Social History of Alcohol and Drugs: Chief Editor Vacancy

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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.

We are looking for an experienced scholar in the field who will ensure editorial cohesion and the delegation of tasks to other editors. Editorial experience is desirable. There will also be an opportunity to re-shape the editorial board.  Expertise in areas of alcohol or drug history is essential and all time-periods will be considered.

Applicants are asked to send a C.V. and statement of interest to the current President of the Alcohol and Drugs History Society, Dr Tim Hickman, Lancaster Universrity (email: t.a.hickman@lancaster.ac.uk) by 1 November 2017.

The application should provide a brief statement of why the candidate is attracted to the post, an outline of what they would contribute to SHAD, and a synopsis of their relevant experience (1000 word maximum).

Further details about the journal and the Alcohol and Drugs History Society can be found at https://alcoholanddrugshistorysociety.org

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Collection Exhibition: “Altered States: Sex, Drugs, and Transcendence” at Harvard’s Houghton Library

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The search for something beyond the limits of ordinary experience—for transcendence—has preoccupied humankind for millennia. Religion, the occult, philosophy, music, endorphins, sex, Ecstasy: various paths have been taken in the hope of achieving it. In Altered States: Sex, Drugs, and Transcendence in the Ludlow-Santo Domingo Library, on view at Houghton Library September 5 – December 16, one collector’s quest to document the history of this search through rare books, manuscripts, photographs, posters, prints, comics, and ephemera is celebrated.Read More »

Hot Take: Dr. Oz Defends Medical Marijuana on “Fox & Friends”

Anyone tuning in to Fox & Friends this week was treated to an awkward moment courtesy of Dr. Oz, when he went off-script after plugging his upcoming interview with Ivanka Trump and launched into an impassioned defense of medical marijuana.

“Can I ask you one thing? I talked about the opioid epidemic, but the real story is the hypocrisy around medical marijuana. And just really quickly, medical marijuana – people think it’s a gateway drug to narcotics but it may be the exit drug to get us out of the narcotic epidemic. But we’re not allowed, we’re not allowed to study it, because it’s a schedule I drug. And personally, I believe it could help.”

“Wow,” co-host Steve Doocy intoned, visibly tense. “Hadn’t heard that before.” He reminded viewers to watch Oz’s show and cut to commercial break, clearly wishing the cardiologist had taken co-host Brian Kilmeade’s cue to end the segment twenty seconds prior.Read More »

Recent Addiction Debates: Opiate Substitution, Behavioral Addictions, and AA’s “Higher Power”

Editor’s Note: The journal Addiction occasionally features critical perspectives on debates in addiction studies. Below is a selection of recent publications dealing with topical issues in the field.

Ed DaLuke Mitcheson

Abstract

Background and Aims: Clinical guidelines from around the world recommend the delivery of psychosocial interventions as part of routine care in opiate substitution treatment (OST) programmes. However, although individual studies demonstrate benefit for structured psychosocial interventions, meta-analytical reviews find no benefit for manual-based treatments beyond ‘routine counselling’.

Analysis: We consider the question of whether OST medication alone is sufficient to produce the required outcomes, or whether greater efforts should be made to provide high-quality psychosocial treatment alongside medication. In so doing, we consider the nuances and limitations of the evidence and the organizational barriers to transferring it into routine practice.

Conclusion: The evidence base for psychosocial interventions in opiate substitution treatment (OST) services can be interpreted both positively and negatively. Steering a path between overly optimistic or nihilistic interpretations of the value of psychosocial treatment in OST programmes is the most pragmatic approach. Greater attention should be paid to elements common to all psychological treatments (such as therapeutic alliance), but also to the sequencing and packaging of psychosocial elements and their linkage to peer-led interventions.


Dan
iel Kardefelt-Winther et al.

Abstract

Following the recent changes to the diagnostic category for addictive disorders in DSM-5, it is urgent to clarify what constitutes behavioural addiction to have a clear direction for future research and classification. However, in the years following the release of DSM-5, an expanding body of research has increasingly classified engagement in a wide range of common behaviours and leisure activities as possible behavioural addiction. If this expansion does not end, both the relevance and the credibility of the field of addictive disorders might be questioned, which may prompt a dismissive appraisal of the new DSM-5 subcategory for behavioural addiction. We propose an operational definition of behavioural addiction together with a number of exclusion criteria, to avoid pathologizing common behaviours and provide a common ground for further research. The definition and its exclusion criteria are clarified and justified by illustrating how these address a number of theoretical and methodological shortcomings that result from existing conceptualizations. We invite other researchers to extend our definition under an Open Science Foundation framework.

Abstract

Background: Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is a world-wide recovery mutual-help organization that continues to arouse controversy. In large part, concerns persist because of AA’s ostensibly quasi-religious/spiritual orientation and emphasis. In 1990 the United States’ Institute of Medicine called for more studies on AA’s effectiveness and its mechanisms of behavior change (MOBC) stimulating a flurry of federally funded research. This paper reviews the religious/spiritual origins of AA and its program and contrasts its theory with findings from this latest research.

