Doug Naselroad works on a dulcimer.
(Photo from Appalachian School of Luthiery)
"With the opioid epidemic spreading across the country, programs are coming up with unique ways to help recovering addicts. One program in Kentucky is using Appalachian music and culture to heal," Tomas Hoppough reports for Scripps Media.

Every week at the Appalachian School of Luthiery in Hindman, Doug Naselroad teaches students of all ages how to make traditional stringed instruments like banjos, mountain dulcimers, guitars and more. Some of those students come from a nearby drug rehabilitation center.

Naselroad believes that teaching a hands-on craft like luthiery can give people a purpose and help subvert the despair that often leads to opioid abuse. Opioid abuse "has to do with filling your hands with the wrong thing because the right thing hasn’t come along yet for you to do," he told Hoppough. "We offer these individuals a way to focus on something other than their drug problem."

Hindman, in Knott County. (Wikipedia map)
Recovering opioid addict Jeremy Henne agrees. He told Hoppough that he became addicted after a doctor prescribed him opioids for back pain. Learning luthiery "really gave me a sense of direction, a sense of purpose," he said.

Naselroad said he also hopes that learning luthiery will help recovering addicts to appreciate traditional local culture more and inspire a sense of pride in being Appalachian. "There’s a lot that’s precious and excellent about Appalachian culture and we need people to understand that’s what we’re working toward," he told Hoppough.