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About Points

Points is a collaborative publication bringing together scholars on the histories of drugs, medicines, alcohol, and pharmacy to produce meaningful discussion on the past and present state of health and drug discourse, policy, and culture. Points is not a journal: we are foremost concerned with facilitating informed and accessible conversations surrounding subjects that require intersectional and contextual analysis.

Points is and has always been rooted in historical scholarship; it is our assertion that no present issue can be fully understood without understanding its place in history, and that insightful and necessary historical analysis does not require a history background. Points encourages varied and impassioned discussions that challenge conventional understandings while maintaining a high standard of quality from scholars with diverse backgrounds.

Points was founded in 2011 by by Joe Spillane and Trysh Travis as 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. It has been a key site of historical scholarship and knowledge production since its inception, with a commitment and mission to disseminate information without a paywall or subscription fee.

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 but should include critical reflection on historical or contemporary issues related to drugs of intoxication/medicine.

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

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

  • References are to be done in accordance with the 17th edition of the Chicago Manual of Style.

  • 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 Clark and Clayton Wells.

Managing Editors:

Claire Clark, Phd, MPH joined Points as a Managing Editor in October 2023. Claire is a medical educator, historian of medicine, and associate professor at the University of Kentucky’s College of Medicine. She holds appointments in the University of Kentucky's Department of Behavioral Science, Department of History, Program for Bioethics, and Center for Health Equity Transformation.

Clayton Wells succeeded Claire Davey as Managing Editor of Points in October 2023. He is a PhD Student in Sociology at the University of Kentucky, USA. His research explores the social construction and fundamental causes of mental illness and addiction.

Editorial Board

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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