Reading time: 3 min

In Southern California, there is an abundance of addiction treatment options for men, women, and adolescents. It’s home to Hope By The Sea, and scores of other facilities offering similar services. While the plethora of options is a windfall godsend for Californians and those who can afford destination rehab, there are millions of Americans living in rural areas who struggle to access care.

Those who follow the news surrounding the U.S. addiction epidemic know that rural America has been hit the hardest. Men and women living outside urban areas, who need addiction treatment services, struggle to access care. It goes without saying that each day a person is not in recovery, is another day that their life is at risk.

While both federal and local governments have diverted significant sums of money to expand access to addiction treatment services, many individuals have not benefited. The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) and the 21st Century Cures Act are two pieces of legislation that authorized billions in funding to address the American addiction epidemic.


One of CARA’s provisions is to launch an evidence-based opioid and heroin treatment and intervention program to expand best practices throughout the country. Whereas the Cures Act authorized the money to make treatment programs more accessible, according to Psychiatric News. The law also funded the training of healthcare professionals in best practices of addiction treatment, and to research the most effective approaches to prevent dependency.

Still, more needs to be done to help people access to care in rural America. Fortunately, a new federal grant could provide much-needed relief to people living with substance use disorders in rural Missouri, KCUR reports. The $1.2 million grant is from the Department of Health and Human Services.

Treating Addiction in Underserved Areas

All doctoral students in psychology complete internships in the year before they graduate. The federal grant funds will go to doctoral students in psychology at the University of Missouri to learn to treat and prevent addiction, according to the article.

“This will enable us to give them a little something extra,” said Laura Schopp, chair of the university’s health psychology department. “Any psychologist who is dealing with these chronic health conditions is going to come up against substance use disorders and, particularly, opioid use disorders.” 

The funds will cover the cost of 21 new psychology internships at community-based health centers in rural areas. Psychology interns will be trained in diagnosing mental health problems (i.e., anxiety, depression, and pain) that can lead to substance use and addiction, the article reports. Moreover, they will receive instruction in treating substance use disorders.

Mental health disorders and co-occurring addiction is a common occurrence. Early intervention of mental illness can prevent patients from self-medicating their symptoms. Psychologists can prove to be instrumental in reducing addiction rates in rural America.

“What we hope to do is get in front of that by treating those conditions well and giving people behavioral support on the front end, so they don’t go on to develop opioid use disorder,” said Schopp. “Psychologists have a unique role to play in that we do a great job in pain management, we do a great job at behavioral health change.”

California Opioid Use Disorder Treatment

If you or a loved one is struggling with opioid use disorder, then it is critical to seek treatment immediately. At Hope By The Sea, we help clients break the cycle of addiction, address any co-occurring disorders, and provide tools for leading healthy lives in recovery. Please contact us today to learn more.