An early attempt to regulate drug use by western powers came in 1782. A regional British commander in Burma implemented a multitude of narcotics laws and regulations prohibiting the Burmese from producing, selling, and consuming alcoholic drinks, opium, and other intoxicants. These policies were not effective. In fact Opium addiction increased. The British soon abandoned this prohibition for the same local governments did. Although drug consumption was discovered to produce highly undesirable social outcomes, prohibition appeared to have little impact on demand (1).
America's first drug law was in San Francisco, it prohibited whites from going into Opium dens. This law was enacted in the 1870's(2).
The early American government did very little to regulate drugs. One of the earliest laws was the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act, this required all manufacturers to accurately list all ingredients and give the proportions of opiates, alcohol, cocaine, and other habit-forming drugs in their products(3).
A 1908 paper bemoaned a perceived with problem with blacks and cocaine. It said it was making them do crazy stuff, this "example" is from Virginia, "For instance, a few days ago in Richmond, a wild cocaine crazed negro imagined the police were after him and he shot eight Men and women on the streets before he could be caught." (4).As you will read here this wasn't last media account with questionable integrity. I will cite more later on, still I could never cite them all.
In 1909 an "opium expert", Dr. Hamilton Wright, from the US Department of State drafted federal legislation to strengthen regulations on the trafficking of drugs in the US and importation of drugs into the United States(5 ).
An act to ban smoking Opium was passed and enacted in 1909(6).
In 1910 Dr Wright was leading the US charge towards worldwide prohibition. At an international conference he called for the prohibition of opium (7 ).
In a Report to submitted to Congress in 1910 Dr. Hamilton Wright said "it has been authoritatively stated that cocaine is often the direct incentive to the crime of rape by the Negroes of the South and other sections of the country"(8).Other eventsThen the Harrison Anti-Narcotic Act of 1914 was enacted this was passed in part, as part of the international efforts to control the flow of Opium into the Philippines (9).