From Injudicious Prescribing to the Script Doctor: Transgressive Addiction Treatment in the Interwar Years
The prescribing of dangerous drugs by doctors was central to the emergence of early drug culture, despite the claims of the American liberal advocates of the British System and the work of commentators such as Judith Blackwell. This chapter maps the emergence and cultural geography of the script doctor. It focuses on a case study tracing the career of Dr Samuel Connor, a major script doctor figure whose prescribing haunted (and played a large part in prompting) the Rolleston Committee, the deliberations of which resulted in the report that laid the foundations of the regulatory regime for the next 50 years—the classic ‘British System’. Connor’s marginal practice brought together sexual and narcotic medicine. The problem of identifying nontherapeutic addicts, devising appropriate forms of treatment and regulating doctors’ dealings with this difficult population was central to the Rolleston Committee and was a recurring theme in the regulatory discourse through the classic period of addiction treatment.