Exploring Opiate Abuse in Rural Communities

Rebecca Forbes Scholar in Action photo

Rebecca Forbes : American Studies major

Mentor: Nathan Sayre, Geography

Rebecca grew up in a small town and watched the rural drug scourge destroy the young lives in her community. Now, she is using her Berkeley education to understand this phenomenon. This summer she will be traveling to rural Tuolumne County, California to do ethnographic fieldwork exploring how community attachment impacts rural youth opioid abuse. To explore this, she will be conducting a series of in-depth interviews; she will be interviewing recovering opioid addicts and public service officials. Her goal is to gain a deep understanding about why the young use drugs—particularly opioids—at such pervasive rates in small towns. She hopes to use this information for theory development and to continue building on this project in graduate school. She is committed to advocating for rural communities.