Drugs and War: What is the Relationship?

Peter Andreas, Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, Brown University

Friday, April 26, 2019 | 12:00 pm - 01:30 pm

Zimmerman Library, Willard Room


Join the UNM Department of Political Science and LAII for a  presentation with Dr. Peter Andreas, John Hay Professor of International STudies and Political Science at the Watson Institute for International & Public Affairs at Brown University.

In this presentation, Andreas tells the story of war from antiquity to the modern age through the lens of six psychoactive drugs: alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, opium, amphetamines, and cocaine. Armed conflict has become progressively more "drugged" with the global spread of these mind-altering substances. From ancient brews and battles to meth and modern warfare, drugs and war have grown up together and become addicted to each other. By looking back not just years and decades but centuries, Andreas reveals that the drugs-conflict nexus is actually an old story, and that powerful states have been its biggest beneficiaries.

Previously, Andreas was an academy scholar at Harvard University, a research fellow at the Brookings Institution, and an SSRC-MacArthur Foundation Fellow on International Peace and Security. He holds an MA and PhD in government from Cornell University and a BA in political science from Swarthmore College.

Andreas is the author, co-author, or co-editor of ten books. These include Smuggler Nation: How Illicit Trade Made America (Oxford University Press, 2013, selected by Amazon and by Foreign Affairs as one of the best books of the year), Blue Helmets and Black Markets: The Business of Survival in the Siege of Sarajevo (Cornell University Press, 2008); Policing the Globe: Criminalization and Crime Control in International Relations (Oxford University Press, 2006); Border Games: Policing the U.S.-Mexico Divide (Cornell University Press, 2000, second edition 2009); and Sex, Drugs, and Body Counts: The Politics of Numbers in Global Crime and Conflict (Cornell University Press, 2010). His most recent book is a political memoir, Rebel Mother: My Childhood Chasing the Revolution (Simon & Schuster, 2017). His current book project, Killer High: A History of War in Six Drugs (under contract with Oxford University Press), explores the relationship between warfare and mind altering substances, from ancient times to the present. 

Andreas has also written for a wide range of scholarly and policy publications, including International SecurityInternational Studies QuarterlyForeign AffairsForeign PolicyThe New RepublicHarper's, Slate, and The Nation. Other writings include congressional testimonies and op-eds in major newspapers, such as the New York TimesWashington Post, Boston Globe, and The Guardian.


This event is free and open to the public.


Department of Political Science, Latin American and Iberian Institute