Methamphetamine abusers in rural areas have more medical and psychiatric problems that may inhibit recovery than their urban counterparts, says a study reported by the Associated Press. Experts say the findings are unsettling because rural addicts have limited access to treatment. “Rural methamphetamine is worse in a lot of respects,” said researcher Kathleen Grant of the Omaha VA Medical Center and the University of Nebraska Medical Center.
The state-funded study compared addicts from a 20,000-square-mile region who sought help at the nearest treatment facility in Grand Island with those living near and seeking help in state’s two largest cities, Omaha and Lincoln. The study showed that rural addicts began using meth at a younger age, were more likely to use the drug intravenously and were more likely to also be dependent on alcohol or cigarettes. They also exhibited more signs of psychosis than urban addicts — 45 percent vs. 29 percent, according to the study. Grant said the findings, in the March/April edition of The American Journal on Addictions, suggest rural addicts are at higher risk for psychiatric and medical problems such as infectious diseases and lung and liver cancer.