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What is the Difference of Substance Abuse in Cities vs Rural Areas?

Research indicates that over 23 million Americans have suffered from substance abuse and that 10% of the U.S. population will struggle with addiction at some point.

While there are stereotypes that suggest that drug and alcohol abuse are primarily inner-city problems, that is far from true.

At one point, drugs like heroin and cocaine were hard to find in rural areas. Economic factors such as unemployment, systemic poverty, isolation, and lack of access to mental health services have resulted in increased drug use, even in small towns.

In fact, tobacco, methamphetamine, opioids, and alcohol use are common in smaller communities, while crack usage is comparable.

Thankfully, however, as drug abuse continues to rise in rural communities, there are recovery centers, such as BriteLife Recovery, offer a beautiful location to meet drug rehab and recovery needs close to home.

Effects of Substance Abuse in Cities vs. Rural Areas

Even though alcohol and drug use can be found in urban and rural areas, that does not mean these addictions don’t have different characteristics.

There is a strong link between mental health issues and substance abuse that can be found across populations and demographics.

But the drugs to which these individuals have access and their means for recovery can vary significantly.

For example, research indicates that rural populations are more likely to seek substance abuse recovery services for alcohol, while urban populations are more likely to see recovery from heroin.

Rural admissions to treatment programs are also more likely to be younger and less racially and ethnically diverse.

Perhaps one of the most significant differences between rural and urban recovery populations is that non-urban populations are less likely to voluntarily seek recovery services.

Instead, it is more common to receive substance abuse services as part of an interaction with the criminal justice system.

This, however, can be problematic.

Studies have shown that bias against mental health in the criminal justice system can be high, due to a perception that those with drug and alcohol issues are “offenders,” and not individuals struggling with addiction.

As a result, rural populations struggling with recovery may not always get the full spectrum of mental health and addiction services they need.

And while they may have access to detoxification, they will likely not receive a full recovery program as part of criminal justice mandates.

For this reason, it is vitally important that non-urban populations struggling with substance abuse receive access to the compassion, full-service, inpatient programs they need to make a full recovery.

Mental Illness and Substance Abuse in Cities vs. Rural Areas

Since mental health issues are often the underlying cause of addiction, stigma; and lack of access to mental health services can be both perpetrators of addiction and recovery barriers.

According to the Rural Health Information Hub, there are a variety of unique impediments to treatment for rural individuals, including:

  • Lack of Anonymity When Seeking Treatment
    • In small towns, it is possible that someone struggling with addiction would have to discuss their addiction with a counselor, physician, or Human Resources professional they know and see in social settings. This reduces the likelihood that they will discuss their true issues.
  • Shortages of Mental Health Workforce Professionals
    • There are fewer mental health professionals and waitlists for assistance in small communities can be long.
  • Lack of Care for Diverse, Rural Individuals
    • Rural populations include non-white individuals, as well as different religious and professional backgrounds. Lack of counselors who understand these factors can lead to failed treatments or avoidance of care.
  • Affordability
  • Transportation
    • Rural communities frequently lack busing systems and other forms of public transportation. Therefore, those who lack transportation are often unable to make appointments or may have to rely on friends and family’s assistance to attend 12-Step meetings or other types of support group meetings.
  • Stigma
    • Rural communities often have a culture that stresses pride and self-reliance, which tends to perceive addiction as a “weakness,” or a matter of self-control. As a result, those in rural areas that are struggling with alcohol or substance abuse are more likely to try to quit “cold turkey,” which is a strategy that often results in relapse.

Treatment and Substance Abuse in Cities vs. Rural Areas

Treatment centers can be found throughout the United States, and those struggling with addiction are not limited to seeking recovery in their immediate communities.

While this may not alleviate the immediate transportation barrier, seeking inpatient rehabilitation outside of a rural context will likely provide struggling individuals who suffer from abuse and addiction issues with the privacy and sense of opportunity they need to begin again.

For nearly all substance addictions, the first step will likely be full detoxification.

This detoxification will take place in a supervised setting and may take several days, depending on the type of drug used.

During this time, medical staff will help prevent self-harm and to manage severe side effects such as anxiety or seizure.

Therapeutic drugs may also be prescribed to help manage depressive thoughts, insomnia, and any painful side effects of withdrawal.

Once the drugs or alcohol have left the system, there will be various treatments available to help those recovering from addiction with isolation, depression, and trauma that might increase their risk of self-harm.

Counseling and group therapies will be available to provide peer support, and 12-step programs, spiritual services, exercise therapies, and other approaches to building physical and emotional resilience.

Those seeking recovery will also learn about self-care and other strategies they can incorporate into any context or budget.

Treatment centers can also help refer individuals to other types of services, such as parenting courses or financial counseling, all of which can help those from resource-deprived backgrounds truly begin again.

No matter where you live, recovery programs, such as those at BriteLife Recovery, can provide a new lease on life and help build the skills required to maintain a happy, sober life.

Payment Information

At BriteLife Recovery, we are your partner in achieving recovery.

And, we believe you should be focused on your treatment, not your insurance. To help support your journey, we offer payment plans and options to fit almost any budget.

We also accept most PPO insurance and private forms of payment and will even communicate with your insurance provider on your behalf.

Just call us, and let your recovery begin.

How to Get Help

No matter what your background is, you can beat addiction. And we can help.

Our caring team understands that no two addiction journeys are alike, so our programs are customizable to ensure you get the care and compassion you need.

Our experienced and empathetic staff can help you break the cycle using evidenced-based strategies, decrease your likelihood of relapse, and empower you to be your best.

We offer supervised, medical detoxification, residential, outpatient, and partial hospitalization programs, as well as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, 12-step programs, counseling, and more.

Contact BriteLife Recovery today, and let the healing begin.

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