Rural opioid epidemic more common than you think

Rural leaders are sounding the alarm on how opioid addiction is spreading through communities.

Illinois farmer Connie Gyorr’s has been advocating about the dangers of opioids after her daughter died from an overdose in 2016. 

“Education I think is the only way that we’re going to get through this, education and prayer.”

She says most often addition starts in the home medicine cabinet, but street drugs are also being laced to make them more powerful along with vapes, which is turning into the new gateway.

“In high schools, 75 percent of kids are using vapes, 50 percent in middle schools.”

Ray Atkinson with American Farm Bureau says in rural America, the issue is getting worse.

“We knew there was a big problem, but we didn’t know how big.”

A recent survey by the American Farm Bureau and National Farmers Union found nearly three in four farmers and farm workers say they have been directly impacted by the opioid crisis. 

Gyorr and Atkinson were guests on a session of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting virtual convention to highlight the Farm Town Strong initiative and give greater awareness to the issue.

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