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    Harnessing History

    To understood the roots of the emerging opioid crisis

  • Title image 2

    Harnessing History

    To understood the roots of the emerging opioid crisis

  • Title image 3

    Harnessing History

    To understood the roots of the emerging opioid crisis

  • Title image 4

    Harnessing History

    To understood the roots of the emerging opioid crisis

  • Title image 5

    Harnessing History

    To understood the roots of the emerging opioid crisis

  • Title image 6

    Harnessing History

    To understood the roots of the emerging opioid crisis

  • Title image 7

    Harnessing History

    To understood the roots of the emerging opioid crisis

  • Title image 8

    Harnessing History

    To understood the roots of the emerging opioid crisis

 

In Fall 2018, fifteen Harvard graduate and undergraduate students came together in Professor Allan Brandt's seminar "History of Science 249: The Opioid Epidemic in Historical Perspective" to investigate the historical roots of the contemporary U.S. opioid crisis.

Our goal was to show how historical thinking provides deeper insight on how this public health crisis emerged and has persisted—in spite of the dedicated efforts of health workers, policy makers, and researchers to solve it.

  • First, we tackled an ambitious reading list on the historical and anthropological literature on opioids, pain, addiction, and related topics.

  • Then we produced an anthology of "lessons from history" for policy makers, health workers, scientists, and social scientists who are working to address the opioid crisis today.

Now, we'd like to share what we've learned with you.
 

We are committed to make our academic work immediately accessible to those working to end this crisis.

  • Learn more about what we read in our Course Syllabus and take a look at further suggested readings in Resources.

  • Read the essays in our Anthology.

  • Learn about our Authors.

  • Contact us to give us your feedback on our course, share your experience teaching or writing on this topic, point us to emerging medical and social science scholarship on substance use disorder, and correspond with our authors about their research.