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Farmers in USA hit hard by opioid epidemic

Three quarters of US farmers and farmworkers have been directly impacted by opioid abuse.

Alex   Black

Alex   Black
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Farmers in USA hit hard by opioid epidemic #MentalHealth

Farms have been hit hardest by the crisis, although many people were unaware opioids were a bigger problem for rural communities than urban.

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Mental health hub: It's OK not to be OK #FGMentalHealth Mental health hub: It's OK not to be OK #FGMentalHealth

The US opioid epidemic

  • 91 Americans die every day from Opioid abuse
  • 74 per cent of farmers and farmworkers say they have been directly impacted
  • 54 per cent of farmers and farmworkers believe opioid addiction is a disease
  • 3 in 4 farmers say it is easy for someone to access opioids or painkillers without a prescription
  • But people are largely unaware opioid abuse impacts rural communities the most
  • Less than half of adults in rural areas believe they could access care which is:
    • Effective
    • Covered by insurance
    • Convenient
    • Affordable

And access to services, treatment and support in rural areas was a major obstacle in tackling the crisis.


Farm Town Strong

The US NFU and the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) have launched the Farm Town Strong campaign to raise awareness of the impact on farming communities following the survey by Morning Consult.


US NFU president Roger Johnson said he had been moved by the story in the New York Times of farmer Roger Winemiller in Ohio who had lost a son and a daughter to opioid overdoses.

His other son had also been in and out of treatment for addiction.


“The story was him having to drive back and forth to his treatment. This was half a day ordeal to take his son for treatment,” he said pointing out this was just not feasible for farmers during busy periods and highlighting the issue of a lack of services.”



AFBF president Zippy Duvall said he had been shocked by how easy it was to get opioid drugs.

But he highlighted there was hope if people sought treatment.


“That is why we are urging everyone we know to talk to their friends, family, co-workers – anyone at all they know or suspect needs help.


“Because opioid addition is a disease, it is up to all of us to help people who suffer from it and help them find the treatment they need. Government cannot and will not fix this on its own.”

Battling an opioid addiction

There are a number of different options you have for treating an opioid addiction - here's some useful links if you, or someone you know, has been affected.

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