Linking Poverty to Health Outcomes: Alcohol Abuse in Chronically Poor Rural Areas
In this paper, I will examine the impact of alcohol abuse among the poor in rural areas, using personal experiences from a summer in Phillips County, Arkansas as an illustrative case for how society should view the effects of poverty among the rural poor. Social determinants of higher incidence of alcohol abuse in rural areas will be connected to chronic poverty in a rural area highlighting age, availability of alcohol, education, unemployment, access to prevention and treatment programs, and generally the stresses and characteristics of a life in poverty that increase the likelihood of consuming and abusing alcohol. While alcohol consumption is often considered a problem of personal responsibility, I show that social determinants play a large role in how alcohol consumption habits and disease develop. Through my analysis of alcohol abuse in rural areas, I advocate the need for developing diversified health care policies that adequately address the health needs of a certain area.
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