logo for Points, which features a needle in place of the T

short & insightful writing about a long and complex history

Joint Blog of the Alcohol & Drugs History Society and the American Institute of the History of Pharmacy

ttravis | January 20, 2011

Points (n.)

1. marks of punctuation. 2. something that has position but not extension, as the intersection of two lines. 3. salient features of a story, epigram, joke, etc.:  he hit the high points. 4. (slang; U.S.) needles for intravenous drug use.

The End of the War on Drugs: Petro’s Key Foreign Policy Agenda

The initiatives and rhetoric of the first five months of Gustavo Petro’s government have clearly indicated that one of the key objectives of the Humane Colombia party is to redirect Colombia’s foreign policy away from the “North Star” doctrine (Respice Polum) and toward the Respice Similia doctrine, as defined by president Alfonso López Michelsen back in the 1970s when the Colombian government pursued an autonomous position toward the emerging U.S.-driven War on Drugs.[1] Petro’s move away from the dominant status quo parallels the initiative of López Michelsen, insisting, as Michelsen did, that the problem of narcotics trafficking must be tackled from the angle of consumption and demand and not production and supply.[2] 

The return to the short-lived sovereignty-based doctrine of four decades ago sheds light on the subordinate role defended by all other past governments, with the exception of Michelsen’s, as well as the willingness of the current government to redefine their relationship with the United States, the Western-dominated global market system, its multilateral institutions and power structures, and the ultimate pursuit of new partnerships, regionally and globally, in order to establish a foreign policy that will guarantee peace for Colombians while at the same time securing a more sustainable and self-sufficient regional economic development model.  Within this initiative, the redefinition of Colombia’s role in the War on Drugs has become a key agenda item and a key pillar of Petro’s foreign policy.  Without this policy shift the country and the world, says Petro, will not be able to achieve peace; this objective will not be reached “without social, economic, and environmental justice.”[3]

From his perspective, and the perspective of many Colombians, the War on Drugs must be terminated because it has only led to death, violence, human rights abuses, economic degradation, political corruption, and environmental catastrophes.  This policy, imposed on Colombians by foreign interests wanting to turn their back on their own internal social and health problem, has impeded the country from achieving peace and internal political stability.  Forty plus years of failed policy initiatives and billions of dollars wasted is all there is to show for this policy initiative.  The “irrational war against drugs” pushed by the United States “has failed.”[4]

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At War With King Alcohol: Debating Drinking and Masculinity in the Civil War

On Tuesday February 21, 2023, 7:00 – 8:15 p.m. U.S. ET, the Virginia Center for Civil War Studies at Virginia Tech is hosting a free online lecture and discussion with Dr Megan Bever, titled “At War with King Alcohol: Debating Drinking and Masculinity in the Civil War.”  Click here for more details and to register.

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Competition for the 2023 AIHP Glenn Sonnedecker Prize Opens

The American Institute of the History of Pharmacy is pleased to announce the opening of the 2023 AIHP Glenn Sonnedecker Prize competition. Each year, the Sonnedecker Prize recognizes the author(s) of the best unpublished manuscript submitted in the competition on a topic within the field of the history of pharmacy and pharmaceuticals.

A Snapshot of Drug Advertising Laws in the USA: Impact on Consumer Protection and Health

Traditional drug advertisements involve drug ads and promotional material targeted at healthcare professionals to increase clinician knowledge of advancement in treatment options. On the other hand, direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA) is pharmaceutical advertising directed at patients to increase their awareness of available drugs and treatment options.

There has been renewed interest in the value of DTCA in recent years, which makes it seem like a modern phenomenon, but the practice dates back to early medical training. The argument in support of DTCA is that targeting consumers instead of healthcare providers gives patients power and agency over their drug consumption (Schwartz & Woloshin, 2016). While this argument has some merits, it is vital that we know the history of drug advertisements in the United States to understand how DTCA has shaped public perception of drugs, drug use, and public health. Only with this understanding can we make a sound judgment on the need for DTCA in present times and the future of healthcare.

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Who Can Afford a Baby? An Intersection of Gender, Race, and Class Oppression in Fertility Treatment in the USA

The World Health Organization (WHO) describes infertility as an inability to achieve a viable pregnancy within one year of regular and unprotected heterosexual sex. Infertility is classified as a disease by WHO and as a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The Center for Disease Control estimates that 1 in 5 heterosexual women who have no prior births experience infertility. This makes infertility one of the most common diseases/disabilities in women of reproductive age (Insogna & Ginsburg, 2018; World Health Organization, 2018:2020; Davis & Khosla, 2020).

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Healing Disruption: Symposium

Dr Maziyar Ghiabi has announced the proceedings of a two-day symposium titled ‘Healing Disruption: Histories of Intoxication and ‘Addiction’. The symposium is to be held on 26th-27th January, 2023 at Reed Hall, Exeter University, UK. For more details please email m.ghiabi@exeter.ac.uk.

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