Recovery in the US ‘Opioid Crisis’


  • Allison V. Schlosser Case Western Reserve University



In this essay, I draw on in-depth ethnographic research conducted in and around Sunrise, a treatment center located in a US state that has been characterized as the ‘overdose capital of America,’ from 2014 to 2015. Inspired by E. Summerson Carr’s call to question the work of ‘crisis,’ I explore the meanings, experiences, and stakes of recovery for Sunrise residents in the context of the ‘crisis.’ The urgency to intervene in the ‘opioid crisis,’ I will argue, intensifies the stakes and dilemmas of treatment for individuals, who are attempting to recover the ‘right’ way under the threat of death. This urgency exacerbates tensions between co-existing, and often contradictory, biomedical and 12 Step models of recovery rooted in disparate ways of framing the role of medications and relapse in recovery.

Author Biography

Allison V. Schlosser, Case Western Reserve University

Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Postdoctoral Fellow

Case Western Reserve University, School of Medicine, Department of Bioethics