Where do our characterizations of intoxicants and their users come from? Ingrid Walker explores contemporary representations of drug and alcohol users in U.S. popular culture to ask what our stories tell us about the social politics embedded in our cultural norms. The stories of why Americans drink or take drugs depend a great deal on who is drinking or taking drugs. From the scotch and cigarettes pleasures of the 1950’s to the rise of Prozac or even the current opiate crisis, how we think about medicines and intoxicants shapes policy, regulation, and public health. In fact, what we tell ourselves about these substances and their users has wide-ranging cultural effects that may surprise you. Think and drink while we consider the politics of normal alcohol and drug use. Ingrid Walker is Associate Professor of American Studies in the School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences at the University of Washington, Tacoma. She researches and teaches about the politics of contemporary culture in the United States. Her book, High: Drugs, Desire, and a Nation of Users, explores how drug prohibition and health care have created disparate practices and beliefs regarding drug use in American life. The resulting cultural norms and policy, based on decades of misinformation, affect us all. See her TEDx talk on youtube: Drugs and Desire.