The Opioid Epidemic and Agriculture


The truth about opioids in the United States is sobering: no corner of the country remains untouched by the epidemic. With access to prevention, treatment, and support services sorely lacking in rural areas, these regions are now surpassing cities in rates of death from opioid overdose. Suzanne Flaum, Gleaning Assistant for Cornell Cooperative Extension of Orange County writes, “Recent reports show that those who work in occupations with higher rates of injury (farming, construction, roofing, etc.) where workers are less able to take time off to heal are more likely to medicate acute or chronic pain symptoms with opioids, leading to increased likelihood of addiction.”

The American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Farmers Union conducted a study in 2017. They found that 74 percent of farmers and farm workers report having been affected by opioid abuse, either by taking (and developing addictions to) these medications themselves, or by knowing someone who has dealt with an addiction. And only 38 percent of those people believe that local care would be effective, affordable, or covered by their health insurance.

If you, a friend, or family member is struggling with opioid use or addiction, CCE Orange County has collected these resources for finding necessary, life-saving help: