BOYD, Susan C.




Author Tags: Alcohol, Women

There are only three other books on drugs and cinema published prior to Susan Boyd's Hooked: Drug War Films in Britain, Canada, and the United States (2008). Most significantly, Michael Starks' illustrated history Cocaine Fiends and Reefer Madness (1982) looks at films from around the world. Boyd examines Canadian "drug" films, as well as British and U.S. productions, from 1912 to the present.

"I also write about alternative films and stoner flicks," she says, "and I include a chapter on women and maternal drug use. I also include films from 1980 to the 2006. My perspective is quite different due to my focus on drug prohibition which emerged at the same time as the discovery of film. Their histories intersect in interesting ways. I am less interested in the portrayal of each drug, rather my focus in on war on drugs narratives (and ruptures) and how cinematic representations of illegal drug use and trafficking (regardless of drug type) are associated and linked to discourses about the Other, nation building, law and order, and punishment."

Boys says some of the most significant Canadian drug films are: High ((1967) directed by Larry Kent; Curtis's Charm (1995) directed by L'Ecuyer; The Barbarian Invasions (2003) directed by D. Arcand; (2006); On the Corner (2003) directed by N. Geary; and Trailer Park Boys (2006) directed by M. Clattenburg. Her favorites are The Barbarian Invasions (2003) and Trailer Park Boys (2006) (and their 2004 Showcase episode titled Trailer Park Boys X-Mas Special (2004)). Favourite joint productions are Atlantic City (1980) directed by L. Malle; and Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle (2004) directed by D. Leiner.

Chinese Opium Den, produced in 1894 is considered to be the first drug film. It was a half-minute long silent film (Kinetograph) featured at penny arcades. The film was made for Thomas Edison's film studio Black Maria. Its popularity sparked a host of other "opium" films but unfortunately only stills of Chinese Opium Den now exist. "Getting permission to include film stills was an education and it took months to figure out the copyright issue," she says. "I was able to include films stills from the joint Canadian film, Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle."

Some of the films stills included in her book are from Broken Blossoms, 1919; Narcotic, 1934; The Pace that Kills, 1936; Assassin of Youth, 1935; The Man with the Golden Arm, 1955; The Trip, 1967 Easy Rider, 1969; The Panic in Needle Park, 1971; Trainspotting, 1996; Gridlock'd, 1997; Cleopatra Jones, 1973; The French Connection, 1971; New Jack City, 1991; Maria Full of Grace, 2004; Reefer Madness, 1936; Valley of the Dolls, 1967; Postcard from the Edge, 1990; Blow, 2001; Marihuana, The Weed with Roots from Hell; Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, 2004; Layer Cake, 2004; and Drugstore Cowboy, 1989.

As a long-time community activist and resident of B.C., living in Vancouver’s east end, Susan Boyd was an Assistant Professor in the School of Criminology and the Department of Women’s Studies at SFU before becoming an Associate Professor of Sociology/Criminology at Saint Mary’s University. She subsequently became a professor in the Faculty of Human and Social Development at the University of Victoria. Susan Boyd has an M.A. in clinical psychology from Antioch University and a Ph.D in criminology from Simon Fraser University. Susan Boyd has worked with harm reduction and anti-drug war groups. From 1992 to 1999 she was an outreach worker with Drug and Alcohol Support for Women (DAMS) and Keano Women’s Healing Circle. For the last three years she has been working with SNAP (SALOME/NAOMI Association of Patients), who meet at VANDU (Vancouver Network of Drug Users) every week. Her academic interests are focused mainly on drug policy and law, maternal drug use, reproductive autonomy, and media representations. She was Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Addictions Research of British Columbia., University of Victoria when she co-edited With Child with Lenora Marcellus. Susan Boyd was an Associate Professor in Studies in Policy and Practice at the University of Victoria when she published From Witches to Crack Moms, her feminist analysis of the impact drug law and policy have on women in the U.S. compared with women in Britain and Canada. The drug war's impact on women and indigenous peoples of Colombia is also considered. Since then Boyd worked with Bud Osborn and Donald MacPherson to chronicle the history of resistance in the Downtown Eastside for harm reduction and a supervised injection site. More recently she has been examining media representations of criminalized drugs and the people who use them. Boyd was awarded the Distinguished Professor Award at the University of Victoria in 2014 for her research, teaching, community service, and publications on drug policy.

