College of Science and Health Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

Spring 6-8-2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Leonard A. Jason, PhD

Second Advisor

LaVome Robinson, PhD

Third Advisor

Joseph Mikels, PhD


Drug use and recovery have received considerable attention from social scientists over the past few decades. However, many studies involving heroin use continue to focus on person-centered risk factors surrounding use and, to a lesser extent, recovery processes. There is a need to further develop and use theories that focus on contextual approaches that include opportunity structures and behavioral economic factors. In this article, two classic criminological theories (Differential Opportunity and Subcultural) are reviewed as well as the more recent Social Resource theory (SRT). Differential Opportunity theory focuses on the fact that those involved in illegitimate means of opportunity require a set of learned skills as do those involved in legitimate means. Subcultural theories suggest that deviance is the result of individuals conforming to the values and norms of a social group to which they belong. SRT focuses on the resources embedded within a social network. These theories have helped better understand the microeconomic behaviors of heroin users, and those recovering from heroin addiction. This article provides a review of the application of these theories for researching heroin use and recovery.

SLP Collection