Date of this Version


Document Type

DNP Project



The rise in substance misuse behaviors and overdose rates in the United States has become a nationwide public service health concern. Though the U.S. government has recognized the severity of the issue and has made attempts to help combat this epidemic, its efforts have fallen short, largely in part to the ongoing separation of the delivery and financing of substance use treatment from the rest of the medical system in the United States (Stuart et al., 2017). The purpose of this quality improvement project was to examine disparities seen in substance use treatment in urban and rural regions in the U.S. by examining the admission rates from Recovery First Treatment Center in Davie, Florida from 2018 to 2020. A descriptive retrospective, cross-sectional design was used to conduct this project. The researcher collected a random sample of N =120 counts from the Recovery First patient database, with n = 40 counts per year examining the demographics of those who sought treatment from 2018 to 2020. The demographic collected were as follows: urban/rural location, gender, age, race/ethnicity, and substance use. The results revealed that alcohol was the most primarily abused substance for each year, as well as the most abused substance by all races and ethnicities. The study also showed that males sought treatment for substance use at higher rates than females; however, females had a consistent average of admissions each year. Those who were 18 to 29 years of age had the highest rate of admissions; however, those admissions from rural regions had a higher average age of 40 years and older. The results further showed that those from rural regions sought treatment less than those who reside in urban regions, while White Non- Hispanics had the highest rate of admission from both urban and rural regions. Nurses and healthcare providers can utilize the outcome of this study to improve rural and urban substance use behaviors.

Keywords: substance use, addiction treatment centers, urban substance use, rural substance abuse, gender and substance abuse, race and substance use, ethnicity and substance use