Drug production in the rural context

Authored by: Ralph A. Weisheit , Henry Brownstein

The Routledge International Handbook of Rural Criminology

Print publication date:  April  2016
Online publication date:  April  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138799745
eBook ISBN: 9781315755885
Adobe ISBN: 9781317628514


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There is sometimes an idyllic view of rural America that sees an environment in which crime and other social problems are infrequent. As with many stereotypes, this one has a grain of truth, but only a small grain. In the case of illicit drugs, national data suggest that as one moves from the most urban to the most rural areas, the percentage of citizens who report having used illicit drugs goes down, but the numbers in rural areas are still substantial. For example, the NSDUH reports that almost half (49.2 percent) of residents in the largest cities report having ever used illicit drugs compared with 38.1 percent of residents in the most rural areas (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration 2014). The numbers for rural areas are large enough to be a cause for concern, but there is another reason why rural areas play an important role in America’s drug problem. Rural areas serve as points of illicit drug production, in particular methamphetamine and marijuana.

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