Susan C. Boyd, "Heroin: An Illustrated History" (Fernwood, 2022)


Dr. Susan Boyd is a scholar/activist and Distinguished Professor emerita at the University of Victoria. Her research examines a variety of topics related to the history of drug prohibition and resistance to it, drug law and policy, including maternal drug use, maternal/state conflicts, film and culture, radio and print media, heroin assisted-treatment, community-based research and qualitative research methodology.

Her latest book, Heroin: An Illustrated History (Fernwood, 2022), is an illustrated history of two centuries of Canadian heroin regulation that reveals the deep roots of our current failure to address the overdose death epidemic caused by criminalizing and pathologizing drug users and resisting harm-reduction policies. From its discovery in 1898, heroin was prescribed for therapeutic use in Canada. With little evidence of the harm of heroin, its prohibition has been tied up with colonization and systemic racism as well as class and gender injustice. Using documentary evidence and the experiences of people who use/used heroin, drug user unions and harm-reduction advocates, Boyd argues that in order to create a more just future, prohibition and punitive policies that drive the illegal overdose crisis must end.

Today’s host is Jay Shifman. Jay Shifman is a vulnerable storyteller, stigma-destroying speaker, podcaster, and event host. The survivor of two suicide attempts and an overdose, Jay holds a BA in Psychology from Northern Kentucky University and has put in numerous hours of independent learning acquiring certifications in mental health, substance misuse and addiction, and drug policy.

Jay founded his company, Choose Your Struggle, in 2015 with two distinct goals: ending stigma and promoting honest and fact-based education around the topics of Mental Health, Substance Misuse & Recovery, and Drug Use & Policy.

For more information, visit: or find him on social media.

Your Host

Jay Shifman

Jay Shifman is a vulnerable storyteller, a stigma-destroying speaker, and the founder of Choose Your Struggle podcast. A guy in long-term recovery, Jay is dedicated to ending stigma and promoting fact-based education around Mental Health, Substance Misuse & Recovery, and Drug Use & Policy. You can learn more about Jay at his links here.

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