Rural Communities See a Higher Rate of Substance Abuse
The Journal of Rural Health reports that adolescents who reside in rural communities are much more likely to engage in illicit drug use than adolescents living in large or small cities.
The authors on the study gathered data from the 2011 and 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. The study participants included over 32,000 adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17. The data showed that the adolescents living in rural communities were 35 percent more likely to use painkillers than adolescents living in large cities. Adolescents living in small cities were also more at risk, having a 21 percent greater chance as abusing the drugs. The drugs most often reported are OxyCodone, OxyContin, Percocet and Morphine based drugs.
Why are the adolescents in rural communities at such high risk? According to the study, this is because of many things. Most rural communities have a shortage of primary care physicians, so when the adolescents get sick they are headed to the Emergency Room where they are often handed prescriptions for painkillers. These communities also are less educated on the subject of drug abuse and therefore do not always realize the risks and possibility of addiction. The adolescents don’t know what the drugs could do, and the parents don’t know the signs of addiction.
Educating these types of communities on drug abuse is important in order to reduce these statistics.