First Advisor

Dr. Jerry Yocom


College of Contemporary Liberal Studies

Degree Name

MS Criminology

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Number of Pages

39 pages


Drug abuse is an ever-growing problem in the United States and in other parts of the world. The Appalachian region is one of the areas hit hardest by this epidemic. Since 2000, the number of overdose deaths in Appalachia has steadily risen while state and city governments analyze the potential causes for such a widespread issue. Many economic and medical explanations have been suggested, but it is also imperative to examine the cultural belief systems that might play a role in the persistent drug use. This study looks at the influence traditional Appalachian gender roles have on female drug users. Limited research has been done on drug abuse for women in conjunction with gendered societal pressures. The data presented here indicates that many gender expectations are prevalent parts of the female experience in Appalachia. The regional belief systems seem to pressure women in their personal relationships, in the workplace, and in their roles as mothers. Additionally, female drugs users in Appalachia proved to be particularly affected by these gender expectations, and data indicates that many gendered pressures contribute to initial and prolonged drug use.

Date of Award

Winter 2019

Location (Creation)

Colorado (state); Denver (county); Denver (inhabited place)

Rights Statement

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