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Module 1: Substance Abuse in Rural Communities

Substance abuse refers to the harmful use of alcohol or drugs and is a growing problem in rural communities. As with all communities in the U.S., rural communities have seen dramatic increases in rates of opioid abuse and overdose, while lacking the services and other facilities that are often more available in urban and suburban areas.

Rural communities face major barriers to treatment for substance abuse. Rural areas have limited resources to treat substance abuse due to having fewer providers, facilities, and services in a wider geographic area compared to urban and suburban areas. The close-knit nature of rural communities also contributes to challenges related to confidentiality, privacy, and stigma for people with substance abuse issues. Lastly, the substance abuse treatment system is complex and can be difficult to navigate.

For general information on what to consider as you start your program, see Creating a Program: Where to Begin in the Rural Community Health Toolkit.

This module defines substance abuse and explains the need for prevention and treatment programs in rural communities.

In this module: