Matthew R. Pembleton

D.C. Policy Center

Matthew R. Pembleton is a historian of twentieth century America and U.S. foreign relations.  His research interests revolve around government, politics and culture, and the relationships between citizen and state and the U.S. and the world. His first book, Containing Addiction: The Federal Bureau of Narcotics and the Origins of America’s Global Drug War (UMass Press, 2017), examines the roots of U.S. drug enforcement and the process by which American drug warriors extended their influence to foreign lands while consolidating government power at home. 

Matt has taught at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, Howard Community College, and American University.  He also works as a history consultant at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.  His writing has been featured in the Journal of American Culture, the Journal of Cold War Studies, History News Network, and the Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter at @mattpembleton.

D.C. Policy Center contributors are independent writers, and we gladly encourage the expression of a variety of perspectives. The views of our contributors, published here or elsewhere, do not reflect the views of the D.C. Policy Center.

Written By Matthew R. Pembleton

Synthetics: The next chapter in the D.C. region’s drug crisis

America’s drug problem continues to evolve in startling and dangerous ways, and the District of Columbia remains at the forefront of those changes. Drug overdose continues to be a leading cause of death in the United States; according to the latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control, the national death toll…

October 3, 2018 | Matthew Pembleton

How the D.C. region is responding to the opioid crisis

Naloxone saves lives, but it’s only the first step.   The number of Americans who have died in the ongoing opioid epidemic continues to climb. Between September 2016 and September 2017, more than 45,600 Americans died from overdoses involving opioids. The number of fatal opioid-related overdoses in D.C. more than doubled between…

April 30, 2018 | Matthew Pembleton

Confronting the opioid—and fentanyl—crisis in the District

Washington, D.C. is now on the front lines of the opioid epidemic. Although the District has always been an important site for the nation’s collective struggle with drugs and contests over policy and enforcement, this is a relatively new development. Deaths attributable to opioids (a category that includes prescription pain medications and…

February 8, 2018 | Matthew Pembleton