Co-written with Connie Carter, a senior policy analyst for the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition, Killer Weed: Marijuana Grow Ops, Media, and Justice (University of Toronto Press 2014) documents fifteen years of scare tactics about marijuana growing fueled by a few vocal spokespeople, the RCMP and media. After wide-reaching analysis, Boyd and Carter conclude in the final chapter such scare tactics have little merit. They cite the findings of the federal government's justice department's own study on marijuana grow ops that challenges claims made by the RCMP and media regarding organized crime, violence and public safety. That justice department report is corroborated by scholarly research--but the justice department study was never released. Boyd and Carter obtained a copy of the unreleased study from a reporter who received it following a Freedom of Information request.

"The second important finding," says Boyd, " concerns civil initiatives and by-laws, municipal multi-partner initiatives that have sprung up all over B.C. and elsewhere since 2004. There is little oversight of these initiatives as they are outside criminal justice. BC Hydro, the city government, police, RCMP, firefighters and electrical inspectors all work to identify high electrical usage, and then enter homes without a warrant, and there is an assumption of guilt rather than innocence. These homeowners are fined regardless of whether or not evidence of marijuana growing is found."

Specifically, on page 146, Killer Weed discusses the so-called "smart meters" that have been forced upon BC Hydro customers.

According to the authors of Killer Weed, a fifteen-year drug scare about marijuana grow ops has helped to facilitate changes in federal law (mandatory minimum sentencing for some drug offences, including growing more than five plants (resulting in six-month jail sentences), as well as changes in the medical marijuana program (eliminating personal growing and designated growers), provincial legislation, and civil by-laws and multi-partner initiatives.

"We question these changes," says Boyd, "and the turn to law and order responses, many that contravene charter rights, and the impact on vulnerable populations such as youth, aboriginal people and the poor."

DATE OF BIRTH: 11/14/53

EMPLOYMENT OTHER THAN WRITING: professor at University of Victoria

BOOKS:

Mothers and Illicit Drugs: Transcending the Myths (1999, University of Toronto Press)

(Ab)Using Power: The Canadian Experience (2001, Fernwood)

Toxic Criminology: Environment, Law, and the State (2002, Fernwood)

From Witches to Crack Moms: Women, Drug Law, and Policy (2004, Carolina Academic Press)

With Child. Substance Use During Pregnancy: A Woman-Centred Approach (Fernwood, 2007). Edited by Susan C. Boyd and Lenora Marcellus. 136pp ISBN: 978-1-55266-218-2 $17.95

Hooked: Drug War Films in Britain, Canada, and the United States (Routledge 2008).

Raise Shit! Social Action Saving Lives (Fernwood 2009 $26.95). With Bud Osborn and Donald MacPherson.

Killer Weed: Marijuana Grow Ops, Media, and Justice (University of Toronto Press 2014) $28.95 9781442612143. Co-author with Connie Carter, a senior policy analyst for the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition

[BCBW 2014] "Drugs"

From Witches to Crack Moms: Women, Drug Law and Policy
Publicity synopsis (2004)



Susan Boyd examines how the regulation of altered states of consciousness and women's bodies is not new. Like the witches of old, women suspected of using illegal drugs today are persecuted and punished. From Witches to Crack Moms offers a critique of drug law and policy and its impact on women in the United States and illuminates similarities and differences in Britain and Canada.

Informed by a feminist sociological perspective, Boyd discusses how drug law and policy is racialized, class-biased, and gendered. She highlights how punitive drug laws inform and shape social service and medical policy and practice. Boyd also provides insight into how the war on drugs and the regulation of reproduction intersect, culminating in a volatile mix. Also examined are legal and illegal drug use, maternal drug use, and neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), against the backdrop of the regulation of all women. In addition, Boyd examines how prisons, social services, medical treatment, maternity care, drug treatment, and drug court policy and practice have been restructured as a result of the war on drugs.

