“America has never been ‘drug-free,'” stated Sarah W. Tracy, PhD, to begin her lecture titled, “Altering American Consciousness: Alcohol, Drug Use and American Medicine,” held on April 3 at Mayer Auditorium.

Tracy’s presentation, part of Visions and Voices, the USC arts and humanities initiative, reviewed America’s history of addiction, treatment and drug-related policy by highlighting three psychoactive substances: opiates, marijuana and alcohol. Tracy, associate professor of the history of science at the University of Oklahoma and director of the University of Oklahoma’s Medical Humanities program, is the author of Alcoholism in America from Reconstruction to Prohibition, and co-editor of Altering American Consciousness: The History of Alcohol and Drug Use in America, 1800-2000.

The event was co-sponsored by the Keck School of Medicine’s Program in Medical Humanities, Arts and Ethics; the USC Pacific Center for Health Policy and Ethics; and the USC Levan Institute for Humanities and Ethics.