Honors Program

Midway Honors

Date of Award


Thesis Professor(s)

Dr. Rebecca Adkins Fletcher

Thesis Professor Department

Appalachian Studies

Thesis Reader(s)

Joseph Smith


The Appalachian region faces wide scale drug use and opioid addiction that exceeds the national average, and the crisis needs more attention in order to properly address the epidemic. Many previous studies have documented the problems Appalachian residents face regarding opioid addiction and other diseases of despair. However, this study focuses on two specific contributing causes of the opioid crisis: a lack of access to medical care and over-prescription of opioids. Additionally, while the problems of substance abuse, particularly opioid abuse, are well represented in media accounts, there is an under-representation of drug recovery and the positive aspects of the fight against drug abuse in media. Pervading stereotypes and a focus on the negative aspects of the crisis within the media continue to uphold and prolong the image of an unsurmountable problem that is no closer to being solved than when preventive efforts were first initiated. This study seeks to examine what factors contribute to opioid use in the Appalachian region, with a specific focus on lack of healthcare, over-prescription and media misrepresentation.


East Tennessee State University

Document Type

Honors Thesis - Open Access

Creative Commons License

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.


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