Here is a new article published in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) describing the differences among illicit drug use, disorders and deaths in the US in both metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas.
The data for this study come from the National Survey of Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) face-to-face household interviews, as well as National Vital Statistics System Mortality (NVSS-M) data.
The good news/bad news results are that while there was a decline in youth illicit drug use and lower illicit drug use disorders in rural areas, there was also an increase in drug overdose deaths in rural areas.
Public health actions are discussed in this paper.
A limitation of these and other similar drug data is they are but a single snap shot of the past.
Substance abuse and health professionals must also look forward by anticipating future drug use patterns and problems to optimize their effectiveness, particularly regarding prevention and education efforts.
Given this reality, my recommendations are that our efforts should include:
- Broaden adaptation of quick and easy to use evidence-based prevention programs for all youth and young adults who are by their developmental status at greatest risk not just for drug harm but also for chronic disease development resulting from habits like lack of regular physical activity and sub-optimal nutritional practices,
- Expand evidence-informed educational strategies to correct marijuana beliefs about harmfulness and social norms that drive future use and problems among both youth and adults which are resulting from the continued legalization of medical and recreational cannabis across the US and abroad, and
- Target rural American for additional training in opioid overdose prevention and guidelines for prescribing opioids for chronic pain management.
Read the article here: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/66/ss/ss6619a1.htm
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