Society For The Study Of Addiction

Reading Around… Drugs, Alcohol and Tobacco

A selection of archival and historical resources from the UK, USA, Canada

Alcohol and Drugs History Society founded in 1979 to foster exchange among scholars interested in all aspects of past alcohol or drug use or control within any society. Its mission is to promote scholarship and discussions about the history of alcohol and drug use, abuse, production, trade and regulation across time and space.  Twitter handle @drughistory

Points Bibliography: Histories of Alcohol and Tobacco in the U.S. and Canada

Points Blog began in 2011, is the official blog of the Alcohol and Drugs History Society is an academic group blog that brings together scholars with wide-ranging expertise to write with original and thoughtful reflections on the history of alcohol and drugs, the web of policy surrounding them, and their place in popular culture. Twitter handle @PointsADHS

Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) Archives preserves, and make available for study, material concerning the history and development of psychiatry and other mental health and addiction services in Canada, especially Ontario. It contains selected records of CAMH and its predecessor institutions.

The Chester H. Kirk Collection on Alcoholism and Alcoholics Anonymous held by Brown University Library has 15,000 items were amassed over two decades by Charles Bishop, an antiquarian bookseller and author of several research tools on Alcoholics Anonymous and related groups. It includes items from 1493 to late 20th century studies. 

The Cork Database Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation in the US hosts an archived version of the database which was originally developed for the Dartmouth Medical School The database comprises an indices to resources about alcohol, other drugs, and behavioural addictions from the years 1970 to 2014 (with selected records prior to 1970). The database is bibliographic, including largely abstracted journal articles, but also some books, book chapters, reports, and conference papers.

Demon Drink Project the Temperance Movement, in which people took the pledge not to drink alcohol, effectively began in the North West of England and temperance played an important part in the lives of many people in the region. An exhibition in 2013, Demon Drink? was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) as part of a research project led by Dr Annemarie McAllister from University of Central Lancashire’s School of Education and Social Science. A virtual exhibition is available to access via the internet at and an IAS blog discusses it in more detail at  Twitter handle @demon_drink

Drinking Studies Network – is an interdisciplinary and international research group that connects scholars working on drink and drinking culture across different societies and time periods.  Follow on Twitter at @DrinkingStudies

Druglink Archive a searchable archive of nearly 30 years of DrugScope’s magazine, dating back to 1986. Druglink reported on all matters drug-related. The archive contains 180 full issue PDFs, plus over 1200 individual news reports, features, interviews and factsheets.

Drugscope Reports Archive contains the many reports, briefings and factsheets DrugScope produced from 2004 until 2015.

Drug Industry Documents created by the University of California San Francisco Library it houses documents from an off-label marketing lawsuit against Parke-Davis (United States of America ex rel. David Franklin vs. Parke-Davis), the archive has grown to include documents from additional sources illustrating how the pharmaceutical industry, academic journals and institutions, continuing medical education organizations and regulatory/funding agencies operate in ways that are detrimental to public health.An archive of documents created by major pharmaceutical companies related to their advertising, manufacturing, marketing, sales and scientific research, hosted by the UCSF Library and Center for Knowledge Management.

Frances Willard House Museum and Willard Memorial Library and Archive Collection for scholars of women’s history, temperance, rhetoric, social reform, and social/political movements, in American and transnational contexts.  Twitter handle @ArchivesWillard

The HIV/AIDS archive collections at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine comprise seven collections relating toepidemiology, AIDS activism, public health campaigns, health policy formation and contemporary history. One of the collections are papers from Professor Virginia Berridge, Professor of History and Director of the Centre for the History of Public Health archive collections that relate to her work as a historian and social researcher including her research for the Drug Addiction Research Initiative and AIDS Social History Programme. Her papers cover all aspects of her research on the making of health policies, studies on addiction (tobacco, drugs and alcohol) and her work on HIV/AIDS.

Illinois Addiction Studies Archive The collection consists of approximately 1500 volumes ranging in publication dates from 1834 to the present. Artefacts include antique medicine bottles, labels, photographs, manuscripts, memorabilia, historic advertising material, and other articles of interest to the addiction professional.

Intoxicants and Early Modernity: England, 1580-1740. a research team investigating the importance of intoxicants and intoxication to the economic, social, political, material, and cultural life of England between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries. Applying a multifaceted methodology to a wide range of sources – from port books and court depositions to cheap print and museum collections – we’re working on books and articles, events and exhibitions, and a free online database of alcohol, tobacco, coffee, tea, and opium across the early modern period.   Twitter handle @intoxproject

Livesey CollectionBritish National Temperance League University of Central Lancashirenamed in honour of Joseph Livesey of Preston, one of the early teetotal pioneers. The collection is made up of a significant number of journals, monographs, bound collections of pamphlets and other non-textual items. These include lantern slides, posters, banners, textiles, crockery and ephemera. The collection represents temperance societies and culture from the 19th century onwards, from Band of Hope groups to the Rechabite Friendly Societies.

Ontario Tobacco Research Unit has an online archive of their publications and reports going back to 1999

The Opioid Epidemic: Collecting Now for Future Research the National Library of Medicine collects and archives web content documenting current topics in health and medicine, including addiction, public health, and health policy. Parts of the NLM Opioid Epidemic web archive are available. Archived content includes websites and social media documenting a wide range of responses to and perspectives on the epidemic, including voices from of the medical and public health communities, the addiction research, policymakers and policy reformers, law enforcement, and the addicted and their families and communities.

