“Ain’t Hungry No More: The History Behind the Midwest Opioid Epidemic”

Ivan Ross Butler University
Faculty Sponsor(s): Vivian Deno Butler University
In 2014, the rural town of Connersville, Indiana made state news for a dismal phenomenon: 20 opioid-induced overdoses in the span of 20 days, including five deaths. Though this statistic may be common in larger cities across the United States, it is important to note that Connerville’s population is only 13,000. In many ways Connersville is every small town scattered throughout the Midwest- and the unfortunate reality is that these very areas are amidst a drug crisis. The events that transpired signify the long chain of circumstances that have allowed drug-related destructive implications to take root , and it is by uncovering the history of such opioid use that we can better understand how to combat it. “Ain’t Hungry No More” seeks to provide an interdisciplinary look into the history and politics of such Heartland opioid use, which includes an examination of deindustrialization, policy failures, over prescription, socio-economic status, and recreational use of opioids. With widespread addiction it is also important to investigate why people have resorted to drug use and why it is so readily available, especially considering that the drugs injected into Hoosier veins were synthesized in lands far detached from Indiana. By focusing on a case study of Connersville, the project makes county-specific historical data applicable to all states that suffer, or have suffered, from the crushing effects of opioids. As overdose victims increase year after year, the Midwest needs Naloxone- and this study will provide backdrop for proposed future solutions.
Oral Presentation

When & Where

02:15 PM
Jordan Hall 301