Rhetoric of the Opioid Epidemic

Rhetoric of the Opioid Epidemic

Deaths of Despair in America

Tiara K. Good


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Rhetoric of the Opioid Epidemic demonstrates that framing the epidemic as a medical issue instead of an effect of moral failing holds more potential for solving the epidemic through medical treatment and reconnecting sufferers back to society. This rhetorical move separates the opioid epidemic from the criminal and immoral frames that were cast upon the crack epidemic and initial framing of the AIDS epidemic. Popular culture and governmental response case studies include: President Trump’s March 19, 2018 address to the nation, ODMAP produced by the Washington/Baltimore High Intensity Drug Trafficking in January 2017, news stories from national sources dating from 2015 to 2020 about the chronic pain management debate, two documentaries, Heroin(e) (2017) and One Nation Under Stress: Deaths of Despair in the United States (2019), and Ben is Back (2018).


Tiara K. Good:

Tiara K. Good is faculty in the Communication Studies Department at Western Oregon University.