Professional Interests

Headshot of David CourtwrightDavid Courtwright specializes in drug history. He also writes about violence, political and policy history, aviation, and frontier environments. He has taught medical, U.S., and world history at the University of North Florida, where he is presidential professor emeritus in the Department of History.

His most recent  book, The Age of Addiction: How Bad Habits Became Big Business, is a history of global limbic capitalism. He is currently researching and writing a history of the U.S. opioid crisis.


Dr. Courtwright received a B.A. in English from the University of Kansas and a Ph.D. in History from Rice University.



The Age of Addiction Book CoverThe Age of Addiction:
How Bad Habits Became Big Business

Listen to an excerpt from the book’s introduction.

Listen to The Age of Addiction on Audible.

VOX interview with Sean Illing






Forces of Habit:
Drugs and the Making of the Modern World








Dark Paradise:
A History of Opiate Addiction in America








 Addicts Who Survived:
An Oral History of Narcotic Use in America

Listen to excerpts from interviews with and about Dr. Marie Nyswander.

Addicts Who Survived Oral History Project at Columbia University






No Right Turn:
Conservative Politics in a Liberal America








Violent Land:
Single Men and Social Disorder from the Frontier to the Inner City








Sky as Frontier:
Adventure, Aviation, and Empire

Listen to Sky as Frontier on Audible.








Selected Works, Commentaries, and Media


How Businesses Get People Addicted (David Courtwright Interview)

The David Pakman Show logo


Ovoid litigation testimony. Judge hearing Washington’s case against 3 opioid distributors gets a medical history lesson.

The Seattle Times logo


“Virtue and Vice in an Age of Addiction,” Micah Meadowcroft’s review of The Age of Addiction on the American Conservative website.

Young woman addicted to cellphone


Dr. David Courtwright on NPR’s America’s Opioid Epidemic : Throughline

NPR Opioide Epidemic


View David Courtwright’s American History TV episodes on C-SPAN.

American History TV on C-Span3


Philippe Boucher’s web interview about Forces of Habit

Harvesting the sap from an opium poppy


“Inside the Story of America’s 19th-Century Opiate Addiction” from Smithsonian Magazine.

Smithsonian Magazine logo


Opioid History Sources


Opioid Industry Documents Archive

Richard Sackler deposition photo


Lost Women of Science: Marie Nyswander

The Lost Women of Science - Marie Nyswander black and white photo graphic

University of North Florida Teaching and Learning Resources


Department of History

UNF Oral History Project — Creating a University

Center for Instruction and Research Technology (CIRT)

Thomas G. Carpenter Library

UNF Department of History Digital Commons