The diseases of alcoholism and drug addiction affect 12% of the adult population. Another 20% suffer from medically harmful use of drugs and alcohol. Those affected have health consequences, high health care utilization, and, frequently, the simultaneous presence of two or more diseases or conditions that are chronic, yet they often receive poor-quality care.
Primary care is designed to address most healthcare needs, yet it does not adequately address substance dependence. Healthcare reform efforts have sought ways to better integrate the treatment of substance use disorders into mainstream health care. However, bringing together the services needed and getting them to work together has proved difficult.
In rural areas, the health consequences of addiction are even greater. Geographic isolation limits access to and availability of healthcare resources. Social stigma and social norms also contribute to this health issue being undertreated and poorly understood in rural communities.
To address this problem, this project seeks to engage the various disconnected stakeholders in a rural Iowa population—providers, counselors, treatment centers, recovery groups, hospitals, the legal system, and so on—to create meaningful relationships with patients and their families.
This collaboration would then devise patient-centered solutions aimed at conducting patient-centered research that would lead to improvements in healthcare integration and health outcomes for addiction patients and their families in rural communities.
VIDEO (below): Addressing Addiction in Rural Areas
This Pipeline to Proposal award plans to engage rural populations in Iowa to address alcoholism and drug addiction.