Drug history and [sub]cultures

I had the chance to speak at a virtual summer school held by the Centre for the Social History of Health and Healthcare (CSHHH) at the University of Strathclyde and Glasgow Caledonian University (the Centre is a shared operation). I was a last minute addition because my colleague Jim Mills, an expert in Asian drug… Continue reading Drug history and [sub]cultures

Fentanyl crisis and historical perspectives

Over the past month or so I've been mulling over the current opioid crisis and what it means, and of course what history can tell us about it.  It culminated in an op ed in the Globe and Mail entitled "Why is everyone talking about painkillers, but not about pain?" I felt that this article in… Continue reading Fentanyl crisis and historical perspectives

Cannabis legalization, liquor control, and bias

Just an update on the cannabis file. There has been considerable interest in this topic since, well, the past few years I suppose. But after the Liberals came back to power, with Justin Trudeau making a clear argument for legalization, not just decriminalization, the attention has been ramped up. I've had a chance to speak… Continue reading Cannabis legalization, liquor control, and bias

Reflections on a “road” trip

I visited the United Kingdom in February, as I often do, to attend conferences and talks. There is always a lot going on in the medical history and booze and drug policy/history area, so I am always finding myself quite stimulated intellectually by these trips. This time I added the title of "unofficial university ambassador"… Continue reading Reflections on a “road” trip

Wherefore medical history

Before I begin, a little Shakespeare tutorial. When Juliet says "Wherefore art thou Romeo?" she's not asking "where are you?" but "why are you?" In other words, "why are you a Montague?" Her concern was, of course, that he was the child of her family's arch enemies. I say that because I'm being snooty humanities… Continue reading Wherefore medical history

Whose control is it, anyway?

So those upstart pharmacists and nurse practitioners want to edge in on doctors' business! Recently, across the country, various health practitioners have been seeking to expand their scope of practice. This is the legally defined range of activities they are allowed do. In the health system, especially, it is a highly contentious issue. Because unlike… Continue reading Whose control is it, anyway?

Pot-ty mouth

Last year I was contacted a few times by some AM Talk radio stations after Justin Trudeau made his audacious announcement about legalizing pot.  The reason they contacted me was that I am a type of expert on this topic. (Interestingly, they all seem to think I smoke the stuff.) And they all have this tendency… Continue reading Pot-ty mouth