Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Rural meth users in South Carolina more likely to be poor white women, says UCLA study

Rural meth users in South Carolina are more likely to be poor white women, said a study by researchers at UCLA presented last week at the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry meeting in Huntington Beach, Calif., Parker Brown reports for MedPage Today. The study, which included 199 participants in Los Angeles and 66 participants in rural eastern South Carolina, found that 63 percent of rural meth users were women, compared to 28 percent in urban areas. In rural areas, 98 percent of meth users were white, compared to 22 percent in urban areas, and 77 percent of rural users make less than $15,000 per year, compared to 48 percent of urban users. (South Carolina Law Enforcement Division graphic)

"There was no significant difference in the level of education in the two groups, but rural users also had less use in the past 30 days, using methamphetamine six times on average during the last 30 days versus 20 days in the urban group," Brown writes. "'Understanding regional differences may improve treatment adherence and retention,' the authors wrote, noting that white women from rural areas with a lack of education and job opportunities may have different treatment needs than men living in urban areas."

Emily Hartwell, a fourth year clinical psychology graduate student at UCLA, who was the lead researcher, told Brown, "It's possible that because meth was introduced in the [western U.S.] and has slowly trickled its way across the country, rates are higher in the west. So in some ways, it's not surprising that people are using quite as much, just in that it's a new substance on the east coast. But for it to be this different was a little surprising." (Read more)

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