Danielle Dicken

The Opioid Epidemic in Black Communities

Danielle Dicken is a social worker with over a decade of experience providing services to Kentucky’s most vulnerable populations. She received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Louisville and her Master’s degree from Spalding University. She is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Social Work from the University of Kentucky with a prospective graduation date of May 5, 2023.

Danielle is experienced in numerous areas, having been a social worker in various settings, including child welfare, skilled nursing, addiction, and psychiatric and acute care hospitals. She has found her passion in working with adults diagnosed with substance use disorders. Working in an addiction clinic, she has seen firsthand the devastation of the opioid epidemic. She has worked to minimize barriers to treatment, including medication for opioid use disorder (MOUD). She co-authored Medication for Opioid Use Disorder in Rural America: A Review of the Literature, published in the Journal of Rural Mental Health. An integral theme in her work has been addressing the stigma of addiction and its dire impact, with a particular focus on the use of stigmatizing language.

In her doctoral capstone project, Danielle seeks to bring attention to the opioid crisis in communities of color, an issue long overlooked. With special attention to Black communities, she provides recommendations for immediate interventions to curtail the rising number of fatal opioid overdoses. In the future, Danielle hopes to address implicit bias and drug policies that continue to negatively impact Black and other communities of color.