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The Other Drug War: Psychoactive pharmaceuticals and addiction in U.S. history

May 1 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

The Department of Humanities and the Harrell Health Sciences Library at Penn State College of Medicine will host a Hershey Society for the History of Medicine lecture, “The Other Drug War: Psychoactive pharmaceuticals and addiction in U.S. History.”

There will be a reception after the lecture at 5:15 pm in the College of Medicine’s Harrell Health Sciences Library, in conjunction with the National Library of Medicine Traveling Exhibit “Pick Your Poison: Intoxicating Pleasures & Medical Prescriptions”

A head-and-shoulders photo of David Herzberg, PhDDavid Herzberg, associate professor of history at SUNY-Buffalo, will recover the forgotten story of past crises with addictive pharmaceuticals, and draw lessons for today from America’s long history of policy failures and occasional successes. The early 21st century’s opioid crisis is usually portrayed as a new and shocking development, yet it is only the most recent chapter in more than a century of widespread problems with pharmaceutical sedatives, stimulants and narcotics, from Bayer’s heroin to Rorer’s quaalude, and more.

Herzberg is a historian of drugs and addictive medicines, with a particular interest in pharmaceutical sedatives, stimulants, and narcotics in the 20th century’s consumer culture. Among other places, his work has appeared in American Quarterly, the American Journal of Public Health, the Bulletin of the History of Medicine, and in a book, Happy Pills in America: From Miltown to Prozac (Johns Hopkins, 2009).

Both events are free and open to the public. Registration is not required. For details, email Claire de Boer at cdeboer@pennstatehealth.psu.edu.


May 1
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Event Category:


Lecture Room C (Room C6616) – Penn State College of Medicine
700 HMC Crescent Road
Hershey, PA 17033 United States
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