Stratfor: War on Drugs – A Conflict as Old as Humanity

Drug addiction as a security issue threatens workplaces, communities and individual health. Archeologists have found evidence of societies throughout history embracing and battling certain drugs, explains Ian Morris. Ancient Peruvians used cacti for mescaline and Ice Age cave painters may have used hallucinogens. “When Greek traders started showing up in the West Mediterranean, only one thing about them really interested the locals: wine,” Morris writes. “By contrast, other Greek goods typically took more than a century to catch on, while Greek-style dress, lifestyles and institutions were even slower to gain prevalence. Drugs were the leading edge of the ancient version of globalization, and learning to drink wine like the sophisticated Greeks seems to have been a crucial first step for local notables who wanted to assimilate themselves to the cosmopolitan Mediterranean elite.” He describes how drug choices drive inequality – after 1700, gin gained popularity in Britain, before being supplanted by coffee, tea and tobacco. Today, opioids are the leading cause of death for Americans under age 50. Morris suggests looking to history’s lessons of how public campaigns emphasizing respectability, economics and wealth do more to curtail drug abuse than prohibition. – YaleGlobal

Stratfor: War on Drugs – A Conflict as Old as Humanity

Archeological evidence, historical documents show drug use is intertwined with globalization and inequality – and those insights can help battle modern abuse
Ian Morris
Friday, August 17, 2018

Read the article from Stratfor Worldview about drug abuse throughout history and how it drives globalization and inequality.

Ian Morris is a historian and archaeologist. He is currently Stanford University’s Jean and Rebecca Willard Professor of Classics and serves on the faculty of the Stanford Archaeology Center. He has published twelve books and has directed excavations in Greece and Italy. His  bestsellers include Why the West Rules - for Now (2010) and War! What Is It Good For? Conflict and the Progress of Civilization from Primates to Robots (2014). His most recent book is Foragers, Farmers, and Fossil Fuels: How Human Values Evolve, released in 2015 by Princeton University Press. He received his doctorate from Cambridge University.

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