Matthew R. Pembleton

Containing Addiction

The Federal Bureau of Narcotics and the Origins of America’s Global Drug Wars

University of Massachusetts Press 2017

New Books in American StudiesNew Books in Drugs, Addiction and RecoveryNew Books in HistoryNew Books in LawNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in Public PolicyNew Books Network May 25, 2018 Stephen Pimpare

It’s common to place the start of the War on Drugs with the Nixon or Reagan Administrations, but as Matthew Pembleton tells us, those...

It’s common to place the start of the War on Drugs with the Nixon or Reagan Administrations, but as Matthew Pembleton tells us, those are only phases II and III of a much longer drug war that began in the 1930s with the long-forgotten Federal Bureau of Narcotics. In his new book Containing Addiction: The Federal Bureau of Narcotics and the Origins of America’s Global Drug Wars (University of Massachusetts Press, 2017), Matt tell us about that agency’s history, the charismatic and controversial men who led it and served as its agents around the globe, and the ways in which the current opioid epidemic echoes an enduring pattern of drug use and misuse in the U.S.


Stephen Pimpare is Senior Lecturer in the Politics & Society Program and Faculty Fellow at the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire. He is the author of The New Victorians (New Press, 2004), A Peoples History of Poverty in America (New Press, 2008), winner of the Michael Harrington Award, and Ghettos, Tramps and Welfare Queens: Down and Out on the Silver Screen (Oxford, 2017).

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