​2018 Spring Campus Book Discussion: Hillbilly Elegy

Chapter 7

In this chapter, Vance memorializes his grandfather, who dies.  This chapter captures  the pain of loss and the way family members struggle to deal with death, particularly Vance's mom, who allegedly slits her wrists and creates such a huge commotion that the police come to take her away.  Vance goes on to discuss his mother’s addiction to narcotics and the instability it creates for him and his sister.

Rural Life and Drug Use

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provide statistics regarding drug poisoning deaths involving heroin, emergency visits for drug abuse, and behaviors that place people at risk for poor health. Some risk factors for poor health include alcohol consumption, cigarette smoking/tobacco use, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, lack of physical activity, obesity, and illegal drug use.
 
Risk Factors for Drug Use
This article explains some of the factors associated with drug use. Regardless of class, individuals can be susceptible to drug use. The article cites a number of factors that can contribute to drug use, including divorce, conflict between parents and children, mental illness, lack of parental engagement and academic encouragement, loss or absence of a parent, and various forms of abuse, peer pressure, poor academic performance and lack of advocacy in school settings, an over-consumption of music and TV shows that flaunt drug use and genetic dispositions towards drug use. Individuals experiencing any of these factors may turn to drugs as a way of coping.
 
Rural Drug Use
This particular article reveals a rapid rise in illegal drug use among youth (8th-10th graders) living in rural areas. Statistical analysis showed that those living in rural areas were far more likely to smoke cigarettes, use cocaine, crack, amphetamines, inhalants, alcohol, and smokeless tobacco than youth of the same age group living in urban areas. More than half of youth (60%) admitted for drug treatment lacked medical insurance. The types of drugs among rural and urban youth differed as well. Whereas youth from rural areas were more likely to admit to abusing alcohol and “non-heroin opiates,” those from urban areas were more likely to use heroin and cocaine. An overwhelming percentage (77.1%) of those admitted for drug abuse treatment in rural areas are white, 68% of whom are male.

Food for Thought

What are common responses to loss?  What does a healthy response to loss look like?

What reasons can be explained for increased drug use among youth in society?

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