Book Cover

Not Far from Me

Stories of Opioids and Ohio

Edited by Daniel Skinner and Berkeley Franz
Foreword by Ted Strickland

312 pp., 7 x 10
10 b&w illustrations
15 color illustrations
Pub Date: June, 2019

Subjects: Ohio

Imprint: Trillium

Order Paperback $14.95  Sale price $11.96 with US free shipping
ISBN: 978-0-8142-5538-4
Order PDF ebook$14.95   ISBN: 978-0-8142-7701-0

Winner of the 2019 Schwartz Prize for outstanding work in the public humanities from the Federation of State Humanities Councils

“There’s not a community in our state that hasn’t been affected by opioid addiction, and it’s so important to hear the voices of the families who are being torn apart. Their stories are a powerful call to action for us to work together to fight this public health crisis.” —Senator Sherrod Brown

“This important collection of responses to Ohio’s opioid crisis takes us through the grief-work of teachers, poets, coaches, clergy, families, physicians, and the addicted, showing us, on their own terms, what it is like to live in a burdened place. The consequences of the moral lapses of the pharmaceutical industry, policies that criminalize drug users, and politics that determine who should or should not be saved are seen here not through statistics but as forces that have shaped living communities and people who deserve a better world. These responses are a necessary antidote to the dehumanizing lens that has settled on our conversations about addiction and recovery.” —Elizabeth Catte, author of What You Are Getting Wrong About Appalachia

“As a journalist and storyteller, I’m convinced that only through stories of real people will the stigma surrounding addiction fade—which is what makes projects like Not Far from Me: Stories of Opioids and Ohio so important and worth reading. We hear from them all: doctors, addicts, poets, mothers, librarians, nurses, pastors, inmates, and football coaches. Even though the stories in this volume are about one state, and only a few people from that state, together they tell one of the crucial stories of America today.” —Sam Quinones, author of Dreamland

“As I’ve traveled throughout Ohio, I’ve heard many personal stories of opioid addiction similar to those in Not Far from Me: Stories of Opioids and Ohio. These powerful stories will increase awareness, reduce the stigma, and help us better understand the complex issue of addiction so we can turn the tide of this epidemic and save lives.” —Senator Rob Portman

“So much has been written, so much news reported, so many hands have been wrung in response to Ohio’s—and the nation’s—collective dope sickness. Too often, though, the voices of those affected have been lost in the din. Not Far from Me helps redress this loss by allowing Buckeyes to tell their own stories in their own ways. I loved hearing those voices in all their tear-inducing, maddening, uplifting, defiant bravery.” —Brian Alexander, author of Glass House: The 1% Economy and the Shattering of the All-American Town

“Every Ohioan should read Not Far from Me. Statistics might help us cope objectively with the opioid crisis, but numbers make it too easy to forget that people are suffering. To heal and be healthy, we need the empathy and insight that literature can provide. Written by addicts, families, first responders, and civic leaders, Not Far from Me captures the human story of addiction and the ways in which communities are struggling to find hope and preserve lives.” —Pat Williamsen, Executive Director, Ohio Humanities

More and more Americans find themselves in some way touched by the opioid epidemic. But while many have observed the effects of the crisis, Not Far from Me: Stories of Opioids and Ohio is the first book on this public health emergency composed entirely of first-person accounts. The collection unfolds across fifty gripping accounts by Ohioans at the center of the national epidemic. Shared through personal stories, poetry, interviews, and photos, these perspectives transcend typical one-dimensional portrayals of the crisis to offer a mosaic of how politics, religion, sports, economics, culture, race, and sexual orientation intersect in and around the epidemic.

Themes of pain and healing, despair and hope are woven throughout accounts of families who have lost loved ones to addiction, stories of survival, and experiences of working on the front lines in communities. In an attempt to give every voice the chance to be heard, Not Far from Me features contributors from across the state as they engage with the pain of opioid abuse and overdose, as well as the hope that personal- and community-level transformation brings. Ultimately, Not Far from Me humanizes the battle against addiction, challenges the stigma surrounding drug users, and unflinchingly faces the reality of the American opioid epidemic.

Daniel Skinner, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Health Policy in the Department of Social Medicine at Ohio University, Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine in Dublin, Ohio.

Berkeley Franz, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Community-Based Health in the Department of Social Medicine at Ohio University, Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine in Athens, Ohio.


