Opioid dependency has been and continues to be a problem for many and it does not discriminate. Rural America is not immune to the problems opioids create particularly in the agricultural community. Farming is one of the most dangerous occupations in the country and with that can come the potential for misuse and addiction. Fortunately there are resources to help understand the scope of the problem and support those who need it including farmers, farm families and the agriculture community as a whole.
Help is a click away. Farm Town Strong a collaboration of the nation’s two largest farm organizations have resources and information to help those in farm country who are struggling with opioid abuse. This website includes information and resources on:
- Emergency hotline numbers
- Treatment options
- Help with prevention
- Proper disposal of drugs
The numbers tell the story…
The American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Farmers Union joined together in 2017 to survey farmers and ranchers in rural America to provide a realistic look at the impact of opioids. The survey produced a number of results some of which include:
- Three in four farmers (77%), as well as those who work in agriculture generally (76%), say it would be easy for someone in their community to access a large amount of prescription opioids or painkillers without a prescription.
- Rural adults overwhelmingly recognize that opioid abuse can begin accidentally with the use of what are deemed safe painkillers, or opioids (75%).
- Rural adults are largely unaware that rural communities are impacted the most by the opioid crisis (31%). And, they say opioid abuse is a major problem in urban communities more so than in rural communities by a 10-point margin (57% vs. 47%).
- One in three rural adults (34%) say it would be easy to access treatment for addiction to prescription drugs or heroin in their local community. But, less than half (38%) are confident they could seek care that is either effective, covered by insurance, convenient or affordable.
The Opioid Crisis in Rural America
The Minnesota Farm Bureau Foundation is an organization in the Upper Midwest which has been working to address the opioid crisis. Learn more about their outreach activities in their 2019 Annual Review or download the excerpt about opioids from the full review.
Spotlight on Opioids: Guidance for Rural Health Care Professionals
AgriSafe Network recently conducted a virtual Think Tank on the role that rural healthcare providers could play in the prevention of opioid misuse. These results and other resources for rural health care providers, such as on-demand webinars, downloadable factsheets, provider resources, etc.can be found on their website.