See below for further academic literature and news accounts literature that were helpful to use during the course.


Note: though resources are frequently updated, some of this scholarship and news coverage is reflective of the opioid epidemic in Fall 2018, when the course took place. Please write us if you have suggestions for additional selections.


Historical accounts

Acker, Caroline Jean. Creating the American Junkie: Addiction Research in the Classic Era of Narcotic Control. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002.

Booth, David. Opium: A History. New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, 1999.

Campbell, Nancy. Discovering Addiction: The Science and Politics of Substance Abuse Research. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2007.

Campbell, Nancy. The Narcotic Farm: The Rise and Fall of America’s First Prison for Drug Addicts. New York: Abrams, 2008.

Courtwright, David T. Dark Paradise: A History of Opiate Addiction in America. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2001.

Courtwright, David T. Forces of Habit: Drugs and the Making of the Modern World. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2001.

McGirr, Lisa. The War on Alcohol: Prohibition and the Rise of the American State. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc, 2016.

Anthropological accounts

Bourgois, Phillipe and Jeffrey Schonberg. Righteous Dopefiend. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2009.

Bourgois, Phillipe. In Search of Respect: Selling Crack in the Barrio. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 2003.

DelVecchio Good, Mary-Jo, Paul Brodwin, Byron J. Good, and Arthur Kleinman, eds. Pain as Human Experience: An Anthropological Perspective. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994.

Garcia, Angela. The Pastoral Clinic: Addiction and Dispossession along the Rio Grande. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2010.

Jackson, Jean E. Camp Pain: Talking with Chronic Pain Patients. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999.

Kleinman, Arthur. The Illness Narratives: Suffering, Healing, And The Human Condition. New York: Basic Books, 1989.

Knight, Kelly Ray. Addicted. Pregnant. Poor. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2015.

Sue, Kim. Getting Wrecked: Women, Incarceration, and the American Opioid Crisis. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2019.

Wailoo, Keith. Pain: A Political History. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014.

Journalistic & expert accounts

Quinones, Sam. Dreamland: The True Tale of American’s Opiate Epidemic. New York: Bloomsbury Press, 2015.

Macy, Beth. Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America. New York: Little, Brown & Company, 2018.

Meier, Barry. Pain Killer: An Empire of Deceit and the Origins of America’s Opioid Epidemic. New York: Random House, 2018.

Musto, David. The American Disease: Origins of Narcotic Control. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999.




Useful timelines & explainers

Lopez, German. “The Opioid Painkiller and Heroin Epidemic, Explained.Vox. March 29, 2017.
Lurie, Julia. “A Brief, Blood-Boiling History of the Opioid Epidemic.Mother Jones. January/February 2017.
Opium Throughout History.WGBH Frontline. 1998.
Fernandez, Humberto and Therissa A. Libby. Heroin: Its History, Pharmacology, and Treatment. Center City, MN: Hazelden, 2011.

Epidemiological information

Annual Surveillance Report of Drug-Related Risks and Outcomes.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. August 31, 2017.


On the Case and Deaton report and revisionist responses

Case, Anne and Angus Deaton. “Mortality and morbidity in the 21st century.Brookings. March 12, 2017. (Can explore the website, skim the PNAS paper, and watch the linked Youtube video.)
Cassidy, John. “Why Did the Death Rate Rise Among Middle-Aged Americans?The New Yorker. November 9, 2015.
Harris, Malcolm. “The Death of the White Working Class Has Been Greatly Exaggerated,” Pacific Standard. March 28, 2017.


On landscapes of addiction

Del Real, Jose A. “Needle by Needle, a Heroin Crisis Grips California’s Rural North.The New York Times. May 8, 2018.

Joseph, Andrew. “26 overdoses in just hours: Inside a community on the front lines of the opioid epidemic.STAT. August 22, 2016.

On opioids and race

Bebinger, Martha. “Black Drug Users Grapple With Surging Opioid Overdose Death Rates.New England Public Radio. May 24, 2018.

Thielking, Megan. “ ‘It Can Tear a Family Apart’: The Opioid Crisis Sweeping Through Cherokee Nation.STAT. December 15, 2016.

