Dangerous Drugs: Doctors, Pain and the Politics of Blame

Science and Technology Studies Graduate Program Colloquium Series: Colloquium with Andrea Tone

Tuesday, December 4, 5:00PM – 6:30PM
Buchanan Tower 1197, 1873 E Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1

“Dangerous Drugs: Doctors, Pain and the Politics of Blame”
Andrea Tone, Canada Research Chair in Social History of Medicine, McGill University

The opiate epidemic has claimed hundreds and thousands of lives and put clinicians on the defensive as “enabling” doctors are blamed, in the news and in court rooms, for overprescribing dangerous drugs. This talk explores how this narrative of blame has framed responses to the opiate epidemic and the challenges it has posed to clinicians who treat pain, a medical practice already susceptible to criticism because of its explicitly subjective character in our age of EBM. Finally, by situating the opiate crisis in a broader context this talk will examine how decisions regarding the therapeutic value of drugs are historically contingent, inseparable from the political and social views that inform them.

Andrea Tone is Professor of History and the Canada Research Chair in the Social History of Medicine. She holds joint appointments in the Faculties of Medicine and Arts at McGill University. She has published or edited five books, including The Age of Anxiety and Devices and Desires, which inspired the Emmy-award documentary The Pill. In 2011, she received the American Psychiatric Association’s Benjamin Rush Prize for outstanding contributions to the history of psychiatry and in 2017 was elected to the Royal Society of Canada.

For more details, please visit: https://sts.arts.ubc.ca/colloquium-with-andrea-tone/