This is a different kind of book about the opioid crisis. It highlights the experiences of women and their children. It considers the institutional framework of health services and law enforcement. It views woman as victims of substance abuse, not perpetrators. “This deep ethnographic examination into the lives of women in Appalachia who use drugs serves a vital antidote to shallow representations of rural drug use in the age of the opioid epidemic. Buer is comprehensive in her approach to understanding not only the histories and inequities that contribute to drug use, but also the ways that the design of public health and social systems to address these health disparities inadvertently can harm those who they are meant to serve. While this book helps us to understand the larger inequities that have led us to here, it also begins to help us understand the path to move forward." —Claire Snell-Rood. "Lesly-Marie Buer’s ethnographic study RxAppalachia examines what happens to women and mothers who use drugs and get caught up in the intertwined therapeutic, rehabilitative, and often punitive practices of public and private addiction recovery programs including drug courts. Buer analyzes the entangled dimensions of care and cruelty, domination and love, family and community, and the discursive and disciplinary techniques that are involved in so-called ‘rehabilitation’ efforts. . . . The ethnographic site of this brilliant book is Appalachia but it is a must-read for scholars, practitioners, students, concerned citizens, and clients everywhere." —Dwight B. Billings. The author, Lesly-Marie Buer is a public health practitioner in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2020. 220 pages with References and Endnotes. Trade paperback.