On the anthropology of pain

DelVecchio Good, Mary-Jo, Paul Brodwin, Byron J. Good, and Arthur Kleinman, eds. Pain as Human Experience: An Anthropological Perspective. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994. (Chapter 1: Pain as Human Experience: An Introduction)

Jackson, Jean E. Camp Pain: Talking with Chronic Pain Patients. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999. (Chapter 1 and/or Chapter 2)

Jackson, Jean. “Stigma, liminality, and chronic pain: Mind–body borderlands.American Ethnologist 32, no. 3 (2005): 332-353.

On the history of pain science and pain medicine

Ballantyne, Jane C. “WHO Analgesic Ladder: A Good Concept Gone Astray.British Medical Journal 352, i20 (Jan 6, 2016): 1-3.

Beecher, Henry K. “Relationship of Significance of Wound to Pain Experienced.Journal of the American Medical Association 161, no. 17 (Aug 25, 1956): 1609-1613.

Meldrum, Marcia. “ ‘The Long Walk to the Counter’: Opioid Pain-Relievers and the Prescription as Stigma.” In Prescribed: Writing, Filling, Using and Abusing the Prescription in Modern America, eds. Elizabeth Watkins and Jeremy Greene. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 2012.

Meldrum, Marcia. “The Ladder and the Clock: Cancer Pain and Public Policy at the End of the Twentieth Century.Journal of Pain and Symptom Management 29, no. 1 (January 2005): 41-52.

Melzack, Ronald and W.S. Torgerson. “On the Language of Pain.Anesthesiology 34, no. 1 (Jan 1971): 50-59.

Melzack, Ronald. “The McGill Pain Questionnaire: From Description to Measurement.Anesthesiology 103, no. 1 (2005): 199-202.

Melzack, Ronald. “The McGill Pain Questionnaire: Major Properties and Scoring Methods.Pain 1, no. 3 (1975): 277-299.

Twilley, Nicola. “The Neuroscience of Pain.The New Yorker, July 2, 2018.

Current CDC guidelines on opioid prescription

Frieden, Thomas and Debra Houry. “Reducing the Risks of Relief — The CDC Opioid-Prescribing Guideline.The New England Journal of Medicine 374, no. 16 (Apr 21, 2016): 1501-1504.

On pain in global health contexts

McNeil, David G. “In India, A Quest to Ease the Pain of the Dying.The New York Times. September 11, 2007.

Piana, Ronald. “Dying Without Morphine.The New York Times. September 30, 2014.

On chronic pain rehabilitation programs

Keshavan, Meghana.Your mind can be trained to control chronic pain. But it will cost you.STAT. May 30, 2017.

Roberts, David. “The Secret Life of Pain.The New York Times. August 1, 2017.

On the experience of the pain patient and pain treatment disparities

Fassler, Joe. “How Doctors Take Women's Pain Less Seriously.The Atlantic. October 15, 2015.

Goyal, Monika K. “Racial Disparities in Pain Management of Children With Appendicitis in Emergency Departments.Journal of the American Medical Association 169, no. 11 (2015): 996-1002.

Green, Carmen R. et al. “The Unequal Burden of Pain: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Pain.Pain Medicine 4, no. 3 (2003): 277-294.

Hoffman, Jan. “Medicare is Cracking Down on Opioids. Doctors Fear Pain Patients Will Suffer.The New York Times. March 27, 2018.

Hoffman, Kelly M. et al. “Racial bias in pain assessment and treatment recommendations, and false beliefs about biological differences between blacks and whites.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 113, no. 16 (Apr 19, 2016): 4296-4301.

Hoffmann, Diane E. and Anita J. Tarzian. “The Girl Who Cried Pain: A Bias Against Women in the Treatment of Pain.Journal of Law, Medicine, & Ethics 29, no. 1 (2001): 13-27.

Pizzo, Philip A. “Lessons in Pain Relief — A Personal Postgraduate Experience.The New England Journal of Medicine 369, no. 12 (Sep 19, 2013): 1092-1093.

Somashekhar, Sandhya. “The disturbing reason some African American patients may be undertreated for pain.The Washington Post. April 4, 2016.

Tedeschi, Bob. “A Civil War over Pain Killers Rips Apart the Medical Community: Leaves Patients in Fear.STAT. January 17, 2017.

