Teaching Points: “Drugs in U.S. History”

Around the beginning and end of every semester (summer included), we feature syllabi, instructional materials, and instructor reflections on courses related to topics of interest to Points readers. Below, you’ll find the syllabus for “Drugs in U.S. History,” a summer course taught this year by Kyle Bridge at the University of Florida. In a few weeks, like those who came before him, he will publish a reflection on Points, thoroughly detailing the progression of the course, from planning, assigning, and evaluating student work to connecting themes developed in class to his own research. Stay tuned!

AMH 3931: Drugs in United States History

Instructor: Kyle Bridge (kbridge@ufl.edu)

Course meets: [redacted]

Office hours: [redacted]

Course objectives: Upon successful completion of this course, students will understand the complex role played by drugs in American society, beginning with the construction of drug debates and the evolving definitions of key concepts like “drug” or “addiction.” They will be able to identify and explain historical contexts of drug use, to critically analyze cultures of control that have developed around different substances (including in the criminal justice system but also the addiction treatment field), and to articulate and assess challenges to those cultures through measures including drug legalization, medicalization, and harm reduction.

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Writing Global Histories of Cannabis: Conference Report from Glasgow, 19-20 April 2018

Editor’s Note: Over the next several weeks, Points will feature blog posts, videos, and recaps from the Cannabis: Global Histories conference, which was held in Glasgow, Scotland, from April 19-20, 2018. Today, Dr. David A. Guba, Jr., professor at Bard Early College in Baltimore, Md., offers a recap of the event. Enjoy!

On April 19th and 20th, the Centre for the Social History of Health and Healthcare (CSHHH) at the University of Strathclyde gathered scholars from around the world in unseasonably sunny Glasgow to attend the Cannabis: Global Histories conference and work toward the publication of an anthology on the “global histories of cannabis.” Masterfully organized by Dr. Lucas Richert, Dr. Jim Mills, and Ms. Caroline Marley, the conference provided one of the first opportunities for historians and scholars of cannabis to come together and discuss research that often flows into isolated disciplinary and regional channels. In addition to providing a more global view on cannabis’s modern history, the organizers also conceived of the conference as a means of facilitating conversation between scholars of cannabis and the general public. To help further this important outreach mission, the organizers have produced a series of blogs and vlogs from the conference, which will be featured over the next few weeks on Points.

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Points Bibliography: Drug Use in the Past and Present

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.

Psychotropic Society: The medical and cultural history of drugs in France, 1840-1920

Author: Black, Sara Elizabeth

Abstract: “Psychotropic Society” traces the numerous ways in which the everyday consumption of psychotropic substances in the nineteenth century blurred the lines between science and stimulation, calculated therapeutic practice and chemically induced self-discovery. It focuses on opium, morphine, ether, chloroform, cocaine, and hashish—all substances used both to control pain and to produce pleasure, at a time when the boundaries between medical and recreational drug use were ill defined and permeable. Doctors, pharmacists, and the state sought to mobilize these substances to relieve pain in the birthing room and the battlefield, to restore sanity in the asylum, and to shore up their own authority over the bodies of citizens. Determining proper dosages and discovering potential side effects of these drugs are crucial chapters in the history of therapeutic progress and medical ethics, which this dissertation explores. Yet these projects were intertwined with doctors’ self-experimentation, bohemian recreational drug use, and popular fascination with the increasingly common figure of the addict. “Psychotropic Society” reveals the centrality of these varied and seemingly liminal uses of drugs to the emergence of modern French medicine and therapeutic regimens that shaped the ways in which citizens experienced the world at key moments in their lives. Drugs offered doctors and pharmacists powerful ways to legitimate their professions. It was not simply that they acted as gatekeepers to these powerful substances. Rather, medical professionals emphasized the danger and heroism of their experiments with drugs on their own bodies in the name of therapeutic progress. Psychotropic drugs were also at the center of a new claim by French citizens: the right to freedom from pain. Drugs’ widespread availability empowered patients to self-medicate, transcending the quotidian discomforts of modern life. Yet this freedom came at a high potential cost for a nation that saw itself as a collection of liberal subjects. Drugs cast into doubt the notion of the liberal self as autonomous, rational, and driven by free will. Instead, these substances revealed that self to be malleable, sometimes passive, and mediated through the body’s chemical needs and desires.

