Rural Areas of the United States Struggle with Substance Abuse

Rural Areas of the United States Struggle with Substance Abuse

Many individuals think that substance abuse is only a problem in larger cities in the United States. If you are one of these individuals, you are wrong about that. Substance abuse in rural areas of the US is reaching epidemic proportions. In rural areas, tobacco use, alcohol abuse, and stimulant abuse run very high. Prescription drug abuse and heroin abuse are growing concerns in cities and rural areas.

Factors Contributing to Substance Abuse in Rural Areas

Individuals living in rural areas of the country struggle with more physical and social health consequences than people living in other areas. Residents of rural areas are at higher risks of death from accidental overdoses or from suicide. Rural residents also tend to weigh more and smoke more. All of this points toward more risky behavior among individuals living in these areas of the country.

Some of the factors contributing to substance abuse in rural areas include:

  • Poverty
  • Lower education levels
  • Unemployment
  • Isolation
  • High-risk behaviours
  • Boredom

The majority of individuals living in these rural areas do not have medical insurance coverage which means they have less availability to good healthcare. No wonder they have shorter lifespans.

Substance Abuse in Rural Areas Brings More Challenges

Substance abuse in rural areas brings many challenges to its residents. First responders may all be volunteer emergency workers with only the basic training in drug overdoses or alcohol poisoning. Services such as detoxification for alcohol or drugs and addiction treatment facilities may be miles away from these areas.

Other Problems for rural areas may include:

  • DUI (Driving under the Influence) accidents
  • Increased crime and violence
  • Homelessness
  • Infectious diseases being spread
  • Unemployment

People living in smaller towns may be more reluctant to ask for help for an addiction to drugs or alcohol. Smaller towns tend to have the problem of everyone knowing everyone else’s business affairs. Because of privacy matters, someone may not ask for the help that they need. By not getting the help needed, it will only lead to more problems with substance abuse.

Overdose Deaths in Rural Areas of the US

Overdose deaths in rural areas of the US today are higher than they are in urban areas of the country. Most of these fatal overdoses are linked to opioids. If only rural areas had access to drugs like methadone and buprenorphine to aid in the treatment of opioid addictions, these numbers would not be so high.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), most overdoses in rural areas of the United States occur in the homes of the individuals who experience the overdose. If the individual is not alone in their home, chances are that any family members that may be around don’t know the signs and symptoms of an opioid overdose.

Signs of an opioid overdose may include but are not limited to:

  • You can’t awaken the person or they are not able to speak
  • Limp body
  • The face is very pale and may feel very clammy
  • Purple-colouring in nails and around the mouth
  • Breathing and heart rate very slow or stopped
  • The person is vomiting or making gurgling noises

Recognizing these signs is essential to saving a person’s life. Call 911 immediately! Administer CPR if necessary until medical help arrives.

Seek Help for Opioid Addiction

If you are struggling with an addiction to opioids or any other substance, don’t hesitate to contact an inpatient addiction rehabilitation facility. No matter if you are in a rural or urban area, there are inpatient centers that can give you the help you need and so deserve. Don’t let location determine if you recover from addiction.

Contact one of our representatives at Best Drug Rehabilitation to learn about a treatment program that will work for your needs and preferences. They can answer any questions you may have about a program that will fit your individual needs. Contact us today.



Resources: – Substance Abuse in Rural Areas – CDC Reports Rising Rates of Drug Overdose Deaths in Rural Areas – Opioid Overdose



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By Best Drug Rehabilitation

Providing information and education about substance abuse is a huge factor in beating addiction once and for all. This won’t be an easy battle, but we are prepared to fight it, and we have been fighting it for years now.