The nature and challenge of alcohol and drug use in the United States continues to change rapidly, evolving in reaction to myriad social, economic, and local forces. While the use of illicit drugs affects every region of the country, most of our current information about drug use comes from large urban areas.
While the use of illicit drugs affects every region of the country, most of our current information about drug use comes from large urban areas. Data on rural drug use and its harms justify greater attention. Record overdose rates, unexpected outbreaks of HIV, and a dearth of treatment facilities point to a rapidly worsening health situation. While health sciences have made considerable progress in understanding the etiology of drug use and uncovering the link between drug use and its myriad associated harms, this promising scientific news has not always translated to better health outcomes. Similarly, alcohol use and abuse has been part of American history since its founding, and continues to affect individuals and households in rural as well as urban areas. Our approach involves seeing these issue in the widest possible lens, as individual and single community issues reflect larger national and global processes.