Dr. David Musto, an expert on drug-control policy who wrote an important history of drug use in the United States and government efforts to control it and served as a government adviser on drug policy during the Carter administration, died Friday in Shanghai, the New York Times reports. He was 74. Musto was in China to attend a ceremony marking the donation of his books and papers to Shanghai University and the creation there of the Center for International Drug Control Policy Studies
Musto, who was a professor of child psychiatry and of the history of medicine at the Yale School of Medicine, broke new ground in 1973 with “The American Disease: Origins Of Narcotics Control.” In offering an account of drug use and government drug policy from the 1860s to the present, the book struck a nonpolemical tone. Among its findings was the close correlation, historically, between public outrage over certain drugs and their use by feared or hated minorities. Two years before its publication, President Richard Nixon had declared a war on drugs, calling them “Public Enemy No. 1,” and in 1973 he created the Drug Enforcement Administration.