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The Opioid Epidemic and US Culture: Expression, Art, and Politics in an Age of Addiction

The Opioid Epidemic and US Culture cover

Edited by Travis D. Stimeling

October 2020
PB 978-1-949199-71-0
CL 978-1-949199-70-3
eBook 978-1-949199-72-7



The Opioid Epidemic and US Culture brings a new set of perspectives to one of the most pressing contemporary topics in Appalachia and the nation as a whole. A project aimed both at challenging dehumanizing attitudes toward those caught in the opioid epidemic and at protesting the structural forces that have enabled it, this edited volume assembles a multidisciplinary community of scholars and practitioners to consider the ways that people have mobilized their creativity in response to the crisis. From the documentary The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia to the role of cough syrup in mumble rap, and from a queer Appalachian zine to protests against the Sackler family’s art-world philanthropy, the essays here explore the intersections of expressive culture, addiction, and recovery.

Written for an audience of people working on the front lines of the opioid crisis, the book is essential reading for social workers, addiction counselors, halfway house managers, and people with opioid use disorder. It will also appeal to the community of scholars interested in understanding how aesthetics shape our engagement with critical social issues, particularly in the fields of literary and film criticism, museum studies, and ethnomusicology.


Coming soon.


Travis D. Stimeling is associate professor of musicology at West Virginia University, where he also directs the WVU Bluegrass and Old-Time Bands. His previous books include Cosmic Cowboys and New Hicks: The Countercultural Sounds of Austin’s Progressive Country Music Scene, The Country Music Reader, and two books with WVU Press: Fifty Cents and a Box Top: The Creative Life of Nashville Session Musician Charlie McCoy and Songwriting in Contemporary West Virginia: Profiles and Reflections.


“A wholly unique and timely approach to understanding the ways that opioids have become entangled with the lives of users and of US culture at large, and a needed complement to public health, sociological, and criminological approaches to this particular problem.”
Travis Linnemann, author of Meth Wars: Police, Media, Power