David T. Courtwright

“A mind-blowing tour de force that unwraps the myriad objects of addiction that surround us daily. From alcohol to internet gaming, food to gambling, drugs to sex, Courtwright covers the globe over thousands of years. This intelligent, incisive, and sometimes grimly entertaining book will become the standard work on the subject.”

Rod Phillips, author of Alcohol: A History

The Age of Addiction, now available for order

Professional Interests

David 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 latest book, The Age of Addiction: How Bad Habits Became Big Business, is now available for order.


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

Addictions Old and New: Edited Conference Videos

Conference Banner for Addictions Old and New

Conference on behavioral and substance addictions, from compulsive overeating to marijuana.
Commentary on conference.



The Age of Addiction Book Cover

The Age of Addiction:
How Bad Habits Became Big Business

No Right Turn:
Conservative Politics in a Liberal America

Sky as Frontier:
Adventure, Aviation, and Empire

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

Dark Paradise:
A History of Opiate Addiction in America

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


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

University of North Florida Teaching and Learning Resources

Department of History

UNF Oral History Project — Creating a University

Canvas at UNF

Center for Instruction and Research Technology (CIRT)

Thomas G. Carpenter Library

UNF Department of History Digital Commons

In the News

The Age of Addiction chronicles the triumph of “limbic capitalism,” the growing network of competitive businesses targeting the brain pathways responsible for feeling, motivation, and long-term memory.
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The Age of Addiction Book Cover


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


Dr. Drew interviews David Courtwright about his new book, The Age of Addiction on Dr. Drew Midday Live with Leean Tweeden.
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Dr. Drew Answers


Lucas Richert, medical historian and associate professor in the School of Pharmacy at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, interviews Dr. Courtwright about his upcoming book, The Age of Addiction, and the global nature of pleasure, vice, and capitalism.
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Dr. David Courtwright on NPR Morning Edition: America’s Opioid Epidemic.
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NPR Opioide Epidemic



Dr. Courtwright joins Dr. Drew to discuss how the Civil War created opium addicts, as well as the origins of medical morphine addiction in the U.S.
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History of Opium Episode 2 Podcast


See David Courtwright’s American History TV episodes on C-SPAN.
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American History TV on C-Span3


"An Opioid Crisis Foretold"
New York Times Editorial
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NEH Public Scholar Grant for a history of pleasure, vice, and addiction.
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Reflections on the new edition of Addicts Who Survived
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America's Political Shift: Academic Minute broadcast
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No Right Turn
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Crisply written, colorful, and often out-of-the-box original, this is a bold, sweeping look at the last four decades of American history.”
—Gil Troy, author of Leading from the Center
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Amazon.com author's page >

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