Substance abuse is a major issue in Middle Tennessee, with opioids, alcohol, and stimulants being the most commonly abused substances. College students are particularly vulnerable to the myths and rumors that surround drug use, and can be easily enticed into taking drugs during stressful periods. It is essential for school administrators, doctors, and parents to be aware of the problem and take steps to prevent it. Prevention programs can help reduce substance use in rural communities, especially when they focus on adolescents.
Primary care providers in rural areas can also play a key role in addressing substance use through screening, encouraging treatment, and referring patients to appropriate services. Long-term use of these substances can lead to substance use disorder (SUD), which can have serious consequences for physical and social health. Research shows that high levels of risk are often accompanied by low levels of protective or preventive factors. In order to combat substance abuse in Middle Tennessee, it is important to focus on prevention and treatment. Prevention programs should be tailored to the needs of rural communities and should focus on adolescents.
Primary care providers should screen for SUDs and refer patients to appropriate treatment services. Religious and church organizations can also play an important role in promoting substance use prevention. Evidence-based activities and interventions can help reduce substance use, such as those outlined in the RHIHub Toolkit for the Prevention and Treatment of Substance Use Disorders in Rural Areas. Treatment should focus on both the mind and body of people struggling with SUDs.