23: The Appalachian Foothills People, Place, And, The Opioid Epidemic

Date of Award

January 2019

Degree Type

Closed Access Thesis

Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)


English and Theatre

First Advisor

Carter Sickels

Department Affiliation

English and Theatre

Second Advisor

Young Smith

Department Affiliation

English and Theatre

Third Advisor

Nancy Jensen

Department Affiliation

English and Theatre


23: the Appalachian Foothills People, Place, and, the Opioid Epidemic is a collection of personal and narrative nonfiction essays centered in the Kentucky, Ohio, West Virginia Appalachian foothills region and focused on the impact of the opioid epidemic on this place and the people who live here. From the story of a boy born in 1989 to a woman who injected Oxycontin into her jugular vein, to communities seeking to overcome more than three decades of trauma wrought by addiction, this collection seeks to provide an indigenous perspective of a blue-collar community surviving the opioid epidemic, loss, and, hope for tomorrow. 23 provides context of place and how it contributed to the opioid impact, and, how place lends structure to solutions. 23 also represents the genetic structure that joins us as humans, yet, sets us apart as individuals surviving the impact of addiction on ourselves, on our loved ones, and on our beloved homeplace in the Appalachian foothills.

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