Study Reveals High Violence Rates Among Rural-Dwellers Using Drugs

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 All rights reserved.

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

  • Leave a Comment
  • kimmie


    March 9th, 2012 at 1:47 PM

    Good grief, drugs can find their way into any community.
    Yoiu would think that since some of these places are so isolated that they would be shielded from the drug crisis facing us but that does not seem to be the case.

  • Nicole


    March 9th, 2012 at 3:24 PM

    I have lived in the city setting and I have lived out in the country and in my experience I sa WAY more drug behavior in the country than I ever did in the big city.

    People have it all wrong- they think that if they live in the city then they will be exposed to far more in the way of drugs and violence but I am here to vouch for the fact that that is not true.

    I think that rural dwellers get a little bored and full of themselves if you ask me, think they can outsmart the cops who might sense that they could be starting trouble. Sometimes it is like they go looking for the drugs and the trouble because there’s not much else to do.

  • Cam


    March 9th, 2012 at 5:12 PM

    How are we going to stop this growing trend when there are clearly no resources to put toward new education prgrams and drug prevention programs in areas that are heavily populated, much less very rural?

  • Pate


    March 10th, 2012 at 8:12 AM

    Coming from a small town background, I can sadly report that this is all true. It doesn’t matter where the small town is, there is always going to be that undercurrent of looking for something to do to take the edge off, maybe a little bit of the manis that set in from living somewhere where there are not a lot of outlets for that. Somehow though you can always seem to find a way to get high and get into a little trouble. There are some communities that are going to be afected by this more than others, but I am here to tell you that thete is not going to be one place that will be immune to it forever. These kinds of things find a way to sneak in.

  • shane


    March 11th, 2012 at 5:27 AM

    sometimes there ain’t nothin else to do, so these are easy ways to forget about how depressing it can be

  • Allyson


    March 11th, 2012 at 11:25 PM

    I grew up in a small town and let me tell you things there are sometimes worse than big cities.while the population is low,the substance abuse problems do not go away but the support services are far lesser and this creates a vacuum and violence is not far away.

  • Benny


    March 12th, 2012 at 4:29 AM

    I feel really bad for women who find themselves in an abusive situation living far away from much needed resources and help. Where are they supposed to go or supposed to do when anything that could possibly be available to help them is bound to be so far away>

  • Ruby18


    March 12th, 2012 at 4:12 PM

    I hate to tell you guys, but setting up screenings is not the way to go in these communities. Why? Cause nobody is ever gonna snitch anybody out. The place is too small, everyone will know who tells and so there is this almost code of silence that can be pretty hard to break through. Especially if they think that you are an outsider and they think that you are just doing this so that you can tell kthem all about everything that they are doing wrong but could do better if they did it your way.

Leave a Comment

By commenting you acknowledge acceptance of's Terms and Conditions of Use.

* Indicates required field.

GoodTherapy uses cookies to personalize content and ads to provide better services for our users and to analyze our traffic. By continuing to use this site you consent to our cookies.