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This chapter explores the nature of drug use, primarily illicit drug use, in the United States from the 1950s to the early 1980s. It argues that Americans used drugs at relatively high rates throughout that period, not merely in the 1960s. Different drugs were more popular at different times, and there was societal conflict over the meaning of drug use, with older white people typically worried about drug use by young people and people who were not white.

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