The contributors to our book provide powerful examples of how ordinary people have stepped up in a time of need. They make clear that, to meet the challenges of the opioid crisis, many Ohioans have embraced a different role than the one in which they had been trained. Bills have been passed, treatment facilities and safe houses built, and communities strengthened. The larger question for the long-term health of our state, however--if we are to come out of this historical moment stronger and more humane--will be answered only by our willingness to change how we think. Such a transformation requires wrestling with some protracted and entrenched questions.
Conversations addressing assumptions consider the toxicity of stigma, racism, and unacknowledged privilege in how we think about addiction. They must help us understand how the rise of addiction and overdose in certain regions have been used--inadvertently or not--to stereotype rural Ohioans. The conversations arising in this section should challenge us to reconsider how we think about ourselves, our neighbors, and our fellow Ohioans--no matter how different our backgrounds may be.