"At its core, I think addiction is about a need for connection," says Shannon Monnat, Lerner Chair for Public Health Promotion. "My research shows that work, family and community are the three most important factors for understanding why drug overdose rates are higher in some places than others. Work, family and community are the three arenas where we derive meaning and purpose from our lives. If we don’t have those connections, we might seek it out elsewhere, for example with drugs."
While the urban opioid crisis is a crisis of heroin and illegal drugs, the rural opioid crisis of prescription drugs is largely a story of growing spatial inequality and of places left behind, most often occurring in places that tend to have a declining industrial base, finds a study co-authored by Shannon Monnat, Lerner Chair for Public Health Promotion.
“Many people who misuse opioids are also misusing other substances, and a common driver of this is self-medicating,” says Shannon Monnat, associate professor of
sociology and Lerner Chair for Public Health Promotion, whose research examines the connections between social disadvantage, place, public policy and health.
According to Shannon Monnat, Lerner Chair for Public Health Promotion, the recent decline in life expectancy "is due almost entirely" to increases in overdoses and suicides. "Although the declines are small, they are unprecedented, and they are signals that there is a serious well-being crisis in the U.S."