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U.S. farm groups unite to tackle rural opioid crisis
U.S. farm groups unite to tackle rural opioid crisis

The Farm Town Strong campaign will provide resources and information for farm communities

By Diego Flammini
News Reporter
Farms.com

Two national farm organizations are joining forces to raise awareness about the opioid issue in rural America.

The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) and National Farmers Union (NFU) created the Farm Town Strong campaign, which will provide resources and information to help farming communities overcome the crisis.

The campaign also encourages peer support for farmers using opioids, which include heroin, fentanyl and morphine.

About 74 per cent of farmers and farm workers have been impacted by opioids, according to a November study commissioned by the AFBF and NFU. The results prompted the groups to launch their Farm Town Strong campaign.

 “Farm country has been hit hard by the opioid epidemic – even harder than rural America as a whole, or big cities,” Zippy Duvall, AFBF president, said in a statement today. “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.”

The opioid situation gained national attention when President Trump declared a national public health emergency in October.



 

Opioid-related deaths in rural America have risen since 1999, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

From 1999 to 2015, “the opioid death rates in rural areas have quadrupled among those 18 to 25 years old,” Dr. Rita Noonan, leader of the Health Systems and Trauma Systems Branch of the CDC, wrote on Nov. 28.

Noonan outlined several strategies to help prevent overdose deaths in rural America.

They include teaching healthcare providers about safer prescribing practices and supporting training for the administration of naloxone, a medication that can stop an opioid overdose, as well as increasing the availability of the product.