David Showalter is a doctoral candidate in Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley. Their research addresses topics at the intersection of health, law, and politics, particularly drug use and drug policy, and has been published in International Journal of Drug Policy, Theory & Society, Mobilization, and elsewhere.
David’s dissertation, Going Nowhere: Life with Opioids in Backcountry California, is a multisite ethnographic study of opioid use and opioid-related services in several remote counties. The ongoing overdose crisis has affected communities across the United States, from the largest cities to the most rural areas, but research on opioids has typically focused on urban populations. David uses in-depth interviews and participant-observation fieldwork with people who use drugs, service providers, and local officials to reveal how geographic isolation, scarce resources, and tight-knit social networks in small towns shape drug use and efforts to address its consequences. By combining immersive fieldwork with rigorous social theory, David offers unique insights on the links between place, politics, health, and wellbeing in nonurban settings.
Originally from Oklahoma, David holds a master’s degree in Sociology from UC Berkeley and a bachelor’s degree in Tutorial Studies from the University of Chicago. In addition to their academic work, David serves as President of the Board of Directors for NEED, a harm reduction organization based in Berkeley.