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In small rural communities where there is little anonymity, people who use drugs may not seek treatment. Therefore, rural programs are working to reduce stigma so that people with a substance use disorder will seek treatment resources. In the case of opioid misuse, rural programs are training community members and family members of people with opioid use disorders in an effort to increase the number of people who can administer naloxone. Rural programs are also addressing stigma through Good Samaritan protections at the local level. These protections may help to reduce concerns about the legal implications of calling for emergency medical services or helping someone who is having an overdose. Further, rural programs are conducting cultural sensitivity trainings and providing technical assistance to healthcare providers to help them support people with substance use disorders.

Resources to Learn More

Barriers to Substance Abuse Treatment in Rural and Urban Communities: A Counselor Perspective
Compares rural and urban substance abuse treatment counselors' perceptions of barriers to providing treatment by analyzing data collected from 28 counselors in Kentucky.
Authors: Pullen, E., Oser, C.
Citation: Substance Use & Misuse, 49(7), 891-901
Date: 6/2014

A Comparison of Mental Health, Substance Use, and Sexual Risk Behaviors Between Rural and Non-Rural Transgender Persons
Evaluates the mental health, substance use, and sexual risk behaviors of transgender persons in both rural and non-rural areas to determine the need for mental and physical health services
Authors: Horvath, K., Iantaffi, A., Swinburne-Romine, R., Bockting, W.
Citation: Journal of Homosexuality, 61(8), 1117-1130
Date: 6/2014