The Psychoactive Substances Research Collection began in 2006 as a collective effort between Purdue pharmacology professor David Nichols, the Purdue University Libraries and the Betsy Gordon Foundation. Nichols, who retired from Purdue in 2012, was the Robert C. and Charlotte P. Anderson Distinguished Chair in Pharmacology and a distinguished professor of medicinal chemistry. The aim of the collection is to “document the history of psychoactive substances and their applications for medicine and healing.”  Link to an interview with the manager of the archive

The SALIS Collection: Alcohol, Tobacco, and other Drugs– this digitised online collection comprises over 2500 key seminal, full-text books, reports, documents, and other grey literature. Its subject coverage includes both legal and illegal drugs, the use and misuse of chemicals, the role of education and prevention, physical health and mental health aspects, drug policy, legal issues, and more. The books and documents address drug use and misuse, chemical dependency and alcoholism, health complications, treatment and recovery, education and prevention, research and theory, policy and legal issues, societal issues, mental health aspects, process or behavioural addictions, and more. The collection is international, and interdisciplinary, encompassing all years. It is being developed by SALIS (Substance Abuse Librarians and Information Specialists) a long-established international association of librarians and other information professionals working to ensure the continuing accessibility of addictions literature.

Science Museum – Brought to Life – History of Medicine Stubbed out: the rise and fall (?) of smoking in Britain is a website provided by the Science Museum, London. It offers access to images of thousands of fascinating objects from the Museum’s great medical collections.

Stanford Research into the Impact of Tobacco Advertising (SRITA) is a research group, which studies the effects of tobacco advertising, marketing, and promotion. Participants in this interdisciplinary program include faculty and students from several Stanford University departments including Otolaryngology, Paediatrics, Medicine, Prevention research, History and Anthropology.

Tobacco Control Archives, University California San Franciscoholds papers and organizational records of government agencies and activist groups, as well as papers of individuals active in tobacco control. They have an extensive video library that includes anti-smoking public service announcements, news programs and documentaries. Links to other resources as well. Truth Tobacco Industry Documents (formerly known as Legacy Tobacco Documents Library) was created in 2002 by the UCSF Library and Center for Knowledge Management, and provides access to tobacco industry internal corporate documents produced during litigation between US States and the seven major tobacco industry organizations and other sources. These internal documents give a view into the workings of one of the largest and most influential industries in the United States.

Trinkets and Trash (T&T) is a surveillance system and archive that monitors, collects, and documents current and historic tobacco products and tobacco industry marketing materials and tactics (such as advertisements, direct mailings, e-mails, sweepstakes, coupon promotions, and brand websites) for research and educational purposes. A project of the Rutgers School of Public Health, this collection contains images of current and historic tobacco products marketing materials such as advertisements, direct mailings, emails, sweepstakes and coupon promotions.

U.S. National Library of Medicine have many historical materials including international items in their various digital collections: for example the “Images from the History of Medicine” collection in has many old advertisements and prevention materials from all around the world, and from all different erason drugs, alcohol and tobacco.

Wellcome Library Collections digital collections include published books, pamphlets, archives, posters, photographs, and film and sound recordings. Topics include alcohol, drugs, and smoking and contain information on all aspects of alcohol, drugs and tobacco from production to control, as well as their physical, social and cultural effects. The material dates from the 16th to the 21st century. The collections include papers from Alcohol Concern, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), and DrugScope.

The DrugScope collection comprises mainly grey literature and some archive material relating to drugs and drug policy, originally part of the library holdings at DrugScope. The range of material includes pamphlets, official government publications, original research papers, conference papers and proceedings, ephemera, counter-cultural publications, and a large collection of reprints from a wide range of sources (from academic journals, newspapers and magazines). Several individual items are extremely rare or perhaps even uniquely surviving copies.

As well as this material collected by DrugScope, the collection includes material produced by them and their new predecessor bodies (ISDD and SCODA) including archival material which documents the operations of these organisations, as well as their own publications.

The SSA Collection at  comprises Minutes, 1904-1976; Financial, 1930-1976; Miscellaneous, 1919-1970s; Correspondence, 1964-1987 London Society for Study of Addiction, 1965-1967

Links to other SSA history and archives include  and

Other resources from the Wellcome include “Intoxicating Histories”a six-part story on intoxicants, exploring the different forms they can take, and the blurry lines between safe and dangerous, legal and illegal.

William White Papers contains the full text of more than 300 articles, 8 monographs, 30+ recovery tools, 9 book chapters, 3 books, and links to an additional 15 books written by William White and co-authors over the past four decades, as well as more than 100 interviews with addiction treatment and recovery leaders. The purpose of this site is to create a single location where such material may be located by those interested in the history (past and present) of addiction treatment and recovery in the United States and beyond.

Yale University Library ‘Selling Smoke: Tobacco Advertising and Anti-Smoking Campaigns’ an online exhibition of exploring the complicated history of tobacco advertising and anti-smoking campaigns using a wide array of tobacco advertising alongside anti-smoking campaign materials, drawn from the William Van Duyn collection of magazine advertisements, ephemera, articles, and pamphlets related to tobacco and cigarette-smoking. Additional anti-smoking posters from the Medical Historical Library’s collections represent national and international efforts to eliminate smoking worldwide.