Heroin mismatch in the Motor city: Addiction, segregation, and the geography of opportunity

Paul Draus, Juliette Roddy, Mark Greenwald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


In this article, the authors used data from economic and ethnographic interviews with heroin users from Detroit, Michigan, as well as other sources, to illustrate the relationship between heroin users mobility patterns and urban and suburban environments, especially in terms of drug acquisition and the geography of opportunity. The authors found that although geographic location and social networks associated with segregation provided central city residents and African Americans with a strategic advantage over White suburbanites in locating and purchasing heroin easily and efficiently, this same segregation effectively focuses the negative externalities of heroin markets in central city neighborhoods. Finally, the authors consider how the heroin trade reflects and reproduces the segregated post-industrial landscape and discuss directions for future research about the relationship between ethnic and economic ghettos and regional drug markets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-173
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Ethnicity in Substance Abuse
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • economic
  • ethnography
  • geography
  • heroin
  • mobility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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