2. Division of Infectious Disease, University of Vermont Medical Center, Burlington, VT.
3. Department of Ethics, University of Vermont Medical Center, Burlington, VT.
As morbidity and mortality from the opioid epidemic grow, it has become apparent that there are significant differences between rural and non-rural communities. Rural communities face different challenges in battling the opioid epidemic than their urban counterparts, including populations affected, types of opioids used, attitudes about opioids, and availability and utilization of harm-reduction strategies. Differences between rural and non-rural opioid outcomes may be explained by examining the differences in availability of medical and harm reduction services, such as syringe exchange programs (SSP), and differential utilization of services amongst rural and urban drug users. The authors highlight drivers of opioid pandemic inequalities in rural areas and reviews tailored strategies that may help ameliorate those inequalities.
Keywords: Rural, Opioid, Harm Reduction, Syringe Exchange