Although the focus of this book is on women's experience of the war on drugs, it also examines how law and policy affect women and men in similar and different ways, and how the regulation of male drug users affects women, families, and communities. Boyd also discusses domestic and international drug policy, exploring how Western imperialism and colonization were accompanied by the condemnation of plants used in spiritual healing by indigenous peoples of North and South America. The impact of the war on drugs on women and indigenous peoples in Colombia is also discussed in order to reveal the connections between the regulation of drug use in Western liberal states and non-Western states. Boyd examines the "Americanization" of drug policy and how the war on drugs, the war on terrorism, and the war on crime are law enforcement initiatives that have that have become global in their reach.

Boyd concludes that today, as the war on drugs advances, women have plenty to fear. This fear should not necessarily be from alleged drug users and dealers, but from moral regulation in all its guises, and from state, military, criminal justice, and corporate attempts to erode democracy to further their interests in Western and Third World nations. Boyd closes by stating that social justice, rather than criminal justice, is the goal to work toward. She proposes that ending the war on drugs is one strategy on the road to achieving social justice.

-- Carolina Academic Press

With Child
Press Release (2007)



Although drug use occurs throughout the social spectrum, problematic use is associated with poverty and social deprivation. In spite of this link to poverty and social deprivation, women are blamed for the outcomes of their pregnancies and it is argued that drug-using women should not be allowed to have custody of their children. The contributors of this volume propose that those who provide services for pregnant drug using women must recognize that women with social problems that affect pregnancy outcomes should be approached in the same way as care for women with medical problems that have obstetric consequences. Drugs are one factor amongst many that shape pregnancy and although drug use is a risk, it is a manageable one. This book is unique and timely. It provides practitioners and researchers with valuable information about maternal drug use, harm reduction, best practices and policy. It will provide a groundbreaking critical and feminist template for organizations in a wide range of fields such as nursing, social work, medicine, public health, health, child development, and addictions.


Hooked: Drug War Films in Britain, Canada, and the United States
Article



The first film about drugs, chinese Opium Den, was made in 1894 as a half-minute-long silent film (Kinetograph). Featured at penny arcades, and produced by Thomas Edison’s film studio called Black Maria, it sparked a host of other “opium” movies. Today only stills of Chinese Opium Den exist.

Despite the plethora of films since 1894, only three books on drugs and cinema have been published prior to Susan Boyd’s Hooked: Drug War Films in Britain, Canada, and the United States (Routledge $95), a survey that includes Canadian “drug” films, as well as British and U.S. productions, from 1912 to the present.

Boyd is keenly aware that widespread drug prohibition emerged at the same time as the discovery of film. “Their histories intersect in interesting ways,” says Boyd, who focuses on war-on-drugs narratives and how cinematic representations of illegal drug use and trafficking (regardless of drug type) are linked to discourses about fears of ‘the Other,’ nation building, law and order, and punishment.

“I also write about alternative films and stoner flicks,” she says, “and I include a chapter on women and maternal drug use.” According to Boyd, some of the most significant Canadian drug films are: High (1967) directed by L. Kent; The Barbarian Invasions (2003) directed by D. Arcand; On the Corner (2003) directed by N. Geary; and Trailer Park Boys (2006) directed by M. Clattenburg. Her favorites are The Barbarian Invasions and Trailer Park Boys (and their Showcase episode titled Trailer Park Boys Xmas Special (2004).

Some of the stills included in her book are from Broken Blossoms (1919); Narcotic (1933); Reefer Madness (1936); Valley of the Dolls (1967); Drugstore Cowboy (1989); Postcards from the Edge (1990) and Trainspotting (1996).

978-0-415 95706-9

[BCBW 2008] "Drugs" "Film"


Raise Shit! Social Action Saving Lives (Fernwood $26.95)
Article



For almost twenty years Bud Osborn has been the unofficial archivist of Canada’s poorest neighbourhood.

“We have become a community of prophets,” writes the Downtown Eastside poet, “rebuking the system and speaking hope and possibility into situations of apparent impossibility.”

