Economic and drug issues top rural concerns

A recent study asked Americans “What are rural US adults’ views on serious health and economic concerns facing their communities?”.  

The survey of almost 2750 American adults found that opioids or other drug addictions or abuse and economic concerns were identified as the most serious problems facing rural communities. Rural adults also reported recent problems with paying medical bills and accessing health care.

Regarding health care, 32% of rural adults said their family has experienced problems affording medical bills or dental treatment in the past few years, including 19% of rural adults who reported major problems.

On economic issues, 55% of rural adults held negative views on their local economy. Forty-nine percent of rural adults said they would have a problem immediately paying off an unexpected $1000 expense.

This survey study found that in the current economically stretched rural the United States, opioid or other drug addiction or abuse has emerged as an equal problem with economic concerns, and approximately half of rural adults personally know someone who has had an opioid addiction. In addition, one-third of rural adults still have problems paying their medical bills even after the passage and implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Although rural communities have traditionally been self-reliant, more than half of rural adults are open to outside help in solving serious problems facing their communities, including significant help from the government.