Opioid Abuse in Rural Areas and Ways to Help

Last Updated: Sep 20th 2019

Reviewed by Brittany Polansky, MSW, LCSW

Out of the Way

The rural parts of America are in many ways third-world in nature. They can be many miles away from skilled medical help, they are often poorly stocked with supplies, medical or otherwise, and access to information on the internet is often throttled by poor connection speeds. In places like these, opioid abuse can be even more dangerous and deadly than anywhere else in the United States. However, despite this, there are certainly ways to combat the powerful grip opioids have on people.


Fighting Rural Opioid Abuse

  1. One of the best things about small towns and other rural areas is that often, people know each other quite well. Word travels fast when there’s only a few hundred people (or less) to spread. So when one bears that in mind, it becomes obvious that the makings of a support group exist in this state. People are social creatures, and if enough people who care about each others’ well-being unite to call to action, they can help convince people who might consider themselves isolated to step forward and detox from opioids.
  2. In the most rural areas, medical assistance is limited and often channeled through a single doctor or clinic. Thankfully, the last two presidential administrations have been very vocal about the effects of opioids and the damage they cause, so most clinicians and doctors are well aware of the dangers of opioids. However, there is still some progress to be made on education and rehab. Making sure that a small town’s medical staff are able to handle the burdens is very important, and can be assisted through town hall meetings and other regional efforts.
  3. While rehab can be done at home, it is difficult, and trying to recover in a setting where one would usually expect to get high in the first place can be difficult and frustrating for an addict. Having people to keep track of those in need is vital to success, whether they move to a rehab clinic for residential detox or if they do it at home or another non-clinical space.

Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Brittany Polansky, MSW, LCSW

Brittany has been working in behavioral health since 2012 and is the Assistant Clinical Director at our facility. She is an LCSW and holds a master’s degree in social work. She has great experience with chemical dependency and co-occurring mental health diagnoses as well as various therapeutic techniques. Brittany is passionate about treating all clients with dignity and respect, and providing a safe environment where clients can begin their healing journey in recovery.