Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy

Population Health and Health Policy

Substance Abuse by Youth and Young Adults in Rural America


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

Nellie Mae Education Foundation nominates Pious Ali for the Lawrence W. O'Toole Award

Pious Ali

Pious Ali, Youth and Community Engagement Specialist in Cutler’s Children, Youth, and Families Programs, has been nominated for the Lawrence W. O’Toole Award by the Nellie Mae Education Foundation. Pious is one of six nominees from the New England states.

The Nellie Mae Education Foundation believes that student-centered learning – where learning is personalized, engaging, competency-based and not restricted to the classroom – will prepare young people to graduate high school ready to contribute to their communities and succeed. This award is given out each year to an individual, school district, or non-profit that has exhibited great leadership in moving student-centered approaches to learning forward in the New England region.

The winner will be selected by online voting and will be awarded a $100,000 grant to help advance student centered learning!


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