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Week In Review: February 26 to March 3

Updated: Aug 30

Monday: We led the week off in fine form with “The Points Interview: Chris Bennett.” Points’ chief interviewer Joe Spillane sat down with prolific cannabis researcher and writer Chris Bennett to talk about his new monograph, Cannabis and the Soma Solution. In this fascinating work, Mr. Bennett discusses how popular conceptions of cannabis use as a product of either the Jazz Age or the counterculture of the 1960s are undoubtedly apocryphal. Rather, he explains, there has existed “a seemingly archaic co-evolutionary relationship mankind has had with cannabis, to the extent that it is thought by some researchers to be humanity’s oldest agricultural crop.” Talk about “the good ol’ days,” eh?

Wednesday: On hump day, Points kicked off a new series from Luke Walden, J.P. Olsen, and Nancy Campbell that will explore the legacy of the Lexington Narcotic Hospital. In “Lessons from The Narcotic Farm, Part One,” our three hosts introduce us to the “Narcotic Farm,” a prison-hospital hybrid, created by congress with the triple mission of incarcerating, rehabilitating, and studying drug addicts. They explain that, despite its many peculiarities, Lexington’s most lasting legacy is the four decades of pharmacological and addiction psychology research the institution has enabled.

Brits may not have to stop drinking. They just might need to drink differently.

Thursday: James Nicholls provides us with a very interesting take on the changing drinking culture of the UK in “Continental Drinking: Qu’est-ce que c’est?” Addressing a rather surprising recent UK Government campaign, James notes that the British Isles have started warning inhabitants of the dangers of “continental drinking” (slow, deliberate imbibing throughout the day). He then explores the irony of the British government, which had so long encouraged relaxed, drinking at home, now arguing that “maybe British drinking culture was never entirely bad after all.”

Friday: The workweek ended with “Addiction, History, and Historians,” in which Joe Spillane announced that Points will host a series of scholarly essays discussing David Courtwright’s much-discussed piece “Addiction and the Science of History.” Beginning March 5, and running throughout the week, we’ll hear from a variety of voices on the writing of addiction history. Then, once the dust has settled, Mr. Courtwright himself will offers up a meditation on those responses.

Saturday: Points produced yet another fruitful edition of Weekend Reads with the “Ryan Braun Edition.” This week, we examined the case of a baseball star’s positive drug test, subsequent public shaming, and his ultimately successful appeal to have his case overturned, only to find he was still stigmatized as a “drug user.” We als see how Major League Baseball’s War on Steroids mimics and intensifies the language of America’s larger War on Drugs.


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