii) the ineffective nature of simple messaging by an authority figure in anti-drug campaigns due to the lack of information provided; (xxiii) the introduction of the equally ineffective shock tactics to anti-drug campaigns in the 1990s; (xxiv) more positive approaches introduced in recent anti-drug campaigns.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Burnett, D. (2023, September 21). Clinical Psychology – Drug and Addiction Exposure - A Timeline of Drug Misuse, Treatments and Anti-Drug Campaigns [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Burnett, D. "Clinical Psychology – Drug and Addiction Exposure – A Timeline of Drug Misuse, Treatments and Anti-Drug Campaigns." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 21 Sep 2023,


Dr Dean Burnett

Dr Dean Burnett

Cardiff University