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About Points

Points (n.)

1. marks of punctuation. 2. something that has position but not extension, as the intersection of two lines. 3. salient features of a story, epigram, joke, etc.:  he hit the high points. 4. (slang; U.S.) needles for intravenous drug use.

Points is a group blog that brings together scholars and thinkers with wide-ranging expertise to produce original reflections about the history of drugs, medicines, alcohol, pharmacy, and their allied fields. Points provides a forum for exchange: of new ideas, of original insights, and of thoughtful speculations about disciplinary, professional, and intellectual boundaries and divisions. We aim to generate new dialogues that bridge false divides and break down artificial silos in both history and praxis. More informed than the mainstream media and more accessible than academic journals, Points exemplifies a new kind of scholarly exchange that showcases innovative ways of thinking about substances, society, and health in the past and the present.

Points features regular posts from our Contributing Editors and welcomes posts from guest authors. All posts are edited by the Managing Editor prior to publication and revisions may be requested or recommended. However, with a diverse audience in mind, Points is more flexible than an academic journal regarding the content and formatting of posts.

Guidance for contributions:

  • Content is welcomed on a wide range of topics, including intoxicants, health and medicine, pharmacy and pharmaceuticals, and much more.

  • Written posts/essays should be 750–2000 words. These typically offer cultural criticism, policy analysis, archival/museum & book reviews, and event reports.

  • We also welcome creative content in the form of: interviews, source/image discussion, presentation recordings – pitch an idea and we’ll discuss.

  • References are best kept to a minimum and hyperlinked within the post.

  • All content must be submitted with author(s) biography paragraphs & a profile picture to be published with the post.

For further information, contact Managing Editors Claire Davey and Mary Magnuson.

Points was founded in 2011 by Joe Spillane and Trysh Travis. It is a joint blog sponsored by, the Alcohol and Drugs History Society, an affiliate organization of the American Historical Association, and the American Institute of the History of Pharmacy, a constituent society of the American Association for the History of Medicine.

Editorial Board

Managing Editors:

Mary Magnuson joined Points as a Managing Editor in August 2022. Mary is an MS student in Environment & Resources with a certificate in science communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She researches human dimensions of wildlife, particularly community coexistence with urban coyotes, and is broadly interested in the intersection of science and society. She has a BS in Conservation Biology and Life Sciences Communication from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and was a 2022 AAAS Mass Media fellow.

Claire Davey succeeded Greg Bond as Managing Editor of Points in January 2022. She is a PhD Candidate in Sociology at Canterbury Christ Church University, UK and is a recipient of the University Research Scholarship. Her research explores identities in sobriety, particularly within online communities. Her former degrees are in Gender, Sexuality & Culture (MA) from Birkbeck, University of London and History (BA) from the University of Bristol. Claire also presents Club Soda‘s Meet the Scholar webinar series on themes of alcohol, sobriety, and wellbeing, and is an active member of the Drinking Studies Network. @C_G_Davey

Contributing Editors:

Sarah Brady Siff is visiting assistant professor at the Moritz College of Law at The Ohio State University, in affiliation with the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center (DEPC). She is a historian of modern U.S. law and politics specializing in the history of drug control. The DEPC is supporting her work on two book manuscripts. “Tough on Dope: Crime and Politics in California’s Drug Wars” is a survey of local and state drug prohibition efforts from 1850 to the mid-1960s, including issues of federalism and constitutional law. “Weed Killers: Cannabis Eradication in the United States” covers the unsuccessful, century-long campaign of American marijuana prohibition with an emphasis on agricultural and environmental policy as well as law enforcement. Siff’s 2019 article “Burn, Sell, or Drive: Forfeiture in the History of Drug Law Enforcement” in the Ohio State Law Journal proposes that customary drug-related seizure and forfeiture practices in the United States are rooted in founding-era tax law.

Stefano Tijerina teaches in the areas of international business, comparative business, and ethics at the University of Maine’s Maine Business School. Prior to his academic career he worked in the areas of international banking and non-profit management. He received his B.A. in Comparative Politics from Clark University, a Graduate Certificate in International Relations from Universidad de los Andes, and his M.P.A. and Ph.D. in History from the University of Maine. His current research centers on the business dynamics of the Western Hemisphere from a historical perspective, including the dynamics of informal markets.

Kawal is a Prevention Specialist and currently leads the South Asian Drugs and Addictions Research Council, India. Her research has focussed on the history of opium in Assam 1800-1959. She’ll be continuing to share her work with us on South Asian histories of drugs and alcohol.

Christopher is an independent researcher working in academia and civil society organisations, and a Research Associate at the Global Drug Policy Observatory, Swansea University. He’ll be contributing posts on European histories of drugs and alcohol.

Juliet is currently pursuing a Masters in Public Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). She has experience in working within inpatient treatment for substance use disorders in India, and subsequently as an overdose researcher in Boston. She will be contributing posts that investigate the spatial aspects of drug use, looking at both time and geography.

Steve is an assistant adjunct professor in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of California-San Francisco (UCSF). His work has primarily focussed on the history of medicine; how people have understood, treated, experienced, and represented pain. He’ll be contributing posts that share more on this work and recent research projects on historic healthcare costs, and chronic pain.

Capucine is a researcher in Global Health at the National University of Singapore (NUS) and will be contributing posts on themes related to health equities within East Asian health systems with a particular focus on drug/pharmaceutical policy/legislation, harm reduction, and mental health.

Managing Editor Emeritus

Greg Bond was managing editor of Points throughout 2021. He is currently the Archivist for the Joyce Sports Research Collection, one of the most significant sports history manuscript and archival collections in the country. He formerly held positions as the American Institute of the History of Pharmacy (AIHP)’s Head Archivist and served as Associate Director for AIHP and Senior Editor of AIHP’s journal History of Pharmacy and Pharmaceuticals.

Emily Dufton holds a PhD in American Studies from George Washington University. She is the author of Grass Roots: The Rise and Fall and Rise of Marijuana in America. She was the managing editor of Points from 2014–2016 and from 2018–2020. She also served as the media officer for the Alcohol and Drugs History Society. She is currently working on her next book, a history of how the federal government has handled, and funded, the development of medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid use disorder. Email Emily at and follow her on Twitter @emily_dufton

Founders of Points

A 20th-century literary and cultural historian, Trysh Travis teaches in the Center for Women’s Studies & Gender Research at the University of Florida. She has published on the gender and power of addiction and recovery, spirituality, and bibliotherapy in a variety of scholarly and popular venues. Her book The Language of the Heart: a Cultural History of the Recovery Movement from Alcoholics Anonymous to Oprah Winfrey appeared in 2009. The anthology Rethinking Therapeutic Culture, which she co-edited with Timothy Aubry, has just been published by University of Chicago Press.

Joe Spillane is Professor of History at the University of Florida. He has authored Cocaine: From Medical Marvel to Modern Menace in the United States (Johns Hopkins Press, 2000) and co-edited Federal Drug Control: The Evolution of Policy and Practice (Haworth Press, 2004). More recently, he authored Coxsackie: The Life and Death of Prison Reform (Johns Hopkins Press, 2014). His current drug-related research agenda includes: the history and development of drug abuse liability assessment; reflections on the nature of drug epidemics; and examinations of drug war “harms” in historical context.

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