On the lived experience of addiction

Campbell, Nancy. "The Construction of Pregnant Drug-Using Women as Criminal Perpetrators." Fordham Urban Jaw Journal 33, no. 2 (2006): 463-485.

Hull, Anne. “The Lonely Road of Staying Clean.The Washington Post. June 11, 2016.

Mnookin, Seth. “I'm an Ex-addict. Why Was it Easy to Get Prescription Opioids?STAT. June 9, 2016.

Resnick, Sarah. “On Heroin and Harm Reduction.n+1. Winter 2016.

On addiction research

Drug Abuse and Addiction: One of America's Most Challenging Public Health Problems.National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Campbell, Nancy, J.P. Olsen, and Luke Walden. The Narcotic Farm: The Rise and Fall of America’s First Prison for Drug Addicts. New York: Abrams, 2008. (This book has an accompanying website on the Narcotic Farm that is also worth exploring.)

Compton, Wilson M. et al. “Relationship between Nonmedical Prescription-Opioid Use and Heroin Use.The New England Journal of Medicine 374, no. 2 (January 24, 2016): 155-163.

Connery, Hilary Smith. “Medication-Assisted Treatment of Opioid Use Disorder: Review of the Evidence and Future Directions.Harvard Review of Psychiatry 23, no. 2 (March/April 2015): 63-75.

Courtwright, David. “The NIDA Brain Disease Paradigm: History, Resistance and Spinoffs.Biosocieties 5, no. 1 (Mar 2010): 137-147.

Koob, George and Nora Volkow. “Neurocircuitry of Addiction.Neuropsychopharmacology 35, no. 1 (January 2010): 217-238.

National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Principles of Drug Addiction and Treatment: A Research-Based Guide, 3rd Edition.National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services. December 2012.

Peltz, Gary and Thomas C. Sudhof. “The Neurobiology of Opioid Addiction and the Potential for Prevention Strategies.The Journal of the American Medical Association 319, no. 20 (May 22/29, 2018): 2071-2072.

Szalavitz, Maia. “Can You Get Over an Addiction?The New York Times. June 25, 2016.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of the Surgeon General. “Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health.” Washington, DC: HHS, November 2016.

On the role of pharma in the opioid crisis

Armstrong, David. “Drug maker thwarted plan to limit OxyContin prescriptions at dawn of opioid epidemic.STAT. October 26, 2016.

Bellafante, Ginia. “When Should Cultural Institutions Say No to Tainted Funding?The New York Times. March 2, 2018

Corkery, Michael and Jessica Silver-Greenberg. “The Giant, Under Attack.The New York Times. December 27, 2017.

Lopez, German. “The growing number of lawsuits against opioid companies, explained.Vox. May 15, 2018.

Lurie, Julia. “This Blistering Report Shows That Opioid Makers Funnel Millions to Patient Advocacy Groups.Mother Jones. February 13, 2018.

Meier, Barry. “Origins of an Epidemic: Purdue Pharma Knew Its Opioids Were Widely Abused.The New York Times. March 29, 2018.

Ornstein, Charles and Tracy Weber. “The Champion of Painkillers.ProPublica. December 23, 2011.

Ryan, Harriet, Lisa Giron, and Scott Glover. “ ‘You want a description of hell? Oxycontin’s 12-Hour Problem.Los Angeles Times. May 5, 2016.

Ryan, Harriet, Lisa Giron, and Scott Glover. “More than 1 million OxyContin pills ended up in the hands of criminals and addicts. What the drugmaker knew.Los Angeles Times. July 10, 2016.

On the booming drug rehab economy

Hughes, Evans. “The Pain Hustlers.The New York Times. May 2, 2018.

Moore, Lela. “Clean, Sober, and $41,000 Deep in Out-of-Pocket Addiction Recovery Costs.The New York Times. July 26, 2018.

Segal, David. “A Doctor With a Phone and a Mission.The New York Times. December 27, 2017.

Segal, David. “City of Addict Entrepreneurs.The New York Times. December 27, 2017.

Segal, David. “In Pursuit of Liquid Gold.The New York Times. December 27, 2017.

On spin-off markets

Alvarez, Lizette. “Haven for Recovering Addicts Now Profits From Their Relapses.STAT. June 20, 2017.

Armstrong, David. “Illegal Street Drugs, Not Prescriptions, Now Powering Opioid Abuse, Study Finds.STAT. August 25, 2016.

