Recreational drug use took on a new tone during the 1980’s, a far cry and much removed from the initial free-spirited meanderings of the 60’s hippie drug culture, with their “soft drug” use and experimentation. Marijuana and exotic psychoactive hallucinogens were largely derived from nature, and identified with connotations of spirituality and consciousness ascension. The free love attitude and now seemingly innocent drug recreational use of the 60’s and 70’s had an emphasis on psychoactive hallucinogens. This included the “natural plant substances”, peyote, mescaline, and psilocybin, and the accompanying peace movement mindset. These images gave way to a much darker substance that was to soon have a major negative impact upon the lives of American youth dealing with drug abuse issues.
Cocaine entered the 80’s drug culture movement, providing an insidious and dangerous vehicle for those looking to indulge in illicit drug use as recreation. The emphasis on the potential negative effects of “coke” addiction were not seriously weighed by the drug users of the era. Having received so much “misinformation” during the propaganda disseminated during the previous attempts to dissuade drug dependency by the government, with their “War On Drugs”, new experimenters with cocaine dipped in, without a complete understanding of the deadly addictive properties of the substance.
During the 80’s cocaine drug use was initially glamorized by Hollywood and the press. News of busts of exotic drug lords coming out of tropical Colombia and infiltrating urban centers in the U.S. with their white powder dominated the headlines. Similarly, the silver screen imagery of the drug crime fighting team on Miami Vice seduced a nation of would be “cocaine cowboys”, who populated Miami with their flashy persona and money making agenda to addict a nation.
Propagated by strong media visuals projecting an exciting illusory world of life lived in the fast lane with an endless round of parties, drug deals, expensive flashy clothing, gorgeous women, stunning powerful dangerous drug dealers and slick, suave, over-the-top environments, cocaine sucked in the best and the brightest and the stupidest and struggling as well. It knew no limits when it came to victims, turning doctors, lawyers and street hustlers alike into drug addicts by the drove. Cocaine addiction was to play a part in the lives of people at every strata of American society. With the Studio 54 disco scene up and in full swing by the mid 80’s, the time was ripe for cocaine use to reach full saturation into the youth culture by the end of the 80’s era.
Something new and even more lethal was being brewed, and was just around the corner. Designed to subjugate the victims of its prolific grasp, infiltrating the minds of American youth, a new drug with new implications for society was being “cooked up” by an ingenious den of corrupt, unconscionable “death dealers”. The face of American society was to witness a “plague” that scourged every urban center with despair brought on by cocaine addiction in a new, more potent, more affordable form. Rock cocaine, the drug better known as “crack”, took American youth, particularly in the urban ghettos, by storm, beginning toward the middle of the 80’s decade straight through to the end of the era.