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Opium Slavery: The Civil War, Veterans, and America's First Opioid Crisis

Title: Opium Slavery: The Civil War, Veterans, and America's First Opioid Crisis

Start: April 25, 2023, 6:30 pm EDT

End: April 25, 2023, 7:30 pm EDT

Location: CANCELLED due to unforeseen circumstances. This event will be rescheduled soon.

Cost: FREE

The Civil War sparked an epidemic of drug addiction among the war’s survivors—America’s first opioid crisis. Join us as Dr. Jonathan S. Jones discusses the traumatic experiences and personal toll of addiction, which upended the lives of veterans and their families, and the radical efforts by physicians and the state to stem the tide of the addiction crisis. The disastrous health and social effects of the Civil War for many survivors call attention to the U.S.’s long but largely forgotten history of opioid crises, with deeply troubling parallels between past and present. 

Jonathan S. Jones is an assistant professor of history at Virginia Military Institute. He is completing his first book, Opium Slavery: The Civil War, Veterans, and America’s First Opioid Crisis forthcoming from UNC Press in 2023. Jones’s research has also appeared in The Journal of the Civil War Era, the Washington Post, Vice, NPR, and other outlets. Jones received his Ph.D. from Binghamton University in 2020. In 2020-21, he was a Postdoctoral Scholar at Penn State’s George and Ann Richards Civil War Era Center.

 *TECHNOLOGY: This virtual event will take place via Zoom, an online meeting platform. For optimal experience, guests should connect using a device with a screen, a speaker, and a keyboard. (A web-enabled camera is also nice but not necessary.) To accommodate guests who may not have access to this technology, a phone number will be provided at registration to dial into the event and listen to the presentation from any landline or mobile phone. Need help using Zoom? Check out this short video. You can also contact us at or call 502-782-8112.    

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