Ferguson, Cat. “Searching for Help.The Verge. September 7, 2017.

Fry, Erika. “As America's Opioid Crisis Spirals, Giant Drug Distributor McKesson Is Feeling the Pain.Fortune. June 13, 2017.

On stigma and reporting

Smith, Mitch. “What Do These Political Ads Have in Common? The Opioid Crisis.The New York Times. June 7, 2018.

Schamlz, Jeffrey. “Covering AIDS And Living It: A Reporter's Testimony.The New York Times. December 20, 1992.

On obituaries

After son’s O.D. at age 23, Prince's Bay dad is driven to save others from unspeakable pain.The Staten Island Advance. Marc 23, 2014.

Armstrong, David. “52 Weeks, 52 Faces.STAT. December 20, 2016.

Capozzi, Joe. “As heroin epidemic rages, parents sounding alarm in kids’ obituaries.Palm Beach Post. August 9, 2016.

Legacy Staff. “Addiction, Suicide, and 2014.

Llorente, Elizabeth. “Opioid addiction crisis spurs brutal candor in obituaries.Fox News. May 14, 2017.

Manning, Allison. “Truth in Death: Shedding the Stigma of Heroin Addiction in August 3, 2015.

Martin, Laura. “Time to End the Silence About Heroin.The Patriot Ledger. September 27, 2014.

On destigmatizing language

Botticelli, Michael. “Memorandum: Changing Federal Terminology Regarding Substance Use and Substance Use Disorders.Executive Office of the President: Office of National Drug Control Policy. January 9, 2017.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Developing a Stigma Reduction Initiative. SAMHSA Pub No. SMA-4176. Rockville, MD: Center for Mental Health Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2006.

The Words We Use Matter. Reducing Stigma through Language.The National Alliance of Advocates for Buprenorphine Treatment. July 2008.

On judging “deservingness” of care

Blendon, Robert J. and John M. Benson. “The Public and the Opioid-Abuse Epidemic.The New England Journal of Medicine 378, no. 5 (February 1, 2018): 407-411.

Greenspan, Miriam. “Letting Them Die: The Stigma of Heroin Addiction and the Expanding Epidemic.Huffington Post. November 25, 2017.

Jackson, Jean E. “Stigma, Liminality, and Chronic Pain: Mind­Body Borderlands.American Ethnologist 32, no. 3 (2005): 332-353.

Katz, Josh. “Why A City at the Center of the Opioid Crisis Gave Up a Tool to Fight It.The New York Times. April 27, 2018.

Wailoo, Keith. “Stigma, Disease, and Race in 20th Century America.Lancet 367 (Feb 11, 2006): 531-533.

On the history of drug control policies

Acker, Caroline Jean. Creating the American Junkie: Addiction Research in the Classic Era of Narcotic Control. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002.

Lassiter, Matthew D. “Impossible Criminals: The Suburban Imperatives of America’s War on Drugs.Journal of American History 102, no. 1 (June 2015): 126-140.

McGirr, Lisa. The War on Alcohol: Prohibition and the Rise of the American State. New York: NY: W.W. Norton & Company, 2016. (Introduction)

Musto, David. The American Disease: Origins of Narcotic Control. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999.

On the criminalization of substance use

If Addiction Is a Disease, Why Is Relapsing a Crime?The New York Times. May 29, 2018.

Allyn, Bobby. “Bystanders To Fatal Overdoses Increasingly Becoming Criminal Defendants.WBUR News. July 2, 2018.

Andrew, Scottie. “Prison Inmates 40 Times More Likely to Die From Opioid Overdose Two Weeks After Release.Newsweek. July 21, 2018. 

Gertner, Nancy and Chiraag Bains. “Mandatory Minimum Sentences Are Cruel and Ineffective. Sessions Wants Them Back.The Washington Post. May 15, 2017.

Joseph, Andrew. “A prison system offered all inmates addiction treatment. Overdose deaths dropped sharply.STAT. February 14, 2018.

Lopez, German. “How America’s prisons are fueling the opioid epidemic.Vox. March 26, 2018.

Schiff, Davida M. et al.A police-led addiction treatment referral program in Gloucester, MA: Implementation and Participants’ Experiences.Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment 82 (2017): 41-47.

