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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.

Cigarettes in Africa

Author: Charles Ambler

On October 21, 2021 here on Points Sarah Brady Siff drew attention to an important new book by the eminent historian of medicine, Keith Wailoo, Pushing Cool: Big Tobacco, Racial Marketing, and the Untold Story of the Menthol Cigarette. In this book, Wailoo documents in lucid prose the cynical campaign by tobacco companies to market cigarette products in minority communities at a time when growing awareness of the health repercussions of tobacco use had led to sharp declines in smoking among white middle class Americans. 

That domestic corporate strategy only represented a piece, and ultimately a relatively small piece, of a global effort to expand markets and find new sources of revenue outside the United States and Western Europe—in Asia, Latin America and Africa.  Yet as my colleagues, Gernot Klantschnig and Neil Carrier, and I noted in the introduction to our collection on Drugs in Africa (2014) there is relatively little scholarship on tobacco production, manufacturing, promotion and consumption in Africa—not withstanding big tobacco’s supposed big push into the continent.

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From Roses and Indigo to Opium: The Enigma of Ghazipur

Editor’s Note: In this post, Dr Kawal Deep Kour shows the how the waning markets for rose attar and indigo positioned Ghazeepore, India, to take advantage of the emerging market for opium, and how attitudes towards production changed during the 19th century in response to the changing landscape of labor and colonialism.

Author: Kawal Deep Kour

Nestled within the orthogenetic city of Benaras, India, Ghazeepore (of the 19th century) was much like an entrepot or emporia without the spirit and brilliance of the former. Ghazeepore, developed independently though its attachment as a hinterland of Benaras, was valuable to the long-term growth under the British raj. But it was the accumulation of interconnected stories, as the social histories of roses, indigo and opium reveal, that facilitated the evolution of Ghazeepore as an influential city by the early 19th century.

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Points Interview: Professor Toine Pieters

Today’s post features an interview with Toine Pieters, professor of the History of Pharmacy and Allied Sciences, acting head of the Freudenthal Institute, chairman of the board of the Graduate School of Natural Sciences and senior fellow of the Descartes Institute of the History and Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities at Utrecht University. His broader interests include drug and addiction research, neuropharmacology, leprosy research and the digital reuse of heritage resources.

Toine recently authored ‘THE BATTLE BETWEEN DAVID AND GOLIATH: Drug Making and the Dutch Pharmacist versus the International Pharmaceutical Industry, 1865–2020‘ within the first issue of History of Pharmacy and Pharmaceuticals. Find out more about Toine’s background, article and future research plans in this interview.

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A Chronology of Drugs

Editor’s Note: During her career as a Professor of History, specialising in 20th century Latin America and the war on drugs, Myrna Santiago compiled a chronology of drugs. This contains a log of key dates throughout the history of drugs. We’re incredibly grateful that Myrna has offered to share her chronology within this blog post and will remain part of our Teaching Points collection. I’ll defer to Myrna to explain the rest…

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Criminalizing Addiction in Motherhood: A Modern Phenomenon

The third post in this three-part series on Drugs, Women, and Families is based on the valuable research of Jamie Feyko, who during my drug law seminar investigated how pregnant women with substance use disorders are treated in the United States. In short, they are blamed, villainized, and punished. The trend toward criminally charging pregnant women who use drugs with crimes began in the 1980s and has been growing ever since. Feyko’s review of major cases reveals the extent to which politics and racism drive this phenomenon. But she also contextualizes this history within a set of cultural assumptions about motherhood and pregnancy that leave many women with few options for treatment and care. 

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