Former Governor of Ohio Ted Strickland

Daniel Skinner and Berkeley Franz

Part One: Establishing Place

1    Ode to the Corner of the Drug House Down the Gravel Road Off the Two-Lane Highway #29
Darren C. Demaree (Columbus)

2    Reflections of a Recovery Writer
Annie Highwater (Grove City)

3    A Place for “Total Recovery”
Members of Toledo Restoration Church (Toledo)

4    Building Community in the B. Riley Sober House
Rafael “Tony” Correa (Cleveland)

5    Walking Past Abandoned Houses, I Think of Eric
Barbara Costas-Biggs (Portsmouth)

6    How Are the Children?
Joy Edgell (Belpre)

7    A Haven from Human Trafficking and Addiction
Jeff Barrows (Zanesfield)

8    A New Home
Mary Lynn St. Lawrence (Athens)

9    Collaboration in Middletown
Travis Bautz (Middletown)

10    Defiance, Ohio Is the Name of a Band
Hanif Abdurraqib (Columbus)

11    A Heartache Not My Own
Caitlin Seida (The Plains)

Part Two: Processing Loss

12    What Addiction Gave Me
Tony Anders (Upper Arlington)

13    The Stories Make It Real: A Mayor in the Heart of the Opioid Epidemic
Nan Whaley (Dayton)

14    Jane’s Story
Kerri Mongenel (Ashtabula)

15    A Coach’s Regrets
Matt Dennison (New Philadelphia)

16    An Individual’s Addiction, A Family’s Loss
AJ, Jenna, Sherie, and Alan Steinberger (Highland Heights)

17    The Pain of Wanting to Help

18    My Reality at the Bedside
Hank Rossiter (Kidron)

19    What Happens Under the Overpass
Neil Carpathios (Portsmouth)

20    Community and Vulnerability
Brian Schweitzer (Columbus)

21    Remaking a Family
Chris, Estella, and Tyler Ferrell (Minford)

22    Dear Travis
Vicki Scharbach (Olmsted Falls)

23    Despair
Gerald E. Greene (Dayton)

Part Three: Making Sense

24    A Predictable and Utterly Preventable Catastrophe
Michael Henson (Cincinnati)

25    Standing Proud
Eric Ungaro (Poland)

26    Uncle Sugar
Anisi Daniels-Smith (Hiram)

27    Potential Energy
April Deacon (Wheelersburg)

28    The Road to Recovery
Alex Driehaus (Cincinnati)

29    From Felon to Law Enforcement: A Retrospective
Brandy E. Morris-Hafner (Chillicothe)

30    A Little Too Close to Home
Keith F. Durkin (Ada)

31    Deluded
Marty Helms (Cincinnati)

32    Opioid Encounters: Fragments from Training and Practice
Jenny Zamor (Columbus)

33    An Awakening
Joe Gay (Athens)

Part Four: Devising Solutions

34    This Is Not the Medicine I Want to Practice: One Physician’s Journey to Heal, Not Harm
Katy Kropf (Athens)

35    Problem-Solving in Colerain Township
Daniel Meloy (Cincinnati)

36    The Buck Fifty
Dave Huggins, Chris Scott, and Angie Ferguson (Chillicothe)

37    Plans after Prison
Jonathan Becker (Akron)

38    Avoiding the Abyss
Sharon Parsons (Bexley)

39    All the Narcan in the World
David Keseg (Columbus)

40    Pause for Change
Nancy Pook (Dayton)

41    Reconnecting through Rhythm: A Symphony and Recovery
Warren W. Hyer (Delaware)

42    Rural Challenges, Rural Solutions
Steven Martin, Amy Fanous, and Katie Westgerdes (Ada)

43    A Way Forward for Moms and Babies
Richard Massatti (Columbus)

44    From the Front Pages to the Front Lines
Darren Adams (Portsmouth)

Part Five: Challenging Assumptions

45    A Good Family
Christine Hunt (Russells Point)

46    Feral
Jessica Harper and Sarah Benedum (Madison)

47    Recovery Should Be Celebrated, Not Judged
Lacey Whitlatch (Athens)

48    Serve and Protect
Dennis Whaley (Toledo)

49    What Do Libraries Do?
Nick Tepe (Athens)

50    Confronting Stigma in Portsmouth
Traci Molloy

51    Everybody Played Along
Anonymous (Columbus)

52    The Making of a Public Health Emergency
Yvonka Marie Hall (Cleveland)

53    The Addict, a Human Being
Stephanie Kendrick (Albany)


Glossary of Drugs

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