Opioid/Opiate Addiction: Analyzing the Significance of Racial Disparities Present Within Rural and Inner Cities
Suquett, Nicholas Paul
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This project focuses on analyzing the existing literature around the opioid crisis taking place in rural cities across the United States. It will be juxtaposed using existing literature on the war on drugs, the 1993 crime bill and its repercussions, the presence of opioids in inner cities and how policy addressed these issues. It will also examine the differences of treatment for people color who have struggled with opioid abuse and their white counterparts. With this paper, there is discourse and analysis of the differences in opioid substance abuse in rural and inner cities through the lenses of race, class, location, and its intersections. These complex issues and identities are always present within the history of the policy regarding opioid substance abuse and the speak to the differences of treatment between different bodies that are affected by it will be analyzed on their own and in comparison, with each other. This paper begins with background information on what an opioid is and the various forms of it, then the hero in epidemic that has been present within the United States since the 1970s, the war on drugs and the 1993 crime bill. After this, there is a discussion on the current policies that are being enacted within rural cities where the United States government has said they are suffering from a public health crisis. It will then be contrasted with the history of policies that the United States has implemented within inner cities that suffer from opioid substance abuse and the primary form it is used, heroin. This will show the significance of race and class in the policies that are in place. These policies criminalize certain forms of opioids and as a result, target specific marginalized groups. I will show how the United States government is labeling prescription-based opioid use a public health issue but the use of heroin is labeled a crime and subsequently has stripped the rights away from many people of color. I will argue that the difference in classification has been a tool for the United States to maintain the current racial hierarchy.