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Opioid Crisis Hits Farmers Harder Than Their Rural Neighbors

  • Equipment-related injuries leave farmers vulnerable to opioids
  • About 16% of farmers struggled with prescription-drug abuse
Tablets of multiple vitamin and minerals supplement are arranged for a photograph in Tokyo, Japan.

Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg

The U.S. opioid crisis that’s sweeping through America’s heartland has hit farmers harder than the wider rural population.

Almost three-quarters of U.S. farmers and farm workers say they have been directly affected by opioid dependence, either from taking an illegal dose or dealing with a habit themselves, or by knowing someone who has used. That compares with about 45 percent for the rural population as a whole, according to a poll commissioned by the American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Farmers Union, the two biggest U.S. farmer groups.