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Overdose Rates Higher in Urban Areas


The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has monitored drug overdose deaths in the U.S. and have reported the prevalence to be much higher in rural areas than urban areas for over a decade.

However, in 2016, the CDC has found that the rate of overdose deaths in urban areas and cities have been steadily increasing and surpassed the rate of overdose deaths in rural areas.

The Appalachia and Coastal Plains region previously held the highest rates of overdose deaths in the U.S.

This cultural change has become one of the most lethal drug epidemics to affect Americans across every part of the nation.

The government has addressed this issue, particularly the CDC, by providing public education and allocating resources for alternative pain management in an effort to reduce prescription opioid abuse and addiction.

CDC officials established these interventions to promote awareness regarding drug use and abuse and hope to result in decreasing overdose deaths in not only urban areas but all parts of America.

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What is Substance Use Disorder?

Substance use disorder is a chronic mental health condition that compels an individual to use drugs, often to excess and frequency, with disregard for consequence.

Substance use disorder impairs daily function and controls an individual’s motivation by occupying his or her time with using substances, obtaining substances, or obsessing about substances.

Signs of Substance Use Disorder:

  • Decline in physical appearance and hygiene
  • Decline in work or school performance
  • Lack of motivation
  • Not fulfilling responsibilities
  • Financial issues caused by purchasing substances
  • Social withdrawal
  • Agitation
  • Major changes in personality

Statistics of Urban and Rural Overdose Rates

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Health Statistics analyzed the most current available data on drug overdose death rates across the entire U.S., which was provided by the National Vital Statistics System (NVSS).

The report juxtaposed the rate of drug overdose deaths in urban and rural areas by utilizing demographics such as type of drug, sex, and age group.

The most recent data available is from 2017, which found there are 22 overdose deaths per 100,000 residents in urban areas in comparison to 20 deaths using the same measurement per capita in rural areas.

The most common drugs involved in overdose deaths in urban areas are heroin, cocaine, and synthetic opioids.

The data also indicated the result of increased overdose death rates in urban areas can be attributed to males aged 45 to 64 and overdosing on opioid drugs, primarily heroin and fentanyl.

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Most Common Drugs Involved in Urban Overdose Deaths

  • HeroinHeroin is a naturally occurring substance processed from morphine that is extracted from certain poppy plants. It is an illicit opioid drug that produces analgesic effects and intense euphoria. It is highly addictive and can be lethal. Approximately, 1 out of 4 people that use heroin will develop a dependency. Heroin can be administered orally, through insufflation, but is most commonly administered intravenously. Injecting heroin produces effects instantaneously, and it is especially easy to overdose using this method.
  • FentanylFentanyl, like heroin, is a drug belonging to the opioid class. It is a synthetic opioid formulated as a prescription drug to treat severe pain, typically after surgery. It is approximately 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. It is highly addictive and can be lethal. Fentanyl is typically administered in the same manner as heroin. Often, fentanyl is used as a cutting agent in cocaine and other illicit substances on the black market. This often attributes to accidental overdose deaths.
  • Cocaine– Cocaine is a naturally occurring substance extracted from leaves of the coca plant and processed into an illicit substance on the black market. Cocaine is a stimulant drug that belongs to the amphetamine class. It gained popularity and notoriety during the 1980s and continues to be a popular drug among all demographics. Effects of cocaine include intense euphoria, increased focus and energy, and sexual arousal. The most common route of administration of cocaine is insufflation. However, it can also be consumed orally, smoked, or taken intravenously.

Substance Abuse in Urban Areas

The city is often known as the mecca for drug trafficking and drug abuse. Major cities in America have a substance abuse rate of 16.2% per 100,000 people, especially in urban areas of large cities.

For example, Chicago, Baltimore, Los Angeles, New York, and Miami are notorious for their high drug rate. Since the 1980s, cocaine became popularized in the club and party scene, which were all located in the city. It wasn’t until the mid-80s to the early 90s that cocaine was commonly freebased and sold as crack cocaine.

It was not long after this drug evolution that President Ronald Reagan declared a war on drugs. The Anti-Drug Abuse Act was his legislation that led the opposition to drugs with the allocated fund of $1.7 billion. This primarily affected the city, as the country communities were not focused on as much due to drugs being not as prevalent in those areas.

It mainly and tremendously affected the city’s addicts and drug market.

More currently, the war on drugs in the city has not been as active due to many drugs becoming legalized for medical, research, and recreational purposes, such as marijuana and some forms of psilocybin.

While other drugs are readily available on the drug black market in many cities, prescription drugs such as opioids, benzodiazepines, and stimulants are increasing in the rate of abuse in the city.

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Factors that contribute to substance abuse in cities:

  • Easy access
  • Peer pressure
  • Stress reliever
  • Mental health disorders
  • Work performance enhancement
  • Environment
  • Stress
  • Common recreation

Treatment for Substance Use Disorder

Treatment for substance abuse and addiction is commonly treated at substance abuse treatment centers or rehab.

Individuals can be treated for a variety of mental health disorders in addition to substance abuse and addiction.

Most substance abuse treatment centers provide outpatient and inpatient services. An individual receiving outpatient services does not require him or her to remain at the center at all times.

The individual will attend treatment services at the substance abuse center a determined number of times per week. An individual receiving inpatient services requires him or her to remain at the center for the duration of his or her treatment.

Common services provided by substance abuse treatment centers typically include medical detoxification, individual and group therapy, specific psychotherapies and other life skills and coping training, and medication management.

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Reach Out and Receive Treatment Today

Do not wait any further! Help is available to you when you need it.

You are not alone in this struggle. The trained professionals at Resurgence Behavioral Health genuinely care about you and dedicate their lives to make sure you can live yours.

To overcome substance addiction, proper drug therapy treatment is required.

It is not an easy walk, but our treatment is the best option when it comes to your health.

We provide the most professional treatment to give you a fighting chance in a rough battle.

Let today be the day you reach out to Resurgence Behavioral Health so that you can begin to reclaim the life you have been missing!

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