The History of Addiction: Unraveling America's Affair with the Drug Trade

Sep 15, 2023

Can American break free from the grip of addiction?  Are innovative solutions like alcohol purchase licenses and safe drug supply the answer?  And what role should medical professionals play in combatting this widespread disease?

Our latest guest is Dr. Brian Johnson, Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry and Anesthesia at SUNY Upstate and recently retired Director of Addiction Medicine at Upstate University Hospital.  As the author of The Mass Psychology of Addiction, Dr. Johnson challenges conventional narratives and confronts uncomfortable truths, providing a space for open dialogue and innovative thinking to pave the way towards a healthier, more informed future.

In this candid conversation, we explore the psychology behind cravings, the alarming rise of the new drug trends like chroming, and the stark reality of an America seemingly caught in a downward spiral of addiction.  Dr. Johnson dissects the historical ties between addiction and societal issues, revealing how racism, slavery, and even government complicity has shaped the landscape we face today.

In this episode, we will discuss: 

  • The role of cigarettes in the fentanyl crisis
  • The roots of drug addiction in history, including racism, slavery, and the drug trade's legacy
  • The mass psychology of addiction and government complicity
  • Where the focus needs to be in eradicating addiction




Views expressed in this material are opinions of the host and the guest, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Rigaku Analytical Devices.

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Michael W. Brown is the global director of counter-narcotics technology at Rigaku Analytical Devices. He has a distinguished career spanning more than 32 years as a Special Agent for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Most recently he was the DEA Headquarters staff coordinator for the Office of Foreign Operations for the Middle East-Europe-Afghanistan-India. Prior to that he served as the country attaché in India and Myanmar providing foreign advisory support for counter narcotic enforcement. He also spent 10 years in Pakistan as a special advisor to the US Embassy on various law enforcement issues. Michael is a graduate of the United States Ranger Training Battalion and has a master’s degree in Interdisciplinary Technology and Management from the University of Eastern Michigan.

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