From Preventing “Experiments with Vice” to Bullhorns and Expulsion: Drug Education After the 1970s

Editor’s Note: Today’s post comes from contributing editor Dr. Seth Blumenthal, contributing editor and lecturer at Boston University. 

As late as 1955, a career Narcotics Bureau enforcement official, M.L. Harney, feared drug prevention’s unintended consequences, claiming, “Often the evil warned against is portrayed so attractively, seductively, and voluptuously that the inevitable result would be to attract people to experiment with the vice.” But drug use spread into the suburban areas surrounding urban centers during the 1960s and 1970s anyway, and convinced politicians to admit that prevention needed more support in public school education. Initially, the original investment under the Controlled Substance Act of 1970 split funds for prevention with money allocated for education and enforcement relatively evenly.

Above: Drugs Are Like That, an anti-drug education film from 1969, narrated by Anita Bryant

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