Points 2017: Teaching Drugs, Donald Trump’s “Oxy Electorate,” Opiate Addiction in Assam, and More!

This year was an exciting one for Points. We have enjoyed increasing traffic every year since we started in 2011, and 2017 was no exception with more unique visitors than any year prior! Below are some highlights from the past twelve months.

We began the year by sharing a series of perspectives on public drug discourse through the lens of historians, titled “What Historians Wish People Knew About Drugs.” Posts were written by contributors based largely on their remarks during a roundtable of the same name at the January American Historical Association meeting in Denver. Follow each link to read the four-part series by Miriam Kingsberg Kadia, Isaac Campos, William Rorabaugh, and Scott Taylor.

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Happy Holidays from Points!

We at Points hope you enjoyed the 2017 holiday season and wish you a happy 2018 to come. Later this week, we’ll highlight some of our most-viewed posts of the last twelve months. Thank you for your support of the blog; we’ll see you next year!

CFP: “Bodies That Eat, Bodies That Drink: Biocultural Approaches to Nutrition, Incorporation, and Commensality”

Call for Papers

Conference theme: “Bodies That Eat, Bodies That Drink: Biocultural Approaches to Nutrition, Incorporation, and Commensality”

Date: January 20, 2018
Location: Spain

Subject Fields: Anthropology, Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Literature, Public Health, Women’s & Gender History / Studies

The theme of 11th International Symposium of CORPUS will be “Bodies that eat, bodies that drink. Biocultural approaches to nutrition, incorporation and commensality”.

Consequently, we invite researchers (anthropologists, archaeologists, historians, philosophers, physicians, psychologists, sociologists, etc.) interested in the bodies that eat and drink to participate at this meeting, especially considering one of the following themes:

  • Cultures of the body that eat and drink: way of eating/drinking, positions and forms of involvement of the body during the eating/drinking processes, use of utensils, etc.
  • Sensory experiences and their cultural transcriptions: epistemology of sensory analysis, cultural use, control and lecture of facial expressions of disgust/satisfaction, biocultural dynamics of taste, etc.
  • Cultural, medical and psychological implications of food/drink incorporation: magic eating, placebo/nocebo, superfoods, ideal diets, aphrodisiac/anaphrodisiac foods, etc.
  • Dietetics paradigms and nutritional knowledges: ancient, traditional and biomedical dietetics conceptions, popular reception of academic nutritional knowledge, etc.
  • Cultural responses to the physiological consequences of food/drink incorporation: management of drunkenness and flush syndromes, aesthetic constructions of slim/fat bodies, material culture and representations of excretion, etc.
  • Eating disorders, malnutrition and their social and political readings.
  • Valorisation and demonization of drinks/foods within the framework of health politics:  forms, effectiveness and social consequences.
  • Gender approaches to forms of commensality, rituals of consumption, etc.
  • Representations of the bodies that eat or drink in arts and advertising.

Presentations will be preferably delivered in English. The proposals must include an abstract (400 words) and a current CV. The deadline for receiving presentation proposals is January 20th 2018. Please use the addresses provided below to send your proposal to Frédéric Duhart, Maria José García Soler y Paris Aguilar Piña. All proposals will be evaluated by an international scientific committee.

There will be no registration fee. Transportation, visa, travel insurance costs and accommodation will be the sole responsibility of each participant.


Frédéric Duhart
CORPUS General Coordinator

Maria José García Soler
11th Symposium Coordinator

Paris Aguilar Piña
Scientific Committee Coordinator


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CFP Deadline Extended: “Dangerous Oral Histories: Risks, Responsibilities, and Rewards”

*The deadline for submission of proposals is now 10 January 2018.*

Oral History Society – 2018 Annual Conference
Theme:  Dangerous Oral Histories:  Risks, Responsibilities and Rewards

28 & 29 June, 2018
Queen’s University, Belfast

This joint conference of the Oral History Society and the Oral History Network of Ireland addresses the ethical and legal implications of oral history research. It presents a timely opportunity to explore the many issues raised by challenging projects, such as:

  • What is an acceptable level of risk for interviewees/interviewers in the oral history process?
  • What are the new responsibilities of the oral historian in a digital age?
  • What are the rewards for initiating ‘dangerous’ oral history projects on ‘difficult’ topics, and when do the risks outweigh them?

From this starting point, the conference organisers wish to solicit papers on all aspects of risk, responsibilities and rewards – and offer the following suggestions, whilst also welcoming other imaginative proposals addressing our theme of dangerous oral histories.

 Conference sub-themes include:

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Points Bibliography: Interpreting Psilocybin and Peyote

Editor’s Note:  These entries are part of an ongoing drug-related dissertation bibliography being compiled by Jonathon Erlen. They were formerly published in the Social History of Alcohol and Drugs journal but are now periodically featured on the Points blog. For more information, contact Dr. Erlen through the link above.

