A drug against war
I often wonder what happened to the war on drugs. Remember that huge campaign by the U.S. government in the nineties? As I was doing some research on the matter I came across some interesting articles and because this is bionicbuddha I am going to end this post with some songs about drugs.
Anyway, I discovered some origins of drug prohibition that many allege have foundations in racism.
The first American anti-drug law was an 1875 San Francisco ordinance which outlawed the smoking of opium. It was felt by its opponents that it was a way of legally targeting the Chinese as Asian men were supposedly “luring white women to ruin” in opium dens.
Cocaine was outlawed because of fears that superhuman "Cocainized Niggers" (actual term used by newspapers in the early 1900's) were running amuck in violent sexual frenzies raping white women. There were no verified incidents to support government fears and rationalizations. During the twenties I have to add that many Blues and Jazz musicians including Ella Fitzgerald wrote songs about cocaine. Blues pioneer Luke Jordan in his song cocaine blues sang, “she come on sniffin’ with her nose all sore, doctor swore she’s gonna smell no more”.
Marijuana, first outlawed in 1937 was viewed as a repressive measure against Mexican migrant workers who entered the U.S. seeking employment during the Depression. The explanation provided for criminalizing hemp was that it had a violent "effect on the degenerate races." (Testimony of Bureau of Narcotics Commissioner Harry J. Anslinger before Congress on the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937).
During the nineties, the federal government directly spent $17 billion a year to control drug use, 61 percent went to criminal justice and interdiction, while 30 percent went into treatment and prevention programs.
In 2002, 45 percent of 1,538,813 arrests for drug abuse violations were for marijuana. I think there were bigger issues to tackle. Based on the popularity of Rave culture and the appeal of ecstasy during those previously mentioned periods, I’d speculate that the War On Drugs didn’t work and that the youth of America missed the message.
Anyway, as promised here are some more songs about drugs:
Manic Street Preachers in their song, Drug, Drug Druggy sing, “Need sensation like my baby, Snort your lines you're so aware”
The Offspring wrote, “Hey man you're really losing it, hey, and you've really done a lot of junk now, but you keep on abusin' it” in the song “What in the world happened to you?”
It's been argued that the title for the Beatles song, "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" was intentionally created to form the acronym LSD.
The Rolling Stones song, “Mother’s little helper” contains the passage “There's a little yellow pill, She goes running for the shelter of a mother's little helper and it helps her on her way, gets her through her busy day.
Finally Screeching Weasel sang “Cindy's on methadone she's through with the syringe”.
There are literally hundreds of songs on the subject matter of drugs as it’s become ingrained in our popular culture. Feel free to add to this list, love to hear your picks on songs about drugs. Til next time. Oh, and by the way for more music trivia check out Distortions on v5tv and bionicbuddha.com. New episodes of the show will be up soon.