Manufacturing Addiction: How can art move the conversation about drug addiction from personal problem to the systems that support it?
Many people take medication daily — to stay healthy (vitamins) or prescribed medications to relieve physical pain due to illness or operations. Across the United States, pain-killers, also known as opioids are increasingly being prescribed by doctors contributing to widespread addiction and deaths. Led by the pharmaceutical industry, the infrastructure that supports this system of legalized addiction has a long history and a complex set of current power brokers. We have long considered drug addiction the fault or problem of the victim alone. How have artists helped to raise awareness of the larger structures and systems that influence drug dependency and also imagine alternative forms of support and healing? In this class, students will explore the connections between addiction and the pharmaceutical industry, create artwork in different media in response to this crisis, and imagine the possibilities for sharing their knowledge with others.