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Five Differences between Rural and Urban Drug Abuse

Five Differences between Rural and Urban Drug Abuse

People in rural areas may have a very different experience with drug abuse than those in urban communities.

As a society, we tend to explore drug abuse and addiction on a personal basis. We analyze each person’s individual characteristics and habits that contribute to the cycle of drug abuse. However, there are usually external factors present in addition to these personal factors. A person’s location, for example, can have a strong influence on his or her drug abuse. Rural and urban drug abuse can vary greatly in demographics, drugs used, frequency of use, treatment referral and available treatment options. Des Moines communities should consider how their location might affect their drug use and abuse rates and how they can best help educate their loved ones with this information.

Demographics

One of the greatest differences between rural and urban drug abuse is the demographics of those using the drugs. In 2009, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) released the Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) report that outlines these differences. According to this report, 77.1% of rural treatment admissions were non-Hispanic whites, a much greater percentage than the 38.1% of urban admissions. Urban admissions had a greater percentage of Hispanic and non-Hispanic black admissions than in rural areas. Rural admissions were also more likely than urban admissions to report full-time employment status. Lastly, rural admissions were more likely to begin using their primary substance at a younger age than urban admissions.

Drugs Used

The type of area a person lives in can also impact the types of substances that are used. According to SAMHSA’s 2009 TEDS report, the primary substance abused by both rural and urban individuals at the time of treatment admission was alcohol. However, rural admissions were more likely than urban admissions to report marijuana or non-heroin opiates as their primary substance of abuse. Urban admissions, on the other hand, were more likely to report cocaine or heroin as their primary substance of abuse.

Frequency of Drug Use

In addition to the differences in substances used by rural and urban drug abusers, the frequency of use may also vary between locations. SAMHSA’s 2009 TEDS report states that 43.1% of urban treatment admissions disclosed using their primary substance daily. This is a much higher percentage than the 23.5% of rural admissions who reported daily substance abuse. Rural admissions were much more likely than urban admissions to report no use of their primary drug in the month prior to treatment, however.

Treatment Referral

Another key difference between rural and urban drug abuse is in the ways drug users are referred to treatment. According to SAMHSA’s 2009 TEDS report, nearly 51.6% of rural admissions were referred to treatment through the criminal justice system. Urban substance abusers, on the other hand, were most likely to be self-referred to treatment, with nearly 38.7% of admissions occurring in this way.

Available Treatment Options

The area a person lives might also impact the types of drug treatment available to him or her. For example, those living in the urban city of Des Moines may have more nearby treatment options than someone living in a more rural area of Iowa. While rehab facilities are often abundant in urban locations, those in rural areas may need to travel for treatment.

Get Help for Drug Addiction

Drug abuse and addiction can affect any person, regardless of location. If you or a loved one has become addicted to drugs, recovery is possible. Please call our toll-free helpline today. Our admissions coordinators are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you might have about treatment for drug abuse and addiction.