Prosecuting Opiate Use

Punishing Rurality

The dominant narrative of the opiate crisis focuses on white suburban/urban areas. This ignores the increasingly high use of opiates in rural areas. It also ignores the reality that many rural areas are predominately composed of people of color. Stereotypes about white Appalachian areas further distorts reality by encouraging a view that substance use disorder is natural to some rural communities. The response t the opioid crisis has included ‘tough on crime’ legislation and prosecution, including drug induced homicide. But prosecuting drug induced homicide is problematic, especially in rural areas.