Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy

Population Health and Health Policy

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

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

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: 
2187

Cutler Institute awarded $600,000 to help youth raised in foster system

Marty Zanghi

USM's Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy has been awarded a $600,000 grant to help young people raised in Maine's foster system to prepare for college and the workforce.

The money comes from the Annie E. Casey Foundation as part of a $5.4 million national effort aimed at youth who are homeless or in either the foster care or juvenile justice systems.

"Many of these young people have suffered abuse or trauma and were raised in poverty and neglect," said Marty Zanghi, the Cutler Center's youth development director.

The money -- including an expected $400,000 more in matching funds -- will pay for contracted work with agencies in the target areas, starting with the greater Portland area and Penobscot, Kennebec and Somerset counties.

Nationally and in Maine, only about 3 percent of people who grow up in the foster care system achieve a college degree, he said.

"It's dramatically lower than the rate for the general population," Zanghi said. "It's a horrible outcome."

It doesn't have to be that way, though.

"There are young people that overcome these circumstances," he said. "I know people who have master's degrees and Ph.Ds."

The Casey Foundation's national effort is being called the "Learn and Earn to Achieve Potential" (LEAP) initiative.

The initiative is working on partnerships in Maine and nine other areas: Alaska, Arizona, California, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska and New York. In each case, people will adapt two evidence-based models to meet the needs of these youth, including support to address the trauma they may have experienced in their lives.

In Maine, the work will include a pair of successful programs, Jobs for Maine Graduates (JMG) and Jobs for the Future. Results will be carefully tracked, Zanghi said.

After the first year, the program is expected to grow.

"Eventually, the additional help will be available to all children, 14 and over, in the foster care system in the state of Maine," Zanghi said.

Connect With Us