On the history of therapeutics for addiction

Hatcher, Alexandrea E., Sonia Mendoza, and Helena Hansen. “At the Expense of a Life: Race, Class, and the Meaning of Buprenorphine in Pharmaceuticalized ‘Care.’Substance Use & Misuse 53, no. 2 (Jan 2018): 301-310.

Mendoza, Sonia, Allyssa S. Rivera-Cabrero, and Helena Hansen. “Shifting Blame: Buprenorphine Prescribers, Addiction Treatment, And Prescription Monitoring In Middle-Class America.Transcultural Psychiatry 53, no. 4 (Aug 2016): 465-487.

Netherland, Julie and Helena Hansen. “White opioids: Pharmaceutical race and the war on drugs that wasn’t.Biosocieties 12, no. 2 (June 2017): 217–238.

Roberts, Sam. “Dr. Robert Newman, Apostle of Methadone Treatment, Dies at 80.The New York Times. August 8, 2018.

World Drug Problem: UN Adopts New Framework to ‘Put People First.’” UN News Centre. April 19, 2016.

On contemporary policies for opioid use disorder

Adams, Jerome M. “Increasing Naloxone Awareness and Use.The Journal of the American Medical Association 319, no. 20 (2018): 2073-2074.

Associated Press. “New Mexico Becomes First U.S. State to Require Offices to Carry Overdose Antidote.STAT. April 6, 2017.

Frazier, Ian. “The Antidote.The New Yorker. September 8, 2014.

Freyer, Felice J. “I was Sick and I Needed Medicine: Treating Drug Addiction with Drugs.The Boston Globe. May 2018.

Kessler, David A. “How to Fight the Opioid Crisis.The New York Times. January 10, 2018.

Kolodny, Andrew et al. “The Prescription Opioid and Heroin Crisis: A Public Health Approach to an Epidemic of Addiction.Annual Review of Public Health 36 (2015): 559-574.

Lopez, German. “How to stop the deadliest drug overdose crisis in American history.Vox. December 21, 2017.

Mitton, Julian A. “It's Time for Primary Care Providers to Embrace Treating Addiction.STAT. October 28, 2016.

Saloner, Brendan et al. “Moving Addiction Care to the Mainstream — Improving the Quality of Buprenorphine Treatment.The New England Journal of Medicine 379, no. 1 (July 5, 2018): 4-6.

Sheridan, Kate. "How effective is medication-assisted treatment for addiction? Here’s the science.STAT. May 15, 2017.

Strathdee, Steffanie and Chris Beyrer. "Threading the Needle — How to Stop the HIV Outbreak in Rural Indiana." The New England Journal of Medicine 373 (2015): 397-399.

Svriuga, Susan. “The drug Suboxone Could Combat the Heroin Epidemic. Why Is It So Hard to Get?The Washington Post. January 13, 2015.

Tamasi, Raymond V. “How to Fight the Opioid Epidemic.Boston Globe. January 22, 2018.

On safe injection facilities

Davidson, Peter et al. "Using drugs in un/safe spaces: Impact of perceived illegality on an underground supervised injecting facility in the United States." International Journal of Drug Policy 53 (2018): 37-44.

Goodman, David J. “Opioid Crisis Compels New York to Look North for Answers.The New York Times. May 21, 2018.

Kral, Alex and Peter Davidson. “Addressing the Nation’s Opioid Epidemic: Lessons from an Unsanctioned Supervised Injection Site in the U.S.American Journal of Preventive Medicine 53, no. 6 (2017): 919-922.

Lopez, German. "One way cities can reduce overdose deaths: open safe spaces for injecting heroin." Vox. January 24, 2018.

Rosenberg, Tina. “Injecting Drugs, Under a Watchful Eye.The New York Times. January 18, 2017.

Weiner, Scott. “Safe Injection Sites and Reducing the Stigma of Addiction.Harvard Health Publishing. June 2, 2017.

On the distribution of naloxone on college campuses

Saksena, Sachit. “College of Pharmacy Combats Opioid Overdoses With Campus Campaign.The Daily Texan. October 4, 2016.

Svriuga, Susan. “Colleges Can Get Free Doses of Naloxone for Students Overdosing on Heroin and Other Opioids.The Washington Post. April 10, 2017.