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Ohio Farmers Discuss How They Can Help Curb the Opioid Crisis

photo of USDA panel
The United States Department of Agriculture, Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, Ohio Farmers Union and many other groups gathered in Columbus to discuss potential options.

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. Farmers can play an important role, especially in rural Ohio.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Anne Hazlett said 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," she said. "Not only are they impacted by this issue, but they can be a key cornerstone to bringing these leaders together."

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.