Hitting The Books: “Undoing Dope: Interventions in the Same Old Story of Heroin”

Author: Kate McCoy, assistant professor of Education

Title: My working title right now is “Undoing Dope: Interventions in the Same Old Story of Heroin.”

How long have you been working on it? 

I started the research that this book will cover about 15 years ago. Ten of those years I worked on a number of research projects that had federal, state and/or city funding in New York. I have been writing and publishing articles from that work for the last 15 years.

Publication date?

TBA, hopefully within the next year, but I’m sure that’s going to change.


The theme of the book is that it might be productive and useful to intervene in the same old stories we always hear and tell about heroin. The sections show heroin as a substance, a commodity, a monster and a medicine.

What makes it unique? 

There are many types of books about heroin. There are academic books that deal with heroin within the confines of certain disciplines, such as anthropology and sociology.  There are experimental, physiological studies about the way heroin affects animals.  People write memoirs and fiction.  There are lots of movies about heroin, songs and more.

This book tries to account for all these ways that stories of heroin are told utilizing contemporary social theory, history and philosophy to make sense of all it. I am interested in understanding what shapes public perception of heroin and people who use it. I am puzzled by how our policies that affect people who use heroin do not usually help them very much.