Challenging Assumptions

What assumptions do hold that lead us to blame on individuals, communities, or regions, and how do these assumptions limit opportunities for recovery and support? 


The contributors to our book provide powerful examples of how ordinary people have stepped up in a time of need. They make clear that, to meet the challenges of the opioid crisis, many Ohioans have embraced a different role than the one in which they had been trained. Bills have been passed, treatment facilities and safe houses built, and communities strengthened. The larger question for the long-term health of our state, however--if we are to come out of this historical moment stronger and more humane--will be answered only by our willingness to change how we think. Such a transformation requires wrestling with some protracted and entrenched questions.

Conversations addressing assumptions consider the toxicity of stigma, racism, and unacknowledged privilege in how we think about addiction. They must help us understand how the rise of addiction and overdose in certain regions have been used--inadvertently or not--to stereotype rural Ohioans. The conversations arising in this section should challenge us to reconsider how we think about ourselves, our neighbors, and our fellow Ohioans--no matter how different our backgrounds may be.

The goal of this activity is to challenge our existing attitudes about who addiction affects. Using statistics on the opioid epidemic, along with a poem contributed by a social worker and substance abuse counselor, participants will explore the reach of opioids in Ohio.
Many of Ohio's towns and cities are stereotyped as being havens for drug abuse. But youth growing up in these cities defy these descriptions in important ways. In this activity, we use two poems written by high school students in Portsmouth Ohio to explore the experience of growing up in a city heavily affected by opioid abuse and the motivation to make positive change in the next generation.
The opioid epidemic has received considerable attention in the news and in public policymaking. But this is only the most recent in a long history of drug epidemics in the U.S. In this activity, we explore the way that race has shaped empathy toward drug users.