Starting Points

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.


Thanks, From Points!

We at Points would like to thank you for supporting the blog and hope all our readers celebrating Thanksgiving enjoyed the holiday yesterday. We’ll be back next week with our usual brand of insights into drug history – and their implications for the present. Stay tuned! In the meantime, consider: how did intoxicants influence your day? (We’ll still allow tryptophan!)

CFP: “Conformity, Resistance, Dialogue and Deviance in Health and Medicine”

stylized_aahm_pic-300x189Society for the Social History of Medicine (SSHM)

Call for Papers

2018 Biennial Conference – University of Liverpool

11-13 July 2018

The Society welcomes proposals on the theme of ‘Conformity, Resistance, Dialogue and Deviance in Health and Medicine’

Deadline for Proposals Friday 2 February 2018

The Society for the Social History of Medicine hosts a major biennial, international, and interdisciplinary conference. In July 2018 it will meet in Liverpool to explore the theme of ‘Conformity, Resistance, Dialogue and Deviance in Health and Medicine’.Read More »

Forthcoming: Special Journal Issues on Gender and Drugs

Editor’s Note: The next editions of the journals Contemporary Drug Problems and The Social History of Alcohol and Drugs will be conjoined on the topic of drugs and gender. Below are the shared titles and abstracts. Make sure to check out the full articles upon publication next month!

Gender and Critical Drug Studies: An Introduction and an Invitation

Nancy D. Campbell, David Herzberg

This introduction to conjoined special issues of Contemporary Drug Problemsand the journal of the Alcohol and Drugs History Society, the Social History of Alcohol and Drugs, began with a 2015 symposium at the Baldy Center for Law and Social Policy at the University at Buffalo (SUNY), organized by co-editors Nancy D. Campbell and David Herzberg. The symposium called for incorporating gender analysis into the rapidly developing scholarship on drug use, drug trade, drug science, drug treatment, and drug policy in the United States. The special issues showcase articles that are part of a vibrant body of historical, sociological, and anthropological scholarship that explores the differential effects of drug policy, focusing on how gender—in dynamic relationship to race, class, and sexuality—is integral to virtually every aspect of drug crises including (but not limited to) the relationship between drug policy, drug treatment, and the development of mass incarceration. Gender matters at every level from the intimate and highly personalized to the broad cultural and political forces that disparately apportion vulnerability within drug commerce and the U.S. prison–industrial complex.Read More »

Interview: “Woman in AA” with Trysh Travis on Rebellion Dogs Radio

Editor’s note: Today we feature a recent interview with Dr. Trysh Travis, professor in the University of Florida’s Gender, Sexualities, and Women’s Studies department and Points co-founder/managing editor emeritus, on Rebellion Dogs Radio, a podcast offering “less dogma and more bite” than traditional perspectives on recovery. Below is the interview description from Rebellion Dogs and a link to the interview on Soundcloud, but be sure to check out the original post (and the entire thought-provoking site). 

trish-travis“More than just a professional historian, as a Women’s Studies professor, I’m a professional feminist.  That means that my orientation to history is informed by an awareness of the unequal distribution of power between men and women, and a desire to reveal, critique and correct that inequality. Feminism works for me as what Ernie [Kurtz, Not God: A History of Alcoholics Anonymous] called a filter—it colors the questions that I ask and the answers that I formulate.” Trysh Travis: 2017 AA History Lover’s Symposium, Sedona Mago Recovery Series.

The history of woman in AA (and throughout the larger recovery community) is the focus of  Rebellion Dogs Radio #34. Rebellion Dog’s 21st century look at 12-Step Life welcomes, from the University of Florida Center for Gender, Sexualities, and Women’s Studies Research, Trysh Travis. Having just come back from Sedona Mago Retreat (Arizona), I can tell you that the place is still buzzing from Trysh Travis’ shared research and insights on women and the 12-Step community. Read More »

Points Research Bibliography: Addiction Stigma, Support, and Spirituality in the Americas

Editor’s Note:  These entries are part of an ongoing drug-related dissertation bibliography being compiled by Jonathon Erlen, which was formerly published in the Social History of Alcohol and Drugs journal but is now periodically featured on the Points blog. Contact Dr. Erlen through the link above.

