Substance Misuse in Rural Communities

If you live in a small rural community, you know that these areas are not immune to substance misuse and addiction. In fact, adults from rural areas in the United States have higher rates of prescription drug and heroin addiction along with more methamphetamine misuse. They use tobacco and alcohol more than individuals in urban areas of the United States. It is time to realize that substance misuse in rural communities may be getting worse today.

Factors Contributing to Substance Misuse in Rural Communities

There are many advantages to living in “Small-town America.”  For instance, there is a strong sense of community in addition to a lower cost of living. Most people know their neighbors and consider them friends. There is less traffic, hence, fresher air. However, with these advantages comes many disadvantages.

Many rural areas are low-income communities where people cannot afford proper healthcare or health insurance. Unemployment rates are high which contributes to substance misuse in rural communities.

Other factors that contribute to substance misuse in these areas include:

  • Poverty
  • Lower educational development
  • Isolation
  • High-risk behaviors
  • Boredom among teens and young adults

Another disadvantage of living in rural areas is that there is not much entertainment nearby for teens and young adults. I many cases, they have to drive a long distance to find activities such as sports or even a movie theatre. Therefore, boredom is one of the reasons that substance misuse in rural communities is so high among young adults.

Alcohol Use in Rural Communities

Many health issues that rural area residents experience come from alcohol misuse. Alcohol use is increasing in rural areas of the US. This includes binge drinking and underage drinking. Much of the underage drinking comes from the boredom of teenagers in these areas. A lack of transportation also results in many individuals driving while intoxicated.

Alcohol is very easy for teens to obtain in rural areas. In many cases, it is readily available in their homes in parents’ bars and refrigerators. These teens drive drunk more often and have DUIs and even fatal accidents more often than teens in urban areas. Teens participate in binge drinking in groups often. In fact, these teens grow into young adults with drinking disorders and even addiction.

The Stigma of Substance Misuse in Rural Communities

In many small communities of the United States, almost everybody knows everybody or their families at least. Therefore, many times individuals try to hide the fact that they have a problem with substance abuse. Members of families don’t talk about the fact that a loved one is struggling with substance abuse. Professionals in rural areas are working to reduce the stigma associated with substance abuse so these individuals will reach out for help through treatment for substance abuse and addiction.

Many individuals today, including professionals, look at substance abuse or addiction as a sign of weakness and something that individuals bring on themselves. This is an illness that needs and deserves medical attention. In many cases, especially in rural areas, a person who is withdrawing from drugs or alcohol is turned away and not treated. The staff in the emergency department assumes that they are only looking for more drugs, not help. This practice by emergency care individuals only leads to more addiction and people who no longer seek treatment for their problem.

Seek Treatment for Substance Misuse or Addiction

Substance misuse in rural communities is a growing problem If you or a loved one are struggling with alcohol or drug misuse, seek treatment from a reputable addiction treatment facility. New Beginnings Drug Rehab has representatives and a counseling staff that can help you choose a program that will fit your needs. Contact us today.

One of our informed representatives can answer any questions you may have about a treatment program and payment plans that will fit your needs and preferences. Don’t let the stigma of addiction prevent you from living the life that you so deserve. You can return to a sober and productive life. Make that call now.


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