A collection of farming and community groups, on the state and local level, gathered in Columbus to discuss how the agriculture industry can help in the fight against the opioid crisis. They say farmers can play an important role, especially in rural Ohio.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Anne Hazlett says support from farmers can go a long way in helping rural communities overcome substance abuse, from raising awareness to supporting treatment efforts.
“Farmers are leaders in these communities and they know what it takes to make things happen to bring solutions whether it’s a faith-based solution or part of the business community, they’re respected, and not only are they impacted by this issue but they can be a key cornerstone to bringing these leaders together,” says Hazlett.
The fatal overdose rate in rural counties can be just as high as some urban counties and in some cases even higher.
Hazlett emphasized that there is a lot of available grant money related to rural development for groups wanting to create new programs.