Skip to main content
Down on Main Street: Drugs and the Small-Town Vortex
Health & Place
  • Paul J. Draus
  • Robert G. Carlson, Wright State University - Main Campus
Document Type
Publication Date
Ethnographic research on social networks—especially that which focuses on rural or small-town drug use—is relatively rare. Drawing on qualitative interviews and focus groups conducted with illicit drug users residing in three counties in west central Ohio, this article examines perceptions of small-town life and the influence of local social networks on drug-using practices. Since chronic drug use is often driven by associations with other users, the combination of small social circles, a limited scope of acquaintances and economic opportunities, inadequate drug treatment, and abundant drug supplies can create a “vortex” effect and magnify drug use in small towns.

This article was republished in Mapping the Social Landscape: Readings in Sociology by Susan J. Ferguson. Information can be found at

Citation Information
Paul J. Draus and Robert G. Carlson. "Down on Main Street: Drugs and the Small-Town Vortex" Health & Place Vol. 15 Iss. 1 (2009) p. 247 - 254 ISSN: 13538292
Available at: