Why Is Prescription Pill Addiction Hitting Suburban Areas Hardest?

Opioids and prescriptions are taking over the streets and suburbs. Prescription pill dependency is at an all-time high everywhere, with suburban areas being hit hardest in recent years. Opioid overdoses are also increasing, with a high rate of deaths amongst young adults and women. These demographics were less prevalent in the past years, concerning overdoses. Still, these populations are hit harder than ever with increased rates of prescription medications flooding the marketplace (and homes). Understanding why prescription pill dependency hits the suburbs hardest and how to support a loved one who may be struggling with a substance use disorder can save a life.


Poverty and Substance Use

There has always been a consensus, historically, that poverty drives substance use. People in poverty are more likely to become addicted, for various reasons. Prescription pill use does not discriminate. Across all demographics, people have struggled with opioid substance use. There are areas and pockets of poverty that struggle more than people in suburban areas, but it is also better hidden. People in financially robust regions and in more affluent neighborhoods are more likely to be functionally addicted. Poverty does not have as much to do with how many people become addicted as it does any other aspect of someone’s life like career or hobbies. People from all walks of life are getting addicted to substances and need help. Effective substance use programs are the best at supporting people as they walk through treatment and seek help for a substance use disorder. To better understand the geography of growing substance use and overdoses, it is essential to look at all factors and assess the best ways to address the crisis.


Suburban Versus Rural Crisis

One of the reasons substance abuse has hit suburbia so hard is that it remained hidden for a long time. Suburban counties in the metro area have seen a rise in people addicted to prescriptions. Economically struggling places are still being ravaged by the opioid crisis, but there is a reason the conversation has highlighted economic distress and instability as a factor driving “deaths of despair.” Among high-poverty counties, there has been an increased rate of people dying from overdoses. Counties that are poor, or remain poor, are seeing higher than average overdose deaths in their areas. Counties that have lower poverty rates are also seeing an uptick in people dying from overdoses. Not everyone is going to die from a substance overdose. In fact, many people remain addicted to prescriptions for a long time and never experience an overdose. The vast majority of counties have no registered substance use nonprofits, including areas where poverty is higher. Rural areas are going to be less resourced in general as people have been moving to cities and suburbs for many years. The suburbs have not been immune to the ravages of the substance crisis.


Putting it All Together

Widespread substance use in these communities has led to more discussion about how the intersection of substance use disorders and suburban life has unfolded. The impact it has on community structure, individuals, and families is shocking. The need to find services to address this issue is widely noted and is appearing in the news more frequently. In suburban areas, mothers, wives, daughters, husbands, and sons are all struggling under the weight of prescription addiction. There is nobody immune to the effects. Those struggling with substance use disorders feel they have nowhere to go. Often, high-functioning substance use disorders are harder to give up because people struggle to admit they need help. They are afraid of what it might look like to give up the substance use disorder. Substance use service providers working in rural and suburban areas rely on different services and things to help them connect to recovery programs. The key is to find supportive networks that will help them navigate resources so they can stay healthy and clean for a long time to come.


Combating Substance Use

The best way to combat substance use in suburban areas is to ask for help. Families of loved ones need to be educated on what is available, what to ask for, and how to ask for help. Unless families and loved ones step out in faith to ask for help, it will continue to be an issue that hides in plain sight. Medical doctors are wary now of over-prescribing prescriptions, so they are creating a space for people to use other medications where needed. National efforts help stem the flow of substances that are taking lives across the United States. Networks of families and friends affected are meeting to connect over their grief, loss, pain, and struggle while offering hope to others. The best way to move forward from this substance use disorder crisis is to seek supportive services in the area. Ask for help from loved ones and find the right treatment center, which includes treatment, detox, and recovery services long after treatment ends.


Steamboat Springs, located in the Rocky Mountains, provides a setting for the natural stimulation of mind and body allowing for a return to our innate senses and a new foundation from which to build. Foundry Treatment Center’s vision was formed through personal experiences and continues to grow through the dedicated compassion of the Foundry team. We share a commitment to provide a comprehensive, whole-body treatment program that encourages each to seek their own values and beliefs through innovative and evidence-based treatment modalities. For more information on how we can help you or a loved one, call us today at 1-844-955-1066.

(844) 955-1066

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