Deaths linked to alcohol use rose 43% in rural areas of the U.S. between 2006 and 2018, according to a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In 2000, the highest rates of alcohol-induced deaths among females aged 25 and over occurred in the most urban areas, while in 2018, the highest rates occurred in medium metro, small metro and rural areas, the CDC found.
Several factors may be contributing to alcohol-related deaths in rural areas, said Robyn Oster, a research associate in health law and policy at the Partnership to End Addiction, who was not involved in the study. “Rural areas lack sufficient treatment capacity, with few treatment providers and facilities, particularly for addiction treatment, to help those with alcohol use disorder,” she told HealthDay.
She noted that stigma may play a role in rural areas, where there may be less privacy. “This can prevent people from seeking needed treatment and support. High unemployment or other poor economic conditions could also play a role,” she said.