Suspect and Report: Anti-drug Propaganda for ’Sixties Families

In 1963, Los Angeles County distributed through the public school system 200,000 copies of a stylishly designed, wide-format brochure printed on heavy paper. It featured illustrations by a Walt Disney artist and a dire message: Your kid might be on drugs. Targeted at parents of teen-agers, “Darkness on Your Doorstep” used thick margins, modern typefaces,Continue reading “Suspect and Report: Anti-drug Propaganda for ’Sixties Families”

Could the Supreme Court’s Forfeiture Ruling Help End the Drug Wars?

Did the Supreme Court unanimously de-escalate the drug wars last month? The optimist in me says “yes,” and the historian in me agrees. In Timbs v. Indiana, the Court ruled that the state could not seize and forfeit the plaintiff’s Land Rover as a result of his drug conviction. While this decision alone will notContinue reading “Could the Supreme Court’s Forfeiture Ruling Help End the Drug Wars?”

The Sociological Approach, Part 2: Judy Garland and Billie Holiday

Note from Sarah Brady Siff: This post was written by Cecilia Burtis of Tiffin, Ohio, who earned an undergraduate degree in sociology from Miami University in 2018. See also Part 1. In California, the entertainment industry brought drug use to the forefront of public attention, where the constant press coverage of movie stars exposed drugContinue reading “The Sociological Approach, Part 2: Judy Garland and Billie Holiday”

The Sociological Approach, Part 1

In an article recently published in the Social History of Alcohol and Drugs, Joseph Spillane has given me some clues on how to proceed in my own work. “Inside the Fantastic Lodge” is Spillane’s consideration of the networks, identity-making and social limitations revealed in Marilyn Bishop’s narration of her days as a young white heroinContinue reading “The Sociological Approach, Part 1”

Taking Opium in 1861: A Reporter’s Weirdly Funny Story

Newspapers are extraordinary historical sources in their sheer number and their accessibility. Recently I’ve been reading a lot of them as research on opium in the late 1800s. During this age of cheap print, high literacy rates, and early investigative journalism, much ink was spilled on the puzzling and alluring vice of opium in allContinue reading “Taking Opium in 1861: A Reporter’s Weirdly Funny Story”

Many Scholars Think Drug Courts Harm Policy Reform, Not Vice Versa

Editor’s Note: Today’s post comes from contributing editor Dr. Sarah Brady Siff, visiting assistant professor of journalism at Miami University in Ohio. Enjoy! The current so-called opioid epidemic has placed an urgent frame around drug-related policy debates in Ohio. Here, the current midterm election ballot includes Issue 1, a state constitutional amendment that would convertContinue reading “Many Scholars Think Drug Courts Harm Policy Reform, Not Vice Versa”

“Babylon Come and Light It Up on Fire”

Editor’s Note: Today’s post comes from Dr. Sarah Brady Siff, a visiting assistant professor of journalism at Miami University in Ohio. Siff’s post elaborates on the research she presented at the Cannabis: Global Histories conference held April 19-20, 2018, at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow. Enjoy! Recently, like so many others, I found myself searchingContinue reading ““Babylon Come and Light It Up on Fire””

Fish Stories: The Drug Wars’ Unreliable Narrator

Given the Saturday Evening Post’s homogenous readership in 1926, we can forgive novice journalist Harry J. Anslinger for embroidering this lead into his article, “Tiger of the Sea”: “A moving picture with a South Sea scene is hardly complete unless the native hero, with a long dagger held between his teeth, balances his weight onContinue reading “Fish Stories: The Drug Wars’ Unreliable Narrator”

Toxicology, Conspiracy, and History

After John Crawford, III, was shot dead in a suburban Ohio Wal-Mart by police who mistook a toy gun he was holding for a real one, the Montgomery County coroner’s office received his body for post-mortem examination. The coroner also received the body of Angela Williams, a 37-year-old white woman who had been shopping atContinue reading “Toxicology, Conspiracy, and History”

Old Ideas for a New Era: On Reading Sam Quinones

Sam Quinones and I share an affinity for this startling fact: more Americans now die of drug overdoes than car crashes. I often say this when I am trying to convince someone that it’s important to study the drug wars; Quinones last week used the tidbit in the first paragraph of his New York TimesContinue reading “Old Ideas for a New Era: On Reading Sam Quinones”

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