Congressional Briefing: American Drug Policy and Drug Addiction Epidemics

The National History Center of the American Historical Association will hold a Congressional briefing on American drug policy and drug addiction epidemics in historical perspective.  David Courtwright of the University of North Florida and Keith Wailoo of Princeton University will discuss drug policy reform and the drug market since the Progressive era.  Alan Kraut of American University will moderate the discussion.

The briefing will be held on Monday, May 9th, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. in the Cannon House Office Building, Room 121, Washington, DC.

RSVPs are requested.  To RSVP, please email Amanda Perry at


Meet the Moderator

Alan M. Kraut received his B.A. from Hunter College and his M.A. and Ph.D. in History from Cornell University. He is University Professor and Professor of History at American University in Washington, D.C. He holds an adjunct faculty appointment at the Uniformed University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, MD and he is a Nonresident Fellow of the Migration Policy Institute in Washington, D.C.  He is the author or editor of nine books.  His books dealing with the history of medicine and public health include Silent Travelers: Germs, Genes, and the “Immigrant Menace” (1994), Goldberger’s War: The Life and Work of a Public Health Crusader (2003), and Covenant of Care: Newark Beth Israel and the Jewish Hospital in America (co-authored 2007). He is currently working on a history of the role that issues of health and physical appearance have played in the integration of newly arrived immigrants to the United States throughout American history. His scholarly projects have been supported by the Rockefeller Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Smithsonian Institution, the American Philosophical Society, the National Institutes of Health, and the Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey. He is a member of the editorial boards of the Bulletin of the History of Medicine, the Journal of American Ethnic History, and the International Migration Review. Dr. Kraut is Past President of the Organization of American Historians, the largest professional organization of those who study U.S. history, and is currently President of the National History Coalition. He is an elected fellow of the Society of American Historians.  More information on Alan Kraut can be found here.

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Meet the Presenters

David T. Courtwright earned his Ph.D. in history at Rice University. His books on drug use, drug politics, and drug policy include Forces of Habit: Drugs and the Making of the Modern World (2001), Dark Paradise: A History of Opiate Addiction in America (rev. ed., 2001), No Right Turn: Conservative Politics in a Liberal America (2010), and Addicts Who Survived (rev. ed., 2012). With the assistance of a 2016-2017 NEH Public Scholar Program Grant Award, he is writing a global history of pleasure, vice, and addiction.  He lives in Jacksonville, where he is Presidential Professor at the University of North Florida. He is a founding member of the National History Center and past president of the Alcohol and Drugs History Society. He recently wrote a piece discussing Marijuana research for The Washington Post. More information on David Courtwright can be found here.

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Keith Andrew Wailoo is Townsend Martin Professor of History and Public Affairs at Princeton where he is jointly appointed in the Department of History and the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, and he was elected to the Institute of Medicine (now the National Academy of Medicine) in 2007. He is the author of many acclaimed books including Pain: A Political History (2014); How Cancer Crossed the Color Line (2011); Dying in the City of the Blues: Sickle Cell Anemia and the Politics of Race and Health (2001); and co-editor of Medicare and Medicaid at 50: America’s Entitlement Programs in the Age of Affordable Care ( forthcoming July 2015); and Three Shots at Prevention: The HPV Vaccine and the Politics of Medicine’s Simple Solutions (2010). His writings have also appeared in the New York Times, The Lancet, the News and Observer (N.C.), and American Prospect.  He recently wrote an article analyzing the “Pain Gap” for The Daily Beast. Wailoo earned his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in the History and Sociology of Science in 1992.  More information on Keith Wailoo can be found here.

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