The presidents of the nation’s two largest general farm organizations Tuesday visited the “Prescribed to Death” opioid memorial in Washington, D.C., in a show of unity to address the national opioid epidemic that is disproportionately affecting farming communities.
American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall and National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson joined Anne Hazlett, Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The three toured the exhibit, which memorializes the 22,000 people who died from a prescription opioid overdose in 2015. AFBF President Zippy Duvall says of the opioid epidemic, “we all need to talk about this problem to get help for those we care about.” NFU President Roger Johnson stated farming communities can overcome the epidemic if “local communities and local governments make it a priority. ”
A survey by the two organizations in late 2017 found that just under half of rural Americans say they have been directly impacted by opioid abuse, while 74 percent of farmers and farm workers say they have.