chapter  3
24 Pages

Primitive Pleasures, Modern Poisons

Femininity in the “Age of Dope”

Progressive addiction research generated a model of public health expertise, a typology for categorizing addicts, and an institutional template that presaged federal mental health policy and science policy in the post-World War II period. The transfer of policy-making and administration to state and federal government bureaucracies modeled on capitalist enterprises was a key political achievement of the period.3 Public health became a recurring object of public policy, a framework that bolstered addiction research despite the attempts of law enforcement agencies to overpower it. Modern medical and scientific works that dealt with drugs as a matter of mental “hygiene” developed beside the antidrug discourse of the moral purity movement, which targeted narcotics after Prohibition. This chapter demonstrates the convergence of these forces on the idea that addicts were inadequate to meet the demands of modernity, democracy, and capitalism.