The 1950s are often idolized as a relatively pure era in self-image and fiction: People were friendly and helpful and knew how to behave, children did not need to have fear of stranger-danger, the streets were clean, the family was intact (The manly man is working and protects his lovely girly housewife which life goal is the family), the black p...(ooops, erase erase erase).
One part I am interested in is how far the presented image was based in reality. Many drugs were already readily available (morphine which is used to suppress pain is not much different from heroin, in fact heroin was produced first from morphine). We have now the ability to check for traces of substance abuse in hairs and other body tissue from dead people and I would like to know if there have been papers about historical drug abuse and how the different epochs compare to each other (especially such epochs which present themselves as having no drug problem at all).
How common was secret drug abuse of illegal substances in the 1950s?.
Another question which directly comes from the first: Alcohol and cigarettes were legal, widespread, cheap and often socially expected in one way or other. There were also many drugs easily available and legal which are harmful and addicting if taken frequently, e.g. codeine (as cough medicine). The problem is that a dead female beautiful A+ pupil in a toilet with a needle in the arm is much more prone to enrage people than a silently dying anonymous person with lung cancer in intensive care.
If we add all numbers of substance-abuse related deaths without looking at the legality (so alcohol, cigarettes and legal drugs included) how many people died of it in the 1950s compared to the following periods?
ADDITION: Mark C. Wallace asked for the country. I choose the USA because it served as role model after the war and was embraced by political conservatism throughout Europe.