Substance Use

  • L. A. Rebhun
  • Helena Hansen


Two conflicting stereotypes shape images of drug use in the rural United States. On the one hand, a nostalgic view of rural areas as pastoral landscapes, distant from the modern problems of big cities, shapes the notion that drug use, like other modern urban ills, must be far from agrarian scenes. On the other hand, the stereotype of the Appalachian or Ozark hillbilly with his single-shot rifle and illegal still continues to influence contemporary views of rural alcohol consumption. In truth, rural areas today are neither pastoral havens nor peopled by moonshineswillling hillbillies. They vary from the isolated arctic villages of northern Alaska to the migrant worker camps of the U.S.—Mexican border, and they include people of every ethnicity, nationality, and level of education. Some rural areas of the United States are major drug-producing areas, especially in the case of marijuana, and others, like the U.S.—Mexico border area, are major corridors for the international drug trade. Rural locales are hardly isolated from urban influences today, and drug problems pervade contemporary agrarian locations, often exacerbated by local conditions. Because rural residents constitute an estimated 20% to 25% (Logan, Schenck, Leukefeld, Meyers, & Allen, 1999; McCoy, & Metsch, McCoy, Weatherby, 1999) of the nation’s population and about one third of its impoverished citizens, they are an important population to study.


Rural Area Substance Abuse Treatment Rural Resident Illegal Drug Smokeless Tobacco 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. A. Rebhun
    • 1
  • Helena Hansen
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyYale UniversityNew HavenUSA
  2. 2.School of MedicineYale UniversityNew HavenUSA

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