Rural Americans Say Drug Addiction as Big a Concern as the Economy

People living in rural communities are as concerned about drug addiction as they are about the economy, according to new survey data.

The findings come from surveys conducted in 2018 and 2019 with 2,700 people from rural communities across the United States. The majority of participants were white, older than 50 and without a college degree. When asked what was the most serious concern facing their community, 25% said opioid or other drug addiction, while 21% listed economic concerns, including job availability, poverty, businesses closing, cost of living and low wages.

No other concerns were reported by at least 10% of adults, according to U.S. News & World Report.

“These findings suggest that in today’s economically stretched rural United States, opioid or other drug addiction or abuse has emerged as an equal problem with economic concerns,” the researchers wrote in JAMA Network Open.

Heroin & the Opioid Epidemic: From Understanding to Action

Heroin and other opioids are ravaging communities across America. Heroin-related deaths increased by more than five times between 2010 and 2017, and drug deaths from fentanyl and other synthetic opioids are seeing a sharp rise as well.

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