Does Perceived Faculty Support Moderate the Effects of Stress on Student Nurse Substance Use?

Author: Boulton, Martha Ann

Publication info: Teachers College, Columbia University, ProQuest Dissertations Publishing, 2016. 10126378.

Abstract: Purpose: Nurses who abuse substances are a threat to patients, colleagues, society, and themselves. The purpose of this research, guided by Hildegard Peplau’s Interpersonal Theory in Nursing, was to identify rates of substance misuse by student nurses and determine whether a relationship exists between stress and substance misuse and whether perceived faculty support moderates the effect of stress on substance misuse. In addition, the relationship among perception of peer use, perception of harmfulness, and substance use was explored. Method: A quantitative, cross-sectional, correlational design was used to determine whether a relationship exists between stress and substance abuse and whether perceived faculty support moderates the effect of stress and substance misuse in student nurses. The convenience sample of National Student Nurses’ Association members yielded 4,033 completed surveys. Students were given the Student Nurse Stress Index and Perceived Faculty Support Scale, and asked about their past-year substance use, perceived peer substance use, and perceived harmfulness of substance use, via Survey Monkey. Responses were analyzed through exploratory data analysis and logistic regression. Results: Binge drinking was reported by 61% of the student nurses; 18% reported using marijuana; 5% reported using illegal drugs, excluding marijuana; 8% reported using non-prescribed stimulants to enhance academic performance; and 10% reported using non-prescribed prescription pills. Students with higher stress scores had a higher incidence of substance use. Most participants reported moderate faculty support. Those who had higher perceptions of faculty support tended to use fewer non-prescribed stimulants for academic enhancement. The hypothesized interaction was non-significant. This model accounted for 1.6% of the variance. Students tended to overestimate their peers’ substance use. Perceived harmfulness of a substance was related to a decrease in binge drinking, marijuana use, illegal drug use, stimulant use for academic enhancement, and non-prescribed prescription drug use. Conclusions: The results suggest that student nurses tend to use fewer drugs than their college counterparts but are slightly more likely to binge drink. Perception of peer use and perceived harmfulness accounted for 30% of the variance. They reported a moderate level of stress and used non-prescribed prescription drugs more as the stress scores increased. Perceived faculty support seems to be inversely related to use of non-prescribed stimulants and does not appear to moderate the effect of stress on substance misuse.Read More »

The Points Interview: Ingrid Walker

The subject of today’s Points Interview is Dr. Ingrid Walker, discussing her new book, High: Drugs, Desire, and a Nation of Users (University of Washington Press, 2017). She has written and presented at length on the topic, including at a 2013 TEDx event. Follow her on Twitter.

Describe your book in terms your bartender could understand.

41if22hzijl-_sx331_bo1204203200_If I ask you to picture a drug user, chances are that you won’t envision yourself. But nearly everyone is a psychoactive drug user. If you start your day with coffee or tea, if you enjoy drinking in this bar, or if you use psychotherapeutics–antidepressants or anti-anxiety meds–you are a drug user. The question is, why don’t we see ourselves as users? Because some drugs are so socially accepted that they are invisible. And other drugs have been vilified to the point of monstrosity.

People in the United States have been bombarded with stories about good drugs and bad drugs, from Prozac to bath salts. But that distinction is cultural—we made it up. It reflects assumptions that are not based in science, social science, or even personal experience. In High I tell the story about how and why we have come to these misconceptions. My book traces the cultural context of how we got here, to a place that so misunderstands drugs and users. It also proposes what we can do to change this.Read More »

Points Bibliography: Drugs Onstage, on Campus, and in National Discourse in U.S. History

Editor’s Note:  These entries are part of an ongoing drug-related dissertation bibliography being compiled by Jonathon Erlen, which was formerly published in the Social History of Alcohol and Drugs journal but is now periodically featured on the Points blog. Contact Dr. Erlen through the link above.

