Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy

Population Health and Health Policy

Substance Abuse by Youth and Young Adults in Rural America

Abstract: 

Addressing substance abuse in rural America requires extending our understanding beyond urban-rural comparisons to how substance abuse varies across rural communities of different sizes. The authors address this gap by examining substance abuse prevalence across 4 geographic levels, focusing on youth (age 12-17 years) and young adults (age 18-25 years).<p></p>
<b>Findings:</b> Rural youth have higher alcohol use and methamphetamine use than urban youth and the more rural the area, the higher the use. Rural young adults living in rural-large areas have higher rates of substance abuse than their urban peers; those living in the most rural areas have nearly twice the rate of methamphetamine use as urban young adults. Rural youth are more likely than urban youth to have engaged in the high-risk behavior of driving under the influence of alcohol or other illicit drugs.<p></p> <b>Conclusions:</b> Higher prevalence rates, coupled with high-risk behavior, place rural youth and young adults at risk of continued substance use and problems associated with this use. Rural community infrastructure should be enhanced to support substance abuse prevention and intervention for these populations.

Publication Type: 
Journal Article
Publish Date: 
June 1, 2008

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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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