Ego Death Resulting from Psilocybin Experiences: Exploring the Concept Within Mysticism

Author: Bobbett, Michelle

Abstract: The concept of ego-death was explored as a possible subset of mystical experience resulting from psilocybin mushroom ingestion. Participants in an online self-report study were asked to describe their most personally meaningful psilocybin experience, which they also must have deemed mystical or profound for inclusion in the study. Of the 350 total participants, 272 (77.7%) reported having an ego-death experience. This group had significantly higher scores on 27 of 30 items on the Mystical Experiences Questionnaire (MEQ: Maclean, Leoutsakos, Johnson, & Griffiths, 2012) and significantly differed in the form of psilocybin they ingested X 2 (1)= 11.02, p = .004 and dosage of psilocybin X 2 (1)= 13.58, p =.004, compared to those who did not report ego death. An exploratory factor analysis of the MEQ revealed similarities to the factors presented by MacLean (et al., 2012). Lastly, in line with the hypothesis of the study, the ego-death group had significantly higher scores than the non-ego-death group on the Time and Space and Mystical factor loadings. The results of the current study have implications for the practice of clinical psychology in general as well as the specific niche of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapies. The experience of ego-death and its potential for personal change, as revealed in the qualitative analysis, is especially relevant for practitioners of psychotherapy.

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Ibogaine Treatment: A Psychedelic Approach to Addiction

aaaibogaineToday’s post was contributed by Aeden Smith-Ahearn, who once was a heroin addict for almost 7 years. After trying many different traditional methods to get off drugs, he decided to take a chance on Ibogaine treatment for his addiction. Now, 5 years later, Aeden is the treatment coordinator for a major Ibogaine clinic and he has helped hundreds of individuals find a new life through Ibogaine treatment.

When a highly recognized US medical doctor—the one prescribing opiates to patients on a daily basis—walks through the door of an Ibogaine clinic in Mexico to get treatment for his prescription pill addiction, the massive nature of America’s opioid dependence becomes clear—it affects everyone.

It’s not just doctors but lawyers, teachers, students, parents, CEOs, and the list goes on. Everyone, no matter what walk of life, is a target for opiate addiction. It is physically binding, psychologically confining, and, in almost every instance, impossible to break on your own.

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Points Bibliography: State and Self-Regulation of Tobacco Use

Editor’s Note:  These entries are part of an ongoing drug-related dissertation bibliography being compiled by Jonathon Erlen. They were formerly published in the Social History of Alcohol and Drugs journal but are now periodically featured on the Points blog. Today’s post features recent research on international government controls on tobacco advertising and on quitting or altering individual use patterns. For more information, contact Dr. Erlen through the link above. 

Sources of Variation in Nicotine Metabolism and Associations with Smoking Abstinence in Adolescents and Adults

Author: Chenoweth, Meghan Jo-Ann

Abstract: Smoking remains a major public health concern; worldwide, approximately one billion people smoke. Despite the fact that many smokers are motivated to quit, only a small minority of those making quit attempts successfully quit each year. Variation in the rate of nicotine metabolic inactivation influences a number of smoking behaviours, including cessation. Thus, we sought to characterize genetic, environmental, and demographic sources of variability in the rate of nicotine metabolism, and resultant influences on smoking behaviours. Variation in the activity of the major nicotine-metabolizing enzyme, cytochrome P450 2A6 (CYP2A6) changes nicotine clearance and is associated with altered smoking behaviours, including cessation, in adults. We demonstrate here that slow (versus normal) nicotine metabolizers are more likely to achieve prolonged abstinence in adolescence, as in adulthood. We further demonstrate that in clinical trials, adult slow (versus normal) nicotine metabolizers are more likely to achieve early abstinence. We also investigated additional sources of genetic variability in the rate of nicotine metabolism and their potential influences on smoking. We demonstrate that genetic variation in an additional nicotine-metabolizing enzyme (i.e., FMO3 ), and a cytochrome P450 co-enzyme (i.e., POR ), does not substantially alter nicotine metabolism, CYP2A6 activity, or tobacco consumption. We further demonstrate that environmental and demographic sources of variability in CYP2A6 activity, such as gender and ethnicity, explain only a small proportion of the total variation in CYP2A6 activity; however, these factors may have unique impacts on smoking behaviours and thus should be further investigated in studies of smoking. Overall, our findings provide additional information regarding the role of variation in nicotine metabolism rate in cessation outcomes in both adolescents and adults. A greater understanding of the factors that influence smoking cessation will help optimize treatment outcomes and reduce the burden of tobacco-related disease.

Publication year: 2016

ISBN: 9781339934112

Advisor: Tyndale, Rachel F.

University/institution: University of Toronto (Canada)

Department: Pharmacology

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The Points Interview: Emily Dufton

Today’s Points Interview is with Dr. Emily Dufton, Points managing editor emeritus and author of the new book, Grass Roots: The Rise, Fall, and Rise of Marijuana in America – available today!

Describe your book in terms your bartender could understand.
Over the past five decades, grassroots activists have shifted America’s marijuana laws three times. In the 1970s, they passed decriminalization laws in a dozen states. Then, in response to rising rates of adolescent marijuana use, a movement of concerned parents recriminalized the drug in the 1980s, ultimately influencing how Nancy and Ronald Reagan approached drug use as well. But in the 1990s and 2000s, a new movement emerged, one that tied legalization to movements for social justice and civil rights. This new push for legalization seems unstoppable today — after all, 8 states and Washington, DC, have legalized recreational use, while 29 states and DC have medical marijuana laws — but I argue that the history of marijuana activism shows the cyclical nature of the drug’s social acceptance and surrounding policy. New grassroots movements continue to form, and, depending on a variety of factors, including who is in the White House and how marijuana is generally viewed, today’s push for legalization could birth a movement for criminalization tomorrow. Ultimately, I believe that the pendulum on public approval of marijuana won’t stop swinging any time soon.

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