In this essay, Kevin Riley examines the history of amphetamine use by long-haul truck drivers in the United States in the postwar era, providing an extended analysis of the complex ways stimulant use was embedded in industry practice. Riley demonstrates the black market in amphetamines on the nation's highways was inextricably tied to the business of unregulated trucking—an overall absence of regulatory control on the “competitive fringe” of the industry meant exposure to intense competitive conditions that encouraged excessive drive times and subsequent reliance on stimulants. Riley also considers the predominant responses to the amphetamine problem by trucking industry representatives, government officials, organized labor, and the mass media, all of which helped to obscure the work-related roots of the amphetamine problem. The essay contributes to an understanding of how the corporeality of work is both molded by larger economic and political forces and enshrouded in cultural meaning.
Kevin Riley; Driving on Speed: Long-Haul Truck Drivers and Amphetamines in the Postwar Period. Labor 1 December 2014; 11 (4): 63–90. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/15476715-2801097
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