Agricultural, public health groups meeting about opioid crisis in rural, farming communities

Photo of bill bottles. (WISH Photo)

BOONE COUNTY, Ind. (WISH) — Several Indiana agricultural and public health organizations will be holding a statewide symposium focusing on the impact of the opioid crisis in rural and farming communities Friday.

The meeting will take place at the Boone County Fairgrounds. Topics will include addiction numbers, the need for treatment facilities and recovery housing, law enforcement costs, the impact on school services, workforce and hospitals.

Presenters include Sam Quinones, author of Dreamland, The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic; Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch, Jim McClelland, the Executive Director for Drug Prevention, Treatment, and Enforcement for the State of Indiana, and Anne Hazlett, assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, overdose death rates are higher in rural areas than in urban areas.

A survey sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation and National Farmers Union found 74 percent of farmers and farm workers know someone directly impacted by the opioid epidemic.

“There have been a lot of studies that show how deep this issue goes across our communities. Regardless, it’s a very sobering, very staggering number; these are real people, these are people in our lives, our workers, employees of our businesses, they’re the health of our community and to sit by and not address the issue, not identify ways that we can create new opportunities, new programs, new way to assist those who are having a problem with this issue, it just seemed important for us to take a role,” said Beth Archer, Executive Director of AgriInstitute.

Just this week the American Farm Bureau Federation and National Farmers Union launched “Farm Town Strong” to help rural communities impacted by the opioid crisis. For more information, click here.