Addiction Helpline and Resource Center

Reasons for High Rural Drug Use Rates

Reasons for High Rural Drug Use RatesDrug and alcohol use has always been considered an inner- or big-city problem, but research has shown that drug abuse rates are generally the same across rural towns, mid-sized urban cities, and large metropolitan areas. Moreover, the rates of drug abuse among teens and young adults are higher in rural areas than in urban centers.

Risk Factors for Drug Use in Rural Areas

General risk factors for drug abuse, like peer pressure, family history of drug abuse or addiction, poor physical or mental health, stress, rejection, loneliness and family and environmental factors apply to people in all demographic and geographic regions, but there are specific reasons that contribute to high rural drug use rates. High drug use rates in rural communities are thought to be partially caused by unemployment, underemployment, poverty and isolation. Economic downturns, farm failure and U.S. national debt have significantly impacted those living in rural communities since farming and agriculture make up the large majority of these areas’ economies. This has contributed to unemployment, underemployment, poverty, substandard housing and lower educational achievement. These factors create a stressful environment and increase the risk for negative behaviors, such as problem drinking and drug abuse.

Drug Treatment and Recovery Challenges in Rural Communities

Furthermore, research has shown that while rural areas have relatively similar rates of drug use to urban and metropolitan areas, rural communities are lagging behind in drug abuse awareness, education, prevention, and treatment efforts. Rural communities have different needs and different barriers regarding drug addiction prevention and treatment than larger, more metropolitan communities.

So while drug abuse is just as prevalent in rural communities as in larger cities, there are fewer resources available to get help. Individuals in rural communities are less likely to hear about the dangers of drinking and drug abuse, less likely to recognize the symptoms of a drug abuse problem or addiction and less likely to find resources and services for help, if they were even willing to ask for it. If drug abuse and problem drinking occurs in the home, children are influenced by this behavior and children in rural communities are given little education on the dangers of drug abuse. The lack of education, treatment and resources in rural communities has greatly contributed to the high drug use rates. In addition, individuals in rural communities rarely seek drug abuse or addiction treatment voluntarily; in most instances an individual is ordered by the court to enter a treatment facility. Even individuals who get treated for substance abuse or addiction are susceptible to relapse because of the lack of aftercare and programs to assist them with recovery back home.

Finding Drug Abuse and Addiction Help in Rural Areas

There is help available for all individuals struggling with drug abuse or addiction, no matter how big or small their town is, or where it is located. There are even specialized treatment options for individuals from rural or other specific communities. To find drug abuse or addiction help, call our toll-free number. Our addiction counselors are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to assist you with all of your questions, concerns and needed information. We have connections to the top-rated treatment and recovery services and other resources across the nation. We can certainly find you the help you need to overcome your battle with drug abuse or addiction for good.

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