National Public Radio: In Rural Areas Without Pain Or Addiction Specialists, Family Doctors Fill In The Gaps

EXCERPT: “In many ways, rural communities like Necedah have become the face of the nation’s opioid epidemic. Drug overdose deaths are more common by population size in rural areas than in urban ones. And rural doctors prescribe opioids more often by far, despite a nationwide decline in prescribing rates since 2012. Meanwhile, rural Americans have fewer alternatives to treat their very real pain, and they disproportionately lack access to effective addiction medication such as buprenorphine. It used to be rare for primary care physicians outside of big cities to take on the challenges of opioid misuse, according to Dr. Erin Krebs, a professor of medicine at the University of Minnesota who researches chronic pain management. Now, Krebs says it’s becoming increasingly common ‘out of necessity.’ ‘We just have a lot of people who need this kind of care and they need it where they are,’ Krebs says.” FULL STORY: