The American History Podcast

A Program Of Virginia Foundation for the Humanities


Elvis, Nixon, & the War on Drugs

It’s 36 years ago today since Elvis Presley died, following a battle with prescription drugs. But he famously offered to help President Richard Nixon fight the growing “drug culture” in America that seemed to have taken off in the 1960s.  The iconic picture of the two meeting in the Oval Office, on December 21, 1970, is the most requested photograph from the National Archives and reproduced everywhere.

Elvis Presley meets President Nixon, 12/21/1970 (National Archives)

Elvis Presley meets President Nixon, 12/21/1970 (National Archives)

But the Archives also has some other amazing stuff from that meeting, including the initial letter Elvis wrote requesting it!  Check it out here and see more from the Elvis/Nixon meeting at:

For the bigger picture on America’s complicated relationship with drugs – legal and otherwise – check out BackStory’s episode “All Hopped Up,” which we’ll be rebroadcasting this week. 


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