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Rural Health Information Hub

Considerations for Farmers

In 2017, a survey found that 74% of farmers and farmworkers reported that they have been affected by opioid use either through personal use or a family member or friend's use. Multiple factors, including finances, weather, and the socially isolating nature of the job, can contribute to farmers' poor mental health, which in turn can lead to substance use disorders (SUDs). In farming communities, the stigma associated with seeking treatment for substance use is particularly prevalent and prevents farmers from getting the help they need. Rural SUD treatment and prevention programs seeking to help farmers should consider social factors that impact their behavioral health and access to care.

The American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Farmers Union have developed five action steps to address farmers' opioid use. The action steps include:

  1. Help people in treatment or recovery and participate in initiatives that promote treatment and recovery.
  2. Advocate for insurance that will cover SUD treatment and recovery services.
  3. Train and educate farming communities about SUD and available resources.
  4. Partner with state, regional, and local governments to apply for funding and provide SUD services.
  5. Use farm-specific resources, like Extension offices, to educate the community about SUDs.

For additional information about how to address farmers' mental health visit, RHIhub's Rural Response to Farmer Mental Health and Suicide Prevention issue guide.

Resources to Learn More

American Farm Bureau Federation Polling Presentation
Presents the key points from an online survey of 2,201 rural adults on their general attitudes and perceptions of addiction, experiences with opioid addiction, effective interventions and communication leading to addiction recovery.
Organization(s): Morning Consult, American Farm Bureau Federation
Date: 10/2017