Addressing the Role of "Failing Places" in Opioid Addiction.

Position:News & Numbers

Almost every county in the United States experienced an uptick in drug overdose deaths between 2000 and 2015; none registered a decline, according to Brookings. Poverty is a major factor, but so is "the concomitant decline in the place itself," Brookings concludes. The problem is one of "poverty, place, and isolation."

Social isolation is created "by a fraying of the sort of civic structures and institutions that help buffer us, as individuals, against all the inescapable bad stuff that comes with living a life," the Brookings article explains. The author focuses on the role of our physical environment, or "the public and private spaces where many of those structures are, or ought to be, forged and reinforced." The article also suggests that hardships leading to addiction include "not just to the hardships associated with job loss and poverty, but to the lack of social connections people need to help them emotionally, and perhaps even materially, weather the suffering." The author argues "that lack of connection in turn can at least partially be attributed to a decline--wrought by both suburbanization and economic change--in the local concentrations of grocers, cafes, barbershops, and maybe even bowling...

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