Sociology ETDs

Publication Date

Winter 11-15-2021


Opioid addiction is a serious and persistent global health issue. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that between 1999 and 2016, more than 630,000 people in the United States died of an overdose of a prescription opioid or illicit drug (CDC 2018). Extant research has suggested that for nearly a century, New Mexico has experienced some of the highest rates of prescription and illicit opioid death in the nation (Goldstein and Herrera, 1995; Landon, 2003; Shah et al., 2008). I examined intergenerational opioid dependence through the lived experience of women caregivers of opioid-addicted family members. Data for this project were qualitative and consisted of 34 in-depth interviews and participant observation. This study contextualized the racialized, gendered, and classed social geography of the opioid crisis experienced by Native American, Latina, and white women in rural New Mexico. Findings provide insight into the impact of overlapping structural inequalities—settler colonialism, racial capitalism, patriarchy, centuries of poverty—that have fueled intergenerational opioid addiction.

Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name


First Committee Member (Chair)

Dr. Nancy Lopez

Second Committee Member

Dr. Kristin Barker

Third Committee Member

Dr. Jessica Goodkind

Fourth Committee Member

Dr. Alevardo Valdez


Intersectionality, Caregiving, Women, Health, Addiction, opioid dependence



Document Type