Addiction Epidemic In Farm Town, America
January 6, 2018
When the nation discusses opioid abuse in rural America, people usually think of the Appalachian region and the Midwest. Such areas have been devastated by elevated addiction, overdose, and disease transmission rates; the problem is hard to address due to the severe lack of addiction treatment services in those areas. Efforts to expand treatment options for rural Americans are not bringing about effective change fast enough, as is evident by the steady increase in overdose death rates from one year to the next.
In California, it can be easy for most Americans to forget about a significant swath of land that is as rural as rural gets. Even coastal Californians lose sight of the state’s Central Valley; a vast stretch of farmland responsible for growing much of America’s fruits, vegetables, nuts, and rice. In fact, California produces the most food (by value) in the United States.
The people living in farming regions have not escaped the inevitable rise of prescription opioids and heroin. And, just like people living in Appalachia, accessing addiction treatment is a real challenge. The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) and the National Farmers Union launched a campaign called Farm Town Strong; the goal is to help farmers overcome the opioid epidemic.
Opioid Epidemic in Farm Country
So, just how bad is opioid use disorder in farm country? The nation’s two largest farm organizations, mentioned above, commissioned a survey which found that compared to the rest of rural America, farmers are impacted by the epidemic the most. Aside from farmers having few addiction treatment options available, many fear that seeking help will lead to social condemnation. Here are some figures for consideration:
- One in three rural adults say there is a great deal of stigma associated with opioid abuse in their local community.
- Less than half of respondents say they could seek care that is either effective, covered by insurance, convenient or affordable.
- Nearly half of rural adults (45%) are or have been directly impacted by opioid abuse.
The last figure may not seem that significant, but the AFBF points out that 45 percent is reflective of all rural Americans. When looking solely at the impact on farmers, 74 percent of farmers have a family member or friend directly impacted by opioid abuse, according to an AFBF press release. These findings underscore the importance of ending the stigma that has shrouded addiction for far too long.
“Farm country has been hit hard by the opioid epidemic – even harder than rural America as a whole, or big cities,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “It’s going to take everyone working together to combat this crisis to make a difference. That’s why Farm Bureau and Farmers Union are teaming up to show unity on this issue and encourage farm families to help their neighbors. If you or a family member has been affected by opioid addiction, it’s important to talk about it so that others will know they are not fighting this alone.”
Opioid Addiction Treatment
Christians Drug Rehab is a faith-based addiction treatment center. Our highly skilled professionals can help you or a loved one stem the tide of addiction, teach you how to work a program of recovery, and help one reconnect with the teachings of Jesus Christ. Please contact us today.