Podcast Season





Fall 2021


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Episode 20 features David Herzberg, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of History, University at Buffalo. Herzberg discusses repeated waves of addiction to pharmaceutical opioids and other medicines in the 20th and 21st century U.S. Among other things, he examines how the predominantly white consumers labeled as “patients” were understood as innocent victims when they became addicted, while consumers who became addicted outside of medical channels were portrayed as dangerous criminals. Herzberg is the author of a history of addictive pharmaceuticals titled White Market Drugs: Big Pharma and the Hidden History of Addiction, and co-author of a forthcoming book with Helena Hansen and Jules Netherland about how the politics of whiteness has shaped the history of opioids, opioid addiction, and drug policy in the United States.

Publication Date


Recording Date

August 2021


Picture Credit


Music Credit

The theme music for this season was composed by University at Buffalo Department of Music PhD student Matias Homar.

Speaker Research Focus

20th century United States History; Gender and Sexuality; Medicine, Disability and Science; Social and Cultural History

Speaker Bio

David Herzberg is a historian of drugs whose research focuses on the legal kind—psychoactive pharmaceuticals. His research explores the nature and trajectory of drug commerce, drug use, and drug policy in American racial capitalism. Herzberg's work appears in numerous scholarly and medical journals, in popular media, and in two books: White Market Drugs: Big Pharma and the Hidden History of Addiction in America (University of Chicago Press, 2020) and Happy Pills in America: From Miltown to Prozac (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009). Herzberg is co-editor of Social History of Alcohol and Drugs: An Interdisciplinary Journal, the official organ of the Alcohol and Drug History Society.

Host Name

Edgar Girtain

Host Bio

Edgar Girtain is host/producer of the 2021-22 Edition of The Baldy Center Podcast. He is a PhD student in the music department at SUNY Buffalo, where he studies with David Felder. Girtain is a director of the Casa de Las Artes at the University of Southern Chile (UACh), and president of the Southern Chilean Composers Forum (FoCo Sur).He is an eminent composer, pianist, and writer of his own biographies. Girtain's diverse areas of work are often collaborative, cross-disciplinary, and international in ambition if not in practice.

Producer Name

Edgar Girtain

Executive Producers

Samantha Barbas, PhD & Caroline Funk, PhD