Print ISBN: 978-1-64265-401-1
# of Pages: 600
# of Volumes: 2
Print List Price: $295.00
e-ISBN: 978-1-64265-402-8
eBook User Price: $295.00
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Defining Documents in American History: Drug Policy

Editor: Michael Shally-Jensen, Ph.D.
February 2020

This title takes a close look at the history of this country's drug policies, treatment options, and epidemics- alcohol, opium, morphine, heroin, marijuana, crack cocaine, and the opioid crisis- and includes documents related to contemporary issues such as corporate accountability, controversial treatment, sentencing, racial and economic factors, and organized crime.

A CHOICE Top 75 Community College Resource for November 2020

Defining Documents in American History: Drug Policy offers in-depth analysis of 63 primary source documents at the foundation of the study of drug policy in America. These include book excerpts, speeches, political debates, testimony, court rulings, legal texts, legislative acts, essays, newspaper articles, and interviews. These selections trace the history of drug policy from Colonial days and concerns about alcohol to the present-day opi­oid crisis and debates over how to best treat addiction in the United States. Drugs as they relate to public health concerns, including alcohol and vaccines, are also con­sidered as part of the overall drug policy of the nation.

The material is organized into five sections, and each section begins with a brief introduction that defines questions and problems related to the drug policies and problems of the United States that are addressed in the historical documents.

  • Alcohol and Anti-Alcohol Effects Over Time includes Wo to Drunkards by Increase Mather; An Inquiry into the Effects of Ardent Spirits, which draws a distinction between “ardent spir­its” and the wine, beer, and cider; Carry Nation on Her Life as a Temperance Crusader; the Volstead Act that led to Prohibition and the passage of the 18th Amendment; and the foreword and twelve steps of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.
  • Drugs and Drug Abuse in Earlier Decades includes documents and advertisements that are shocking to modern sensibilities: Cocaine Toothache Drops, meant for Children; reac­tion and response to what today is a cult classic, Reefer Madness; and Senate Hearings on Illicit Narcotics Traffic.
  • The Emergence of Public Health begins with An Historical Account of the Small-pox Inoculated in New England; passage of the Pure Food and Drug Act; and Henry Ford on Cigarette Smoking
  • Drug Policy and Opinion—From the 1960s to Today is the most extensive section, covering a variety of conferences and addresses consider­ing how to wage war on drugs; the Controlled Substances Act; a Congressional report on The World Heroin Problem; the Fair Sentencing Act that included mandatory minimum sentences based on specific quantities of powder cocaine and crack cocaine; and first-person recollections of drug addiction and abuse—One by One and The Adderall Diaries.
  • Public Health and Public Opinion in Interaction, which takes a closer look at smok­ing in “A Frank Statement to Cigarette Smokers; the Surgeon General’s report, and the 1994 Tobacco Hearings; vaccination in On the Polio Vaccine Situation and Retraction of Lancet Paper on MMR Vaccine and Autism; the Opening Statement in Congressional Hearings on Steroid Use in Baseball; and Part D from Outer Space, concerning prescription drug coverage for Medicare recipients.

Each Historical Document is supported by a critical essay, written by historians and teachers, that includes a Summary Overview, Defining Moment, About the Author, Document Analysis, and Essential Themes. An important feature of each essay is a close reading of the primary source that develops broader themes, such as the author’s rhetorical purpose, social or class position, point of view, and other relevant issues. Each essay also includes a Bibliography Additional Reading section for further research.

Appendixes in this book include:

  • Chronological List which arranges all documents by year;
  • Web Resources, an annotated list of websites that offer valuable supplemental resources;
  • Bibliography lists of helpful articles and books for further study

The Defining Documents series provides in-depth commentary and analysis on the most important primary source documents in the United States and the world. The Defining Documents series is perfect for students, those researching a particular era, or anyone interested in world history. Visit for more information about additional titles in this series.

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