DrPH (Doctor of Public Health)
Date of Award
Committee Chair or Co-Chairs
Megan Quinn, Samuel Pettyjohn, Stephanie Mathis
Introduction: The entire United States has felt the effects of the overdose epidemic, but rural Appalachia has experienced disproportionate overdose deaths. This variation in overdose mortality can be attributed to the risk environment for overdose in rural Appalachia. Overdose prevention behaviors are individual level behaviors that people who inject drugs can implement that may have the potential to reduce their risk of overdose, however limited research exists regarding the utilization of those behaviors. It is important to consider how the risk environment can influence the utilization of overdose prevention behaviors among people who inject drugs. Therefore, the purpose of this research was to identify overdose prevention behaviors among people who inject drugs in rural Appalachia and better understand the relationship between those behaviors and the rural risk environment for overdose.
Methods: This research was conducted using a mixed methods approach, including a scoping review, qualitative, and quantitative study. A scoping review was used to identify overdose prevention strategies and behaviors in rural America. Semi-structured interviews were used to identify overdose prevention behaviors among people who inject drugs in rural Appalachia. A quantitative survey was used to examine the relationship between risk environment determinants and overdose prevention behaviors utilization among people who inject drugs in rural Appalachia.
Results: Results of primary data collection showed that people who inject drugs in rural Appalachia do utilize overdose prevention behaviors, including several drug checking methods and safe use behaviors. However, environmental barriers and disparities among people who inject drugs in rural Appalachia were highlighted in this research. Potential relationships exist between environmental determinants and the utilization of some overdose prevention behaviors.
Conclusion: This research found the need for several policy and community program implications which all stem from the War on Drugs. Results highlighted the need for systems level change regarding the care for people who inject drugs, which includes the necessity for policy makers to consider harm reduction methods to reduce overdose mortality among people who live in rural Appalachia.
Dissertation - embargo
Teel, Jody, "Overdose Prevention Behaviors and the Rural Risk Environment Among People Who Inject Drugs in Rural Appalachia" (2023). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. Paper 4266. https://dc.etsu.edu/etd/4266
Copyright by the authors.
Available for download on Sunday, September 15, 2024