Publication year: 2016

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Points Bibliography: Ethnic, Racial, and Cultural Contexts of Recovery in North America

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.

Alcohol Use and Risk Drinking in Ontario Ethnic Groups

Author: Agic, Branka

Abstract: This thesis examines the prevalence and patterns of alcohol consumption among Ontario ethnic groups, as well as socio-demographic and cultural factors that increase or reduce their vulnerability to risk drinking. A mixed methods approach was applied. Qualitative data were obtained through focus group discussions with the key informants and community members from seven Ontario communities: the Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Tamil, Punjabi, Serbian and Somali. Quantitative data were derived from the CAMH Monitor, a cross-sectional survey of Ontario adults, collected between January 2005 and December 2010 (N=13,557). The results show higher prevalence of self-reported lifetime, current and risk drinking among the Canadian and the European-origin groups compared with other ethnic groups. Within-group gender differences were evident for all ethnic groups, with the narrowest gender gap being observed within the North European group and the widest in the South Asian group. First generation immigrants have generally lower prevalence of alcohol consumption and risk drinking than Canadian-born respondents, with foreign born individuals from the European groups reporting higher rates of alcohol use and risk drinking than other groups. While previous studies generally found an increase in immigrants’ alcohol consumption with years in Canada, our data suggest that longer duration of residence may have either positive or negative effects on immigrants’ alcohol use, depending on the country of origin/traditional drinking pattern. Although the non-European ethnic groups have higher rates of abstinence and lower alcohol consumption rates, a considerable proportion of people from these ethnic groups may be at risk of alcohol-related harm due to risky and harmful alcohol consumption patterns. Drinking levels that are considered ‘normal’ or ‘excessive’, the type and size of alcoholic beverages, and the perception of the risks and problems related to alcohol use are largely shaped by cultural norms and beliefs. Socio-economic disadvantages and barriers to service utilization heighten the minority ethnic groups’ vulnerability to alcohol-related problems. This theses contributes new and important evidence on the prevalence and patterns of alcohol consumption in Canada’s ethnic groups, and factors that contribute to risk drinking. The findings have significant implications for prevention and service provision, particularly for minority ethnic groups that are already marginalized and unlikely to access mainstream services.

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Points Bibliography: Spirituality, Religion, and Addiction Treatment

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.

A Faith-Infused, Addiction Recovery Model of Pastoral Care to Help Reduce the Epidemic of Substance Addiction; an Urban Ministry Prototype in Raleigh, North Carolina

Author: Daniels, George T.

Abstract: Substance addiction, often referred to as substance abuse, is a major problem in American society. Addiction destroys lives. Just about everyone at some point has known someone who was addicted to drugs or alcohol. Substance addiction crosses cultural and socioeconomic lines; it does not discriminate. Church leadership often encounter members who struggle with addiction. Many pastors are ill-prepared to care for addicted persons. Pastoral training concerning substance addiction becomes a key factor in a ministry recovery model. The goal of this project, therefore, was to train pastors and church leaders about substance addiction. The project explored models of substance addiction across several disciplines. The result of this work will increase the church leader’s understanding of addiction and its effects on individuals, families and communities. To determine the effectiveness of this project, the researcher employed two assessment instruments. The first instrument was a Likert-scale questionnaire, which gathered data to underscore the need for the project. The second was the participant interview, which revealed the person’s project experience and their assessment of the ministry project. The assessment tools showed that this faith-infused addiction recovery model was effective. Each participant indicated that he or she experienced an increase in knowledge, skills, and positive attitude concerning substance addiction.

Number of pages: 121

Publication year: 2015

ISBN: 9781321992977

Advisor: Harris, Antipas L.

Committee member: Smith, Raynard

University/institution: Regent University

Department: School of Divinity

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