Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy

Prevention of Drug Use and Treatment of Drug Use Disorders in Rural Settings


John Gale, Research Associate at the Maine Rural Health Research Center, participated in the development of the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime's Guide, Prevention of Drug Use and Treatment of Drug Use Disorders in Rural Areas. The Guide serves as an awareness-raising tool and guidance for policymakers, public health officials, local authorities and other stakeholders in dealing with substance use issues in rural settings in their respective countries. It lays out a policy framework as well as a system-level assessment, and supplies information on planning and implementation of both prevention and treatment strategies for rural settings.The Guide describes substance use problems in rural settings and factors contributing to them, evidence-based programs for prevention, treatment, and recovery, identifies tools that can be used to assess the scope of rural substance use, and gives examples of successful promising and evidence-based strategies implemented in diverse rural areas worldwide. The Guide also provides an understanding of several key economic and social disparities driving rural substance use and the barriers to treatment experienced by rural people with substance use disorders.

It also provides a process to:

  • Assess the prevalence, underlying causes and consequences of drug use in rural settings.
  • Identify gaps in prevention, treatment, and recovery policies, programmes and services.
  • Engage key partners to collaborate in preventing and ameliorating the problems associated with rural drug use.
  • Locate and deploy available resources.
  • Set practical goals for work concerning prevention, treatment and recovery, and in reducing the negative health consequences caused by substance use.
  • Select and adapt evidence-based prevention, treatment and recovery programmes, services and policies relevant to the needs of rural settings, and to evaluate them in order to assess sustainability and effectiveness.

The Guide is intended to be shared widely with policymakers and stakeholders.

Suggested Citation: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Prevention of Drug Use and Treatment of Drug Use Disorders in Rural Areas. Vienna: UNODC;2017.

Publication Type: 
Publish Date: 
April 15, 2017