Farm groups launch campaign to address rural opioid epidemic

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A black and white image of an addict, dead beneath a sheet, arm outstretched, pills in the palm of their lifeless hand and littering the floor near their hand.

WASHINGTON  — The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) and National Farmers Union (NFU) launched the “Farm Town Strong,” campaign to raise awareness of the opioid crisis’ impact on farming communities.

The campaign will also provide resources and information to help farm communities and encourage farmer-to-farmer support to overcome the crisis on a new website, FarmTownStrong.org.

Rural impact

The Farm Town Strong campaign comes on the heels of a recent survey commissioned by AFBF and NFU that highlighted how the opioid epidemic has hit farmers and farm workers especially hard.

While just under half of rural Americans say that they, a family member or friend have been directly impacted by opioid addiction, for farmers and farm workers it’s 74 percent.

A strong majority of respondents also support increasing public awareness of anti-opioid resources and reducing the stigma that surrounds addiction to help solve the opioid crisis.

Hit hard

“Farm country has been hit hard by the opioid crisis — even harder than rural America as a whole, or big cities,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall.

He and NFU President Roger Johnson encouraged families and individuals to talk about the issues so others will know they are not alone in fighting the issue.

“The lack of services, treatment and support exacerbates the issue in rural areas, and the negative stigma associated with addiction makes it hard for farmers to discuss the problem,” said Johnson.

More

The two organizations will also hold public events and launched a social media campaign, #FarmTownStrong, to highlight the crisis and share resources. More information on the campaign can be found at FarmTownStrong.org.

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