Welcome to the home page for the Points Methadone Marathon!
January marks ten years since the launch of the Points blog, and to celebrate this historic milestone, we’re invoking another, larger anniversary: passage of The Drug Abuse Office and Treatment Act of 1972 (Public Law 92-255). The ramifications of this law were far-reaching, not only in the “war on drugs” but also in the less-scrutinized evolution of substance abuse treatment. Methadone was the place where theorists of criminal justice and treatment met and—briefly—danced. In the shadow of the radical critiques both had suffered during the 1960s, they looked to find a cost-effective and empowering way to combat heroin addiction. But like so many grand ideas from this particular moment in time, things didn’t quite work out according to plan.
The reasons for that are many, of course, and the ramifications are legion; the Points Methadone Marathon aims to unpack them all. We kick off with an exclusive screening of James Klein and Julia Reichert’s outstanding 1974 film Methadone: An American Way of Dealing. This cinema verité classic was deemed too controversial for wide release back in the day, and has long been out of circulation. Thanks to the generosity of James Klein, you can see it here now at the link embedded below.
Klein and Richert’s camera contrasts a state-operated methadone clinic in Dayton, Ohio, with Washington, DC’s Afrocentric RAP therapeutic community, founded in 1970 by Ron Clark, a veteran of LA’s Synanon. The film has sparked commentary from a full slate of Points luminaries, as outlined below. February is a short month, but it’s going to be a full one– so sit back, dear readers, and travel back with us to fifty years ago: the national drinking age was 18, there was no warning label on cigarettes, and people still thought vaccines were great!
Please watch the film below. If prompted, Points readers should enter the password methadone.
Upcoming Methadone Marathon Commentaries:
Tuesday, February 8: Nancy Campbell—Intolerable Normalcies: Multiple American Methadones
Thursday, February 10: Joe Spillane—Telling Methadone Stories: Men in Ties
Tuesday, February 15: Emily Dufton—“I Envision the Methadone Clinic as We Now Know It Disappearing”: The Promises and Failures of Methadone and LAAM
Thursday, February 17: Samuel K. Roberts—Methadone: An American Way of Thinking
Tuesday, February 22: Jeremy Milloy—Methadone: An American Way of Working
Thursday, February 24: David Frank—“Some People Like to Shoot Dope”: Ideology and Pragmatism in the Film Methadone: An American Way of Dealing
Managing Editor Emerita Trysh Travis is an Associate Professor in the Center for Women's Studies and Gender Research at the University of Florida. She was a co-founder of Points in 2012.