Method: Literature review, summary and synthesis of studies examining AA’s MOBC.

Results: While AA’s original main text (‘the Big Book’, 1939) purports that recovery is achieved through quasi-religious/spiritual means (‘spiritual awakening’), findings from studies on MOBC suggest this may be true only for a minority of participants with high addiction severity. AA’s beneficial effects seem to be carried predominantly by social, cognitive and affective mechanisms. These mechanisms are more aligned with the experiences reported by AA’s own larger and more diverse membership as detailed in its later social, cognitive and behaviorally oriented publications (e.g. Living Sober, 1975) written when AA membership numbered more than a million men and women.

Conclusions: Alcoholics Anonymous appears to be an effective clinical and public health ally that aids addiction recovery through its ability to mobilize therapeutic mechanisms similar to those mobilized in formal treatment, but is able to do this for free over the long term in the communities in which people live.

Witness Seminar: HIV/AIDS Prison Policy in England and Wales, 1980s-1990s

Editor’s Note: Recently Drs. Janet Weston and (current ADHS president) Virginia Berridge hosted a witness seminar, a method of oral history collection through group recollections, on the development of prison policy regarding HIV/AIDS since the early 1980s at LSHTM’S Centre for History in Public Health. Below is a more thorough description of the event that may be of interest Points readers. Contact Dr. Weston for more information at janet.weston@lshtm.ac.uk.

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The seminar in progress

As part of the Prisoners, Medical Care, and Entitlement to Health project, we organised a witness seminar in May 2017 as an opportunity for key individuals to discuss their experiences and memories of the development of prison policy around HIV/AIDS.Read More »

New Dissertation Research: Life “After” Drugs?

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.

Derailed: Racially Disparate Consequences of Juvenile Drug Arrests on Life Outcomes

Author: Ashtiani, Mariam Tayari

Publication info: University of California, Irvine, ProQuest Dissertations Publishing, 2016.

http://pitt.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/1796371666?accountid=14709

Abstract: Racial biases in law enforcement over the last three decades are linked to the racialized policies of the War on Drugs, which have given way to controversially aggressive policing tactics, disproportionately focused on minority youth. These policies also pose a serious challenge to race-neutral understandings of inequality: While White youth use and sell drugs at higher rates, Black and Latino youth are more likely to get arrested. What are the consequences of this aggressive and racially biased drug enforcement on the lives of youth? I explore this question by looking at racial differences in the impact of a juvenile drug arrest on two crucial life outcomes: education and employment. Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health, I compare the effects of juvenile drug arrests on life outcomes to the effects of other types of arrests, highlighting the unique role that drug arrests play in creating divergent life outcomes along racial lines. Prior research on the impact of juvenile arrests used aggregate measures of arrest, with an underlying assumption that all offenders are uniformly impacted by an arrest, regardless of arrest type or race. In this dissertation, I develop and test Racial Profiling Selection Theory, in which Blacks, and to a lesser extent Latinos, due to racial profiling, are more likely to be arrested for minor drug crimes than Whites. I argue that Blacks and Latinos who are arrested for drugs are often youth who otherwise do not engage in criminal behavior; their pathways towards educational and labor market success are therefore derailed by the arrest. In contrast, Whites who are arrested tend to be those who engage in more criminal and delinquent behaviors. My findings support this theory. I find that drug arrests are unique, relative to other types of arrests, in their negative impacts on the life chances for Blacks and darker-phenotype Latinos. My findings have important theoretical and policy implications since they show that not only do Blacks suffer more from the War on Drugs than Whites because they are more likely to be arrested, they suffer more because the actual arrest is more detrimental to their life chances.Read More »

Substance Use Theory in the Recent Past: Modernization and the Mitchell Report

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.

It’s a Whole New Ball Game: The Mitchell Report, Performance Enhancing Drugs, and Professional Sports

Author: Schrader, Brian J.

Publication info: University of Denver, ProQuest Dissertations Publishing, 2016.

http://pitt.idm.oclc.org/login?url=https://search.proquest.com/docview/1802057999?accountid=14709

Abstract: This dissertation investigates the findings of a congressional investigation into the use of performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) in Major League Baseball, known as the Mitchell Report. It analyzes the primary arguments presented in the report, the argument for integrity, role models, and apology specifically, through the lens of governmentality and moral regulation. It argues that the report represents a distinct mode of governance that seeks to condemn PED use in a moralizing way. This mode of governance is characterized by its emergence from a variety of locations as opposed to the relatively simple use of the state and its legal apparatus. Importantly, one of those locations includes the individual subject who is urged to self-govern without the need of external threat or recourse. The dissertation also suggests that this mode of governance is inextricably linked to rhetoric and communication.Read More »