AFBF, NFU, Joint Survey Shows Impact of Opioid Epidemic on Rural America

Podcast / Newsline November 29, 2017

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The American Farm Bureau Federation and National Farmers Union are calling for dialogue and action after a survey reveals the massive impact of the opioid epidemic on rural America. Micheal Clements has more.

Clements: A survey by Morning Consult shows 74 percent of farmers and farm workers say they have been directly impacted by opioid abuse. A collaboration between the American Farm Bureau Federation and National Farmers Union, AFBF President Zippy Duvall says the survey is a united approach to the opioid crisis.

Duvall: There is a definite problem with opioid use in rural America. We’re a family of famers and ranchers across this county and we try to stick together to help people in our communities. And, we need to recognize that this is a disease and it’s something that our government can’t fix by itself.

Clements: National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson says the survey shows the challenges rural America faces in combatting opioid addiction.

Johnson: Farm and rural communities currently face major challenges in the fight against addiction, like access to services, treatment and support. Time and time again farmers and ranchers have come together to help their families and their neighbors through challenging situations. That same resolve and compassion will help us break the grips of opioid addiction in rural America.

Clements: The survey found that a strong majority of rural Americans believe that reducing the shame or stigma around opioid addiction can be effective in solving the opioid crisis. Duvall says that Farm Bureau and National Farmers Union want to tell folks in rural America that help is available.

Duvall: There is a stigma of people being ashamed to go seek out help and we want to tell them that we understand that this is a sickness and we want them to find help to help their families through it. So, we’re trying to bring awareness to the availability of finding help for people that need it.

Clements:  Micheal Clements, Washington.

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