Treat the Illness or Punish the Crime? A History of Drug Use and Addiction Treatment in America The opioid crisis has reignited a long and contentious debate over how best to deal with drug use and addiction. Should society approach addiction as a public health issue, a medical issue, or a crime problem? Dr. Karibo’s research explores how policymakers, medical experts, and the broader public have answered this question over the course of the twentieth century. As a cardinal example, she studies the history of the Fort Worth Narcotics Farm, one of only two federal drug treatment facilities open between the 1930s and 1970s. Designed to treat users west of the Mississippi, the Farm offered hope to many seeking to end their drug addiction. For others, though, the Farm was nothing more than a site of incarceration. Dr. Karibo examines how combining treatment with punishment at the Farm affected the men who found themselves there, and how it shaped our culture’s approach to addiction. Dr. Karibo will discuss some important lessons our society might learn from the history of the Farm.