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High Times in the 1970s

Rummaging in the archives, producer Reid Collins, Jr. found this 1975 report on illegal drug use in the Kentucky town of Madisonville. From teen basement parties to PTA meetings, it's a time capsule of small-town life in the 1970s as America came to grips with a growing drug problem.

This week "60 Minutes" correspondent Byron Pitts reports on Mexico's battle against violent drug cartels. It's well known that American demand for drugs helps fuel the violence in Mexico, and America's appetite for getting high is nothing new: just take a look at Morley Safer's 1975 report on the small Kentucky town of Madisonville.

In this piece, "60 Minutes" camera crews captured a small town in the grips of a growing problem. At teen basement parties, kids talk about local drug offerings, and at PTA meetings, curious parents caught their first whiff of confiscated marijuana. Morley sat in the kitchens of worried mothers, drove around with the local police detective, and walked Madisonville's main streets and cemeteries. As you watch scenes with kids playing spin the bottle and and see cops with mutton chops, it may strike you that this story is a kind of time capsule from the 1970s. It also serves to remind us why the Mexican drug cartels founded in the 1970s and 80s were able to grow so strong. As Morley says in one of his 70s-style stand-ups, "there's something rotten in Madisonville..."