Introduction - this is the introdution to a research report about substance abuse in rural communities, from our friends at the Carsey Instititute
(see full report at the link under the title of this post)
The media warn us about a “meth crisis” in rural America, and discouraging headlines are commonplace. As journalist and author Alan Elsner (2005) reports, the relative isolation and quiet lifestyle in rural areas and small towns provide ideal opportunities for drug activity and methamphetamine production. His interview with a member of Franklin County Sheriff’s Department in Missouri — a state particularly hard hit by an influx of meth makers, dealers, and users — highlights some of the unique characteristics of the meth trade.
It’s the first drug in the history of the United States we can make, distribute, sell, and take, all here in the Midwest. You can’t grow a coca plantation or an opium plantation here to get your heroin or cocaine, and marijuana takes four or five months to grow a good plant. With methamphetamine, you can go out and for a couple hundred dollars, you can make your drugs that day.
Wyoming Governor Dave Freudenthal expressed his frustrations at a statewide conference on fighting the meth problem: "It doesn’t matter where we go in the state, methamphetamine is there. The whole issue is eating us alive."
Despite dramatic and frightening statements like these, there has been only limited scholarly research about meth or other substance abuse among rural people nationwide. In this report, you will see that rural America does face some unique challenges with meth; yet only a very small proportion of rural Americans abuse methamphetamines. More troubling crises involve the high prevalence of the abuse of alcohol, especially among rural teenagers, and the limited number of treatment options for rural Americans who need help.
This report draws on existing knowledge and uses data from a nationally representative data source to understand patterns of substance abuse in rural America. In the background section, it defines terms, reviews previous studies, and presents findings about recent trends in substance abuse in rural and urban areas. Next, it looks at patterns of substance abuse for people of different ages, sexes, and races. It also considers patterns of substance abuse for people with different levels of education, income, and employment status. Findings about rural family and community contexts are also presented. The report concludes with a summary of the major findings and a discussion of policy implications. First, the report begins with a story of a place faced with tremendous substance abuse problems that is finding ways to overcome theses challenges.
see full report at http://www.carseyinstitute.unh.edu
post a question or comment here or contact John Crabtree, firstname.lastname@example.org
Center for Rural Affairs
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