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Lucas Richert, PhD

Associate Professor
George Urdang Chair in the History of Pharmacy Director of Graduate Studies, Health Services Research in Pharmacy Graduate Program

Lucas Richert (RICK-ert) studies the history of medicine and pharmacy. His work explores psychiatry, pharmaceuticals, pharmacy practice, and intoxicants. His research has examined pharmaceutical regulation, the factors separating legal/illegal drugs, and mental health provision. His work, mostly modern and North American-based, has also spotlighted psychedelic drugs and other psychoactive substances. 

He is the author of three monographs and one forthcoming edited volume. A Prescription for Scandal (Lexington, 2014) narrated the Food and Drug Administration's efforts to regulate pharmaceuticals during the Reagan Era, an era of conservatism, consumer choice, and change. Strange Trips (MQUP, 2019) examined the line that separates legal and illegal drugs, medicines and intoxicants, while blending cultural and biomedical factors; Break On Through (The MIT Press, 2019) marked an intervention in histories of psychiatry through an explicit focus on radicalism and its emphasis on social, economic, and political imperatives within mental health. In 2021, Cannabis: Global Histories (The MIT Press) will provide a wide-ranging geographical, temporal, and thematic view of cannabis as both intoxicant and therapeutic substance.

Since January 2018, Richert has served as the co-editor in chief of The Social History of Alcohol and Drugs, along with David Herzberg and Nancy Campbell. Richert also acts as the editor in chief of History of Pharmacy and Pharmaceuticals (University of Wisconsin Press). Previously known as Pharmacy in History, the journal was founded in 1959 and it recently formed a partnership with UW Press.


In addition to his research program and teaching roles, Richert contributes to School of Pharmacy committees. He is a member of the School of Pharmacy Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee and the Faculty Activities Review (FAR) Committee.


Richert has studied and worked in Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In 2019, Richert took up the George Urdang Chair in the History of Pharmacy with the UW-Madison School of Pharmacy.  

Richert is an affiliate faculty member with the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Department of History and the Department of Medical History & Bioethics (MHB). He is also a member of the Holtz Center for Science Technology Studies and sits on the steering committee for the Health and Humanities Certificate.


Richert is willing to supervise or co-supervise students across divisions and departments at this time. 

He currently teaches within the School of Pharmacy but his courses are humanities-based and open to students across campus.

  • PHM 401 History of Pharmacy
  • PHM 563 Drug History - Dangerous Drugs & Magic Bullets
  • PHM 564 Psychedelic Historiography: Sacred Plants, Science & Psychotherapy

Richert also periodically contributes to other courses in the SOP.

  • PHM 800 Scientific Integrity & Responsible Conduct of Research
  • PHM 490 Cannabinoids Seminar
  • PHM 490 Introduction to Specialty Pharmacy
  • PHM 570 Drug Literature & Evaluation 
Highlighted Publications:


Jim Mills and Lucas Richert (eds.) Cannabis: Global Histories. Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2021. Forthcoming.

Break on Through: Radical Psychiatry and the American Counterculture. Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2019.

Strange Trips: Science, Culture, and the Regulation of Drugs. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2019.  

Conservatism, Consumer Choice, and the Food and Drug Administration during the Reagan Era: A Prescription for Scandal. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2014.

Other Publications (Select)

“Psychedelic Pasts – and Presents,” Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences 76.3 (2021). 

(with Erika Dyck, Alexis Turner) “Psychedelic Wars,” The War on Drugs: A History, edited by David Farber (New York: New York University Press, 2021). Forthcoming.

(with James H. Mills) “Breaking News: Weed Kills Coronavirus,” in Cannabis: Global Histories, edited by Lucas Richert and James H. Mills (Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2021). Forthcoming.

(with Erika Dyck) "Psychedelic crossings: American mental health and LSD in the 1970s," BMJ: Medical Humanities 46 (2020): 184-191.

(with Natalie Schmitz) “Pharmacists and the Future of Cannabis Medicine,” Journal of the American Pharmacists Association 60.1 (2019): 207-211.

(with Matthew DeCloedt) "Supple Bodies, Healthy Minds: Yoga, Psychedelics, and American Mental Health," BMJ: Medical Humanities 44 2018: 193-200

“A Shot in the Dark: is it time to shine a new spotlight on antivaccination?” Canadian Bulletin of Medical History 34.1 (2017): 288-290.

"Heroin in the hospice: opioids and end-of-life discussions in the 1980s," Canadian Medical Association Journal 190.37 October 2, 2017, E1231-E1232.

"Therapy Means Political Change, Not Peanut Butter”: Radical Psychiatry in the United States, 1967-1975," Social History of Medicine 27.1 (2014): 104-121. 

(with Frances Reilly) “American Psychiatry Scholarship: The Pendulum Maintains its Momentum,” Medical History 58.4 (2014): 614-618.

“The Maple Peril: Canadian Drug Reimportation and American Drug Security during George W. Bush’s First Term,” Canadian Review of American Studies 43.1 (2013): 48-73.

“Trimming Down: The Debate Over Weight Loss Drugs and the Push for a Leaner FDA, 1979-2000,” Pharmacy in History 53.2 (2011): 55-69.