Depression Depressants: Why Are We Drinking So Much?

Over the last few weeks, the Anglo-Atlantic world has engaged in a slight moral panic regarding drinking. True, our concern is yet to extend to Swine Flu or Killer Africanized Honey Bee levels. You may, in fact, not even know we’re in the midst of a moral panic. It does seem, however, that alcohol is,Continue reading “Depression Depressants: Why Are We Drinking So Much?”

Forgotten Drugs of Abuse I: T’s and Blues

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.  It’s about a new drug, a killer, raging through a major American city filling ERs and morgues and leaving a trail of wrecked lives.  Just a year ago heroin was the big problem, but now this new scourge accounts for three-fourths of drug busts and a thirdContinue reading “Forgotten Drugs of Abuse I: T’s and Blues”

Meth and Moral Panics, Part Three

Meth and Moral Panics, Part One and Part Two led us to the question of whether and how we ought to arbitrate the real in assessing the ‘disproportionate response’ that moral panics require. In this post, we’ll look at efforts to do just this with respect to methamphetamine in the contemporary United States, and concludeContinue reading “Meth and Moral Panics, Part Three”

OxyContext: “Hillbilly Heroin” and the Kentucky Crime Scare of the Late 1990s

As we continue in our quest to get to the bottom of the current moment’s hysteria about “pill mills,” Points is delighted to have as a guest blogger Kenneth D. Tunnell, talking about the ways in which OxyContin abuse was portrayed in the media the first time people got all worked up over it.  Continue reading “OxyContext: “Hillbilly Heroin” and the Kentucky Crime Scare of the Late 1990s”

Meth and Moral Panics, Part Two

In my first post on the moral panic concept, I briefly described the short-lived furor over smokable crystal methamphetamine between late 1989 and early 1991.  Phil Jenkins placed the “ice” episode alongside other pharmaceutical scares-of-the-moment in a category he called “synthetic panics”—a drug-specific term derived from the basic sociological construct of the moral panic.  SyntheticContinue reading “Meth and Moral Panics, Part Two”

Getting Relief in Wartime: Opioids, Pain Management, and the War on Drugs

In her second guest post for Points, pain relief activist Siobhan Reynolds looks at the ways in which drug war hysteria has warped public and political perceptions of pain management prescribing practices.   On April 20, the FDA, the DEA and the Office of National Drug Control Policy, along with a host of other federalContinue reading “Getting Relief in Wartime: Opioids, Pain Management, and the War on Drugs”

Meth and Moral Panics, Part One

Today, I’m posting the first in a short series on the concept of “moral panic” and its utility for those of us who write and think about the history of drugs and alcohol. I’ve been promising this series to co-managing editor Trysh Travis (and to my students) for some time, so I’m glad to getContinue reading “Meth and Moral Panics, Part One”

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