Change in the Scenery: An Ethnographic Exploration of Crack Cocaine Use in Rural Ohio

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Though still largely perceived as an “inner city” drug, crack cocaine has become increasingly available in many areas of the United States. However, little research has been conducted on the phenomenon of crack cocaine use outside of urban areas. This paper draws on qualitative interviews with 50 recent and former crack-cocaine users to explore patterns of use and distribution in three counties in rural Ohio. The findings show that variable patterns of crack use previously documented among urban crack users are evident in rural areas as well, though these are modified by the context of the rural small town. It is postulated that local social networks are the primary means by which these patterns are both transmitted and translated. Implications of these exploratory findings and possible directions for future research are discussed.



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