Opioid addiction and overdose are widely recognized as a contemporary "crisis" across the United States. To address rapidly increasing mortality rates related to this substance use epidemic, the Philadelphia Mayor's Office announced in January 2018 that it would encourage the development of supervised injection sites or "Comprehensive User Engagement Sites" within city limits. Official communications cited select moments from the region's past to frame these sites as urgent while constituting a supportive, unified public. Through remediating disidentification, a mode of rhetorical contestation and reformulation, local community members used an alternate historical framing to resist dominant ideology and revise the terms of the related public discourse. By further developing the concept of rhetorical disidentification, this essay demonstrates how the deployment of historical analogy in response to proposed public health interventions can enable the public recognition and potential address of systemic racial inequities.


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pp. 533-568
Launched on MUSE
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