Whiteout: How Racial Capitalism Changed the Color of Opioids in America

Sat, May 18, 2024
Van Dyke Performance Space
Greensboro Cultural Center

Join us in conversation with psychiatrist-anthropologist DR. HELENA HANSEN (Whiteout: How Racial Capitalism Changed the Color of Opioids in America) as she discusses how Whiteness drove the opioid crisis. Through the research and analysis of colleagues and co-authors Jules Netherland and David Herzberg (a policy advocate and a drug historian), Whiteout makes the counterintuitive case that the opioid crisis was the product of white racial privilege as well as despair. Hanson joins us in a candid conversation about how a century of structural racism in drug policy and profit-oriented medical industries led to mass overdose deaths.


DR. HELENA HANSEN, MD, Ph.D. psychiatrist-anthropologist, is Professor & Interim Chair of Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences at UCLA’s DGSOM & Interim Director of the Semel Institute for Neuroscience & Human Behavior. She is the author of three books: Addicted to Christ: Remaking Men in Puerto Rican Pentecostal Drug Ministries; Structural Competency in Medicine and Mental Health: A Case-Based Approach to Treating the Social Determinants of Health; and Whiteout: How Racial Capitalism Changed the Color of Heroin in America. She was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2021.


HEATHER ADAMS is an associate professor of English and a cross-appointed faculty member in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the University of North Carolina Greensboro. A rhetorical scholar, Heather's research and teaching focuses on rhetorics of shame, rhetorics of health and medicine, reproductive politics, and advocacy. Her books include Enduring Shame: A Recent History of Unwed Pregnancy and Righteous Reproduction (University of South Carolina Press, 2022) and (with Nancy Myers) Inclusive Aims: Rhetoric's Role in Reproductive Justice (Parlor Press, 2024). Heather also volunteers as a faculty partner with the NC Survivor's Union.