Comparing the coverage of three recent drug epidemics, the author argues that representations of drug users and producers indicate crises regarding the location of power. Crack in the 1980s and 1990s was seen to exist among users run amok in abandoned inner cities; methamphetamine in the 1990s and 2000s was represented as related to rural producers out of control; and the recent opioid epidemic appears to be ubiquitous and nearly unrepresentable. This article suggests considering drug epidemics from perspectives that eschew representation and that investigate affective and practical realities of emplacement.

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