The Forgotten Drug War: One Million Drug Addicts, Part II

In the first part of this post, I described the manner in which the Treasury Department and its Special Narcotic Committee produced the “mythical number” of one million opiate addicts residing in the United States in 1919. The methods (if that word can be applied here) to arrive at the one million figure involved aContinue reading “The Forgotten Drug War: One Million Drug Addicts, Part II”

The Forgotten Drug War: One Million Drug Addicts (Washington, D.C., 1919)

In 1918, the Treasury Department established a Special Narcotic Committee, tasked with reviewing the scope of the drug problem in the United States. The Committee issued its final report, Traffic in Narcotic Drugs, in June of 1919. The product of a year’s worth of work by a committee which included reputable figures in the drugContinue reading “The Forgotten Drug War: One Million Drug Addicts (Washington, D.C., 1919)”

The Forgotten Drug War: Dorothy Sullivan, Informant (Chicago, 1941)

“There was not the least sign of social disorder in 1942” —Daniel Patrick Moynihan, speaking at the 100 Years of Heroin Conference, Yale University, 1998 Dorothy Sullivan was an informant for the Chicago office of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics. On Tuesday, January 22, 1942, she was scheduled to testify in federal court in supportContinue reading “The Forgotten Drug War: Dorothy Sullivan, Informant (Chicago, 1941)”

The Forgotten Drug War: Unknown Malaria Victim (New Orleans, 1932)

“The real war will never get in the books”–Walt Whitman, 1875 On October 31, 1932, Charity Hospital in New Orleans admitted a comatose man, diagnosed with malaria and thought to be an opiate addict. The patient deserted the hospital after being revived. Two days later, he was once again brought to Charity hospital, again inContinue reading “The Forgotten Drug War: Unknown Malaria Victim (New Orleans, 1932)”

The Forgotten Drug War: Christobal Silvas Sierra (Los Angeles, 1929)

“The Real War Will Never Get in the Books”—Walt Whitman, 1875   As 1929’s Fourth of July celebrations wound down in Los Angeles, a teenager named Christobal Silvas Sierra—Christo, to his friends—law dying. No one saw him die in the darkness. But for an unusual sequence of events, we would not know how he hadContinue reading “The Forgotten Drug War: Christobal Silvas Sierra (Los Angeles, 1929)”

Reflections on “Addicts Who Survived”: Amund Tallaksen

Editor’s note: Our commentary to accompany yesterday’s excerpt from Addicts Who Survived comes from Amund Tallaksen (NB: if you’ve missed any of the series, please check out the series introduction, the first excerpt, and Eric Schneider’s commentary).  Amund is a doctoral candidate in history at Carnegie Mellon University, presently working on a dissertation examining drugsContinue reading “Reflections on “Addicts Who Survived”: Amund Tallaksen”

Reflections on “Addicts Who Survived”: Willis Butler’s Narrative

Editor’s note: Not every interview conducted for Addicts Who Survived was of an addict.  The work includes some fascinating oral histories of individuals with notable roles in the modern history of addiction and the drug war.  Among these, Dr. Willis Butler, who operated one of the most notable narcotic maintenance clinics opened around the timeContinue reading “Reflections on “Addicts Who Survived”: Willis Butler’s Narrative”

Reflections on “Addicts Who Survived”: Eric Schneider

Editor’s Note: Our series of reflections on Addicts Who Survived continues today with Eric Schneider discussing Teddy’s narrative, posted yesterday. How did heroin become a drug used largely by African Americans after World War Two, when it had been a primarily white drug in the previous decades? What were the social settings that nurtured thisContinue reading “Reflections on “Addicts Who Survived”: Eric Schneider”

Reflections on “Addicts Who Survived”: Teddy’s Narrative

Editor’s note: After introducing the series last week, I’m pleased to present the first of the excerpts from Addicts Who Survived chosen by our guest bloggers.  Eric Schneider made extensive use of the oral histories collected by Courtwright, Joseph, and Des Jarlais in his 2011 book, Smack: Heroin and the American City.  Asked to chooseContinue reading “Reflections on “Addicts Who Survived”: Teddy’s Narrative”

Reflections on “Addicts Who Survived”: Series Introduction

Editor’s Note: Next week, we begin a new series marking the release of the first paperback edition of Addicts Who Survived: An Oral History of Narcotic Use in America, 1923-1965.  First published in 1989 by the University of Tennessee Press, Addicts Who Survived was based upon a series of oral history interviews of older methadoneContinue reading “Reflections on “Addicts Who Survived”: Series Introduction”

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