Using a national inventory of facilities providing substance abuse treatment services, the authors identified rural detox providers and surveyed them to examine their characteristics, access issues for detox services, and the fit of rural detox services within the substance abuse treatment system. They also examined the geographic distribution of these providers among large rural towns, small rural towns, and isolated rural areas. The results of the 2008 survey indicate that most rural residents (82%) live in a county without a detox provider and that providers are concentrated in large rural towns. While rural detox providers offer care across a number of substances, the full range of professionally-recommended detox services is incomplete in rural areas. Travel distances to detox services are lengthy and access to specialty programs for patients with specific needs (e.g., adolescents) is limited.
Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy
Availability, Characteristics, and Role of Detoxification Services in Rural Areas
Research and Policy Brief
December 30, 2009