Perceived Need for Substance Abuse Treatment Among Illicit Stimulant Drug Users in Rural Areas of Ohio, Arkansas, and Kentucky

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Non-medical drug use in rural communities in the United States is a significant and growing public health threat. Understanding what motivates drug users in rural areas to seek substance abuse treatment may help in addressing the problem. Perceived need for treatment, a construct indicative of problem recognition and belief in problem solution, has been identified as an important predictor of help-seeking behavior. This cross-sectional study used data collected through face-to-face interviews to examine factors associated with perceived need for drug abuse treatment among not-in-treatment, adult, illicit stimulant drug users (n = 710) in rural areas of Ohio, Kentucky, and Arkansas. More than one-quarter of the sample perceived a need for treatment. Results from a stepwise multiple regression analysis showed that white users, users with better physical and mental health status, and occasional users of methamphetamine were significantly less likely to see a need for treatment. Users with higher Addiction Severity Index composite scores for family/social problems or legal problems, and users with prior drug abuse treatment experience were significantly more likely to perceive a need for treatment. These findings have practical implications for efforts addressing substance abuse in rural areas.



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