Good drugs and their bad tendencies

After several decades of working on this (ok, worked on it in the 90s then took some time away) my book, When Good Drugs Go Bad: Opium, Medicine, and the Origins of Canada's Drug Laws has been released. You can order a copy of the hardcover here. And for reference, here is a picture of… Continue reading Good drugs and their bad tendencies

No need to smoke em if you got em

Smoking is considered a pariah activity. Smokers, driven by "Clean Air" laws, zealous public health advocates and self righteous non smokers do their thing on the edge of activity. Back doors, 9 metres away from doors, unsheltered, cowering, hiding, heads down, grimaced. This is how health messaging becomes moral shaming. I'm not a smoker, find… Continue reading No need to smoke em if you got em

Media II: the morning after the referenda

Two more states voted for various forms of cannabis legalization. The District of Columbia also voted to permit marijuana possession. Several municipalities in New England passed similar initiatives. These are big deals. How they will play out in Canada (if at all) is a good topic of debate. I spoke to Yahoo News about this,… Continue reading Media II: the morning after the referenda

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

Ask and you shall receive; seek and ye shall find.

So I've been a little lax on updates and am trying to catch up. this post is actually about something I found in Saskatchewan in autumn 2012. But some background. My research has involved a lot of digging through pharmacy records.  I've done some detailed data collection of records from pharmacies in Ontario, Alberta, and… Continue reading Ask and you shall receive; seek and ye shall find.

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