“Porgy and Bess” and the American Racial Imaginary, 1925–1985

Author: Noonan, Marie Ellen

Abstract: This dissertation traces the cultural history of the opera Porgy and Bess from its origins as a novel published in 1925 to a 1985 production at the Metropolitan Opera and subsequent entry into the standard repertory of American opera companies. Porgy and Bess was created by George Gershwin, DuBose Heyward, and Ira Gershwin and based on Heyward’s novel and 1927 play adaptation of that novel, both titled Porgy . First Heyward’s and later Gershwin’s insistence on employing African-American performers (rather than white performers in blackface makeup) in the stage versions of Porgy and Porgy and Bess , made these productions groundbreaking opportunities for African-American actors and singers to appear in serious roles before white critics and audiences. Their presence also insured that, in its novel and play versions, debut opera production in 1935, and revivals during the 1950s and 1970s, Porgy and Bess engendered a series of contests over the meaning of African-American racial authenticity and the politics of African-American cultural representation. This dissertation places Porgy and Bess in a broader history, stretching from the Harlem Renaissance to the post-Civil Rights Movement era, of the ways that the arena of cultural production has served as a site of struggle for African Americans seeking recognition of their human dignity and rights to full citizenship. With minimal influence over the artistic and financial means of mainstream cultural production in the performing arts for much of the twentieth century, African-American performers, intellectuals, and press commentators struggled to negotiate the opportunities available to them while challenging the representations—from pernicious to simplistic to obsolete—of African-American life and culture perpetuated through popular culture and the performing arts. Drawing on production and publicity materials, correspondence, and reviews and commentary in both mainstream white and African-American newspapers and periodicals, this dissertation explores the ways that, in successive generations, Porgy and Bess was remade by rapidly shifting attitudes about race and cultural representation. Within this remaking lies not merely the history of one opera but the history of ideas about race, culture, and nation in the twentieth-century United States.

Publication year: 2002

ISBN: 9780493631967, 0493631968

Advisor: Kelley, Robin D. G.

University/institution: New York UniversityRead More »

Happy Halloween from Points!

Editor’s Note: We at Points wish all our celebrating readers a happy Halloween! Before you head out trick-or-treating, check out this post from last year’s holiday season on “laced” candy and other drug myths. It also contains a prediction, proven correct in last year’s election, that Florida voters would pass a constitutional amendment allowing for medical marijuana.

Beware… or don’t.

This year, medical marijuana is on the ballot in my home state of Florida, and it’s likely to pass: the latest statewide poll shows 77 percent of Floridians support the proposed constitutional amendment.

But the remaining 33 percent aren’t taking this lying down. On Monday, some county sheriffs held a press conference ostensibly on Halloween safety. Instead, surrounded by costumed children for full effect, they warned citizens about the supposed risk of marijuana edibles being passed out to unsuspecting youth.Read More »

Reminder: Now Hiring Chief Editor for ADHS’s Social History of Alcohol and Drugs

Social History of Alcohol and Drugs
(SHAD) seeks a new chief editor to join Dr. James Kneale (editor), Dr. David Beckingham and Dr. Holly Karibo (reviews editors). The new chief editor will succeed Dr. Dan Malleck, who will stand down in 2017.

Social History of Alcohol and Drugs is a leading international journal and covers all social and cultural aspects of substance history. The journal is published twice a year on behalf of the Alcohol and Drugs History Society.

This is an exciting time for the journal as we are currently in discussion with a new academic publisher.  The new chief editor will oversee the move to more modern publication practices, including an online peer-review system and possible partnership with ProjectMUSE.Read More »

Conference Spotlight: Watch Michelle Alexander’s International Drug Policy Reform Conference Keynote

drug_policy_alliance_logoFrom October 11 to 14, the Drug Policy Alliance, a reform-minded advocacy organization and occasional cross-poster to Points, held its biennial International Drug Policy Reform Conference in Washington, D.C.  Topics of interest include organizing and educating about drugs under differential prohibitions, mitigating the harms of the drug war and promoting self care for vulnerable populations, and influencing the discursive boundaries of debates over drugs and other substances (one such panel featured Points alum Dr. Ingrid Walker). The full program is found onlineRead More »