The contemporary opioid epidemic is just the latest in a long history of Big Pharma–fueled crises in the U.S., argues David Herzberg in his new book, White Market Drugs. But people seeking to solve the crisis often turn to solutions that history has shown don’t work, resulting in a failed war on drugs, a growing prison population, and an underregulated industry seeking profit over safety.
Today on the show, guest host Nan Enstad spends the hour with David Herzberg discussing this critical new drug history that challenges many widely held notions about drug use—including the distinction between “patients” and “users” or “legal” versus “illegal” drugs—and offers compassionate policy solutions.
David Herzberg is a professor of history at the University of Buffalo. He is the author of Happy Pills in America: From Miltown to Prozac (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009) and White Market Drugs: Big Pharma and the Hidden History of Addiction in America (University of Chicago Press, 2020).