Along with City of Vancouver’s Drug Policy Coordinator Donald MacPherson and UVic academic Susan Boyd—who lost her sister Diana to a drug overdose—Osborn has documented the social justice movement that culminated in the opening of North America’s first supervised drug injection site in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES).

As a landmark celebration of collective activism and resistance, the trio’s impolitely-titled Raise Shit! Social Action Saving Lives (Fernwood $26.95) is a sophisticated history of despair and courage, commitment and change.

It is also an important contribution to the serious literature on drug prohibition and an inspiring story of how marginalized citizens have refused to let their friends’ deaths be rendered invisible.

“Our story is unique,” say the trio. “It is told from the vantage point of drug users, those most affected by drug policy.”

At its outset, this montage of photos, news stories, poems by Osborn, MP Libby Davies’ letters and journal entries does not fail to note: “From the early 1980s, poor women, many Aboriginal, associated with the DTES, went missing. Twenty years passed before one man was charged with the murders of 26 of the missing women; however, later he was convicted of six counts of second degree murder. The investigation is ongoing, and poor women remain vulnerable to male violence.”

The DTES made headlines around the world in 1977 when a public health emergency was declared in response to the growing rates of HIV, hepatitis C and overdose deaths among drug users in the area.

The last time we checked, raising hell was not an official Olympic event, so as 2010 draws nearer, it will be interesting to watch how critical DTES voices will be raised.

Earlier this year anti-Olympics author Chris Shaw was hassled by the RCMP, requesting information of protest plans. 978-1-5526-6327-1

[BCBW 2009]


Killer Weed: Marijuana Grow Ops, Media, and Justice
Article (2014)


from BCBW 2014
Ten years ago, canada’s public safety minister Anne McLellan announced that the federal government was committed to eradi-cating marijuana growing operations and that people who smoke marijuana are stupid.

“I see grow-ops as one of the single biggest problems we face in our communities,” Anne McLellan declared.
That’s hogwash, says Susan Boyd, a UVic academic, one of two researchers who have collected and analysed more than 2500 newspaper articles related to marijuana published in national, provincial and local newspapers in B.C. from 1995 to 2009 and she’s concluded the widespread scare tactics are a government smokescreen for unwarranted invasions of civil liberties.

Co-written by Boyd and Connie Carter, a senior policy analyst for the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition, Killer Weed: Marijuana Grow Ops, Media, and Justice (University of Toronto $28.95) documents fifteen years of exaggeration and scare tactics about marijuana growing fueled by a few vocal spokespeople, the RCMP and media.
Specifically, on page 146, Killer Weed discusses the so-called smart meters that have been forced upon BC Hydro customers.

Boyd and Carter conclude in their final chapter that the public is being duped into compliance with draconian, anti-marijuana policies. They cite the findings of the federal government’s justice department’s own study on marijuana grow ops that challenges claims made by the RCMP and media regarding organized crime, violence and public safety. That justice department report is corroborated by scholarly research — but the justice department study was never released. Boyd and Carter obtained a copy of the unreleased study from a reporter who received it following a Freedom of Information request.

“The second important finding,” says Boyd, “concerns civil initiatives and by-laws, municipal multi-partner initiatives that have sprung up all over B.C. and elsewhere since 2004. There is little oversight of these initiatives as they are outside criminal justice.

“BC Hydro, the city government, police, RCMP, firefighters and electrical inspectors all work to identify high electrical usage, and then enter homes without a warrant, and there is an assumption of guilt rather than innocence. These homeowners are fined regardless of whether or not evidence of marijuana growing is found.”
According to the authors of Killer Weed, a fifteen-year drug scare about marijuana grow ops has helped to facilitate changes in federal law, mandatory minimum sentencing for some drug offences, including growing more than five plants (resulting in six-month jail sentences), as well as changes in the medical marijuana program (eliminating personal growing and designated growers), and changes to provincial legislation.

“We question these changes,” says Boyd, “and the turn to law and order responses, many that contravene charter rights, and the impact on vulnerable populations such as youth, aboriginal people and the poor.” 9781442612143