NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Study Finds Drug Use Higher Among Rural Teens

January 27, 2000

Long considered an inner-city problem, drug abuse among teen-agers is actually higher in rural areas and small towns. That is the conclusion of a study from the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University. Researchers analyzed data from federal, state and local sources.

They found that rural eighth-graders were:

  • Twice as likely to have used amphetamines than those in large metropolitan areas.
  • Eighty-three percent more likely to have used crack cocaine.
  • Half again more likely to have used cocaine.
  • And 34 percent more likely to have smoked marijuana

Rural eighth-graders were also 29 percent more likely to have consumed alcohol and 70 percent more likely to have become intoxicated.

Experts say rural areas are especially vulnerable to certain drugs. Methamphetamines are usually manufactured in the countryside because the strong odor can more easily go undetected. Also, drug dealers find it easier to operate in small towns and drug smugglers are moving into rural areas.

Source: Maribel Villalva, "Study: Teen Drug Use Higher in Rural Areas than in Cities," USA Today, January 27, 2000.


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