By: Admin_Mike23 Oct 2012
There are many differences between city dwellers and their country counterparts, from type of employment to entertainment choices. According to a new report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), people who live in rural settings are more likely to seek treatment for different patterns of substance abuse when compared to city dwellers. In rural areas, those seeking treatment are most likely to have problems with alcohol and non-heroin opiates like OxyContin, while urban populations are more likely to seek treatment for addiction to heroin and cocaine.
The Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) is based on 2009 data related to admissions to substance abuse programs. The study also found that rural residents are slightly more likely to be referred for treatment for marijuana abuse (20.9% in rural settings vs. 17% in urban settings).
Opiates Popular in Both Areas - In Pill or Heroin Form
Despite the fact the methamphetamine abuse is often perceived as a rural problem, the report shows that urban dwellers seek treatment for meth addiction at the same rate as people who live outside of cities.
Dr. H. Wesley Clark, director of SAMHSA's Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, theorized that the higher rates of prescription opiate and alcohol abuse in rural areas reflect the fact the illegal drugs may be less accessible than they are in cities. There also may be fewer stigmas involved with the abuse of legal substances. The study also found that 67% of rural dwellers who were treated for opiate abuse obtained opiate prescription drugs from friends and family members who had prescriptions.
The report also shows that there are significantly different referral patterns between rural and urban areas. Rural substances abusers were more likely to be referred for treatment by the criminal-justice system. In urban areas, the rate of self-referral or referral by family or friends was higher. This means that people living in cities were more likely to seek help before their dependence or addiction put them in court.
The gender distribution for treatment admissions in rural and urban areas was similar. In both types of areas, males accounted for over two thirds of admissions. There were, however, racial differences. In rural areas, where 77% of admissions were non-Hispanic whites. In urban areas, admissions were more closely divided between non-Hispanic whites (38%), non-Hispanic blacks (34%) and Hispanics (23%). These figures indicate that treatment in urban settings must address cultural differences due to greater variations in race and ethnicity.
The information from the TEDS report is useful in the prevention and treatment of substance abuse. Policy makers and treatment experts with limited resources can be more effective in targeting substance abuse in local communities when they have a better understanding of local abuse trends. However, the TEDS data represents general trends only. The rate of alcohol abuse is still significant among urban dwellers.
One of the report's main conclusions is that there is a great demand for drug addiction and alcoholism treatment in both urban and rural areas. “There is a real need in this country for substance abuse prevention and treatment in both rural and urban areas," according to SAMHSA director Pamela S. Hyde. "This report underscores that need.”