Can Understanding the History of Drug Addiction Help Address the Opioid Epidemic?

Can Understanding the History of Drug Addiction Help Address the Opioid Epidemic? Can Understanding the History of Drug Addiction Help Address the Opioid Epidemic?

September 17, 20192 min read
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According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than 130 people die every day after overdosing on opioids. Lives have been lost, families shattered, and billions spent as experts, elected leaders, health care professionals, and law enforcement officials try to address the country's opioid epidemic


A professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute can help shed light on the forces at work in this crisis and its history.


Professor Nancy Campbell is an expert is in the history of science, technology, and medicine as it relates to drug policy and the social significance of drugs. She is a professor and head of the Department of Science and Technology Studies (STS) in the School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.


"We found her to be one of the most knowledgeable people on the history of opioids and how that history fits into the context of today’s problem," reporters for CBS 6 News in Albany wrote of Campbell. In a recent interview with the station, Campbell discussed her extensive research on the history of drug addiction, as well as her approach to educating students about it.


“I actually want my students to go out of the class, knowing more about where our current opioid epidemic came from, the endemic that it built upon and also knowing more about drug markets and the social aspects,” Campbell said. 

August 15 – CBS 6 News


Are you a reporter covering the opioid crisis and need to know what’s being done and what more needs to be done? Let our experts help with your questions. Campbell is available to speak to media regarding the opioid crisis and the history of drug addiction – simply click on her icon to arrange an interview.




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  • Nancy D. Campbell
    Nancy D. Campbell Professor and Department Head, Science and Technology Studies (STS)

    Focuses on the history of science, technology, and medicine as it relates to drug policy and the social significance of drugs

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