A quiet country town is the ideal setting for raising a family and getting to know neighbors. But rural living can present many challenges. Small towns are often isolated from much-needed services such as mental health programs, treatment centers, and even advanced medical care. However, substance abuse is present in urban and rural areas. Unfortunately, the violence that accompanies substance abuse is also present in small towns. The scarce availability of services designed to address substance-related abuse in rural areas prompted Teresa L. Kramer of the Division of Health Services Research at the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Arkansas to lead a study to identify which types of violence occurred most often in rural-dwelling substance-dependent individuals so that future prevention and intervention efforts could be targeted at these individuals.
For her study, Kramer evaluated 710 rural-dwelling Caucasian and African-American adults who had used cocaine, crack, or methamphetamine in the previous month and who were not undergoing any form of treatment. She found that of the 710 participants, 184 had been physically assaulted in the previous year, and several reported multiple forms of assault, including being kicked, punched, choked, slapped, shot, or stabbed. Over 15% of the participants were assaulted by someone other than their partner, while over 8% were assaulted only by their partners, the majority of whom were women.
Kramer discovered that the women who were victims of partner violence were more likely to have multiple dependencies, including alcohol. In the men, however, alcohol dependence was not directly related to nonpartner assault, but cocaine use was. Additionally, the highest rates of violence victimization occurred in Caucasian men, specifically those who had used cocaine during the previous year. Kramer hopes these findings motivate rural community outreach programs to address their rising substance-related violence problems by enhancing interventions for cocaine-dependent individuals. She added, “Formal screenings and assessments would constitute the first step, whereas specific interventions might mitigate the psychological distress and substance use that have been documented following victimization.” Kramer added that other medical settings that receive injuries resulting from violence consider evaluating individuals for substance use and train staff to screen patients and provide substance treatment education and information.
Kramer, T. L., Borders, T. F., Tripathi, S., Lynch, C., Leukefeld, C., Falck, R. S., Carlson, R. G., Booth, B. M. Physical Victimization of Rural Methamphetamine and Cocaine Users. Violence and Victims 27.1 (2012): 109-24. Print.
© Copyright 2012 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved.
The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.