Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy

Population Health and Health Policy

National Study of Substance Abuse Prevalence & Treatment Services in Rural Areas

1/1/2004 - 1/31/2005
John Gale
Principal Investigator: 
David Hartley

Substance abuse is a major and growing threat to the health and well-being of rural individuals, their families, and their communities. It frequently co-occurs with mental and/or physical health problems and is detrimental to effective school, job, and parenting performance and highly correlated with anti-social and criminal behavior. These problems may be more pervasive in rural areas given that higher rates of substance abuse are associated with higher levels of poverty and unemployment and lower levels of income. Substance abuse strains rural service systems which are often overextended and under-resourced relative to urban systems. As one moves further along the rural continuum, the demands on these service systems tend to increase while resource and funding levels decline. The ability to organize effective substance abuse delivery systems in rural communities is hampered by limited supplies of specialized providers and services, low population densities, and long travel distances for rural persons to obtain care.

Given the apparent disparity between need and the availability of services in rural areas, this project will explore these issues through the development of a rural substance abuse chartbook. We will use two national surveys sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to examine the prevalence of the use of different substances relative to the availability and use of treatment services as well as how this relationship may vary in rural communities of different sizes, regions of the country, and among different demographic groups.

This project will produce a comprehensive national chartbook on the prevalence of the abuse of legal and illegal substances across rural populations, the extent to which rural individuals are receiving treatment for their substance abuse, barriers to the receipt of treatment, and the distribution of substance abuse services across rural areas.

Start Date: 
Thu, 2004-01-01
End Date: 
Mon, 2005-01-31
Legacy Muskie ID: 
2 187

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Hartley Retires as Director of the Maine Rural Health Research Center

David Hartley, PhD

David Hartley, PhD, the Director of the Maine Rural Health Research Center (MRHRC) and a Research Professor of Public Health has announced that he will be retiring from the University of Southern Maine August 31st, 2014. David came to the University in 1994 and has directed the MRHRC since 2004. Andy Coburn, PhD, Research Professor of Public Health, will take over as the new MRHRC Director. Erika Ziller, PhD continues in her role as Deputy Director. David has had a distinguished career in rural health and rural health research, and has made lasting contributions to the field with his work on rural behavioral health, rural disparities and health, and rural active living.

A celebration will be scheduled in early fall to honor David and his many contributions to the field and the University.


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