Small Towns Hit Hard by Heroin Epidemic

streetRural America is no stranger to drug waves. Methamphetamine swept through small towns and farming communities with a vengeance just over a decade ago. Home-based meth labs were dangerous but cheap and the ingredients were easily found to produce the drug. Then those ingredients were more tightly regulated as awareness grew on the method of production and use waned.

Since then, another drug has crept its way into suburban and rural America. Heroin has also taken over these areas and is claiming lives and record rates. The rise in heroin use increased production of the drug as cartels made routes into the country and the abundance of the drug drove the price down. Authorities are reporting that many rural towns in Nebraska, Illinois and Indiana have heroin prices of $10 for a small bag, which is the same price as major many major cities. This shows that the drug is available in abundance in nearly every part of the nation.

In order to understand why the heroin problem is growing so rapidly in smaller towns it is important to realize the massive influence of what becomes cultural norms among teens. Often called peer pressure, it really is more of an effort to try things that other kids are trying in an attempt to fit in. This is true of fashion, music and other trends as well. The major difference here, though, is that heroin is a highly addictive substance and has a very high potential for overdose.

Another influence that may be spurring the heroin problem in rural communities is the lack of preventative measures taken. Boredom sets in easier in some small towns and young people seek something different to do. Without effective drug prevention measures their boredom can often turn to substance abuse.

Various forms of interventions are necessary, from the education and awareness programs early on to family interventions to get their loved ones into treatment.

Mike Loverde

With firsthand experience with addiction, Mike Loverde is now a Certified Intervention Professional (CIP), as accredited by the Association of Intervention Specialists and the Pennsylvania Certification Board. He founded Family First Intervention in 2008 and has since helped hundreds of families find intervention and addiction rehabilitation solutions.

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