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The Opioid Addiction Epidemic and Its Impact on Farmers and Farm Workers

The Opioid Addiction Epidemic and Its Impact on Farmers and Farm Workers

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Risk Factors for Farmers

Several aspects of agricultural work contribute to the risk of opioid addiction. A primary risk factor is the relatively high likelihood of serious injuries and chronic pain in agricultural workers. Doctors may prescribe opioid pain killers for their patients after surgery, or for chronic back or shoulder pain. This leads to chemical dependency in some men and women.

Farmers also suffer from relatively higher rates of depression for a variety of reasons. Extremely long work hours, financial struggles, an unpredictable environment and fluctuating economic conditions in agribusiness can cause chronic stress. If a family member is killed while operating machinery or doing other agricultural work, the guilt and other emotional trauma can be overwhelming. The occupation ranks high for suicide rates. Agriculture workers may rely on opioids to cope emotionally.

Rehab and Aftercare

Outpatient rehab is available in a large number of locations throughout the nation, although many rural residents must drive 20 or 30 miles to get there. More isolated country dwellers may need to choose a residential option, which requires making sure enough people can pick up the extra work on the farm for 30 days or longer. Aftercare in the form of ongoing counseling and support groups, such as 12-step groups, can help prevent relapse.

Many farmers worry about how they will pay for rehab, but they should not hesitate to investigate their options if they are ready to get help. Although some treatment centers are expensive, others offer a sliding-scale program in which rates are adjusted for income. Some provide affordable payment plans so the entire amount is not due at once. Many health insurance policies pay for some or all of this treatment, including policies under the Affordable Care Act.

There’s no reason to delay calling rehab centers in the region and asking an admissions counselor about fees. Doing so can be the initial step toward recovery.

Summary
The Opioid Addiction Epidemic and Its Impact on Farmers and Farm Workers
Article Name
The Opioid Addiction Epidemic and Its Impact on Farmers and Farm Workers
Description
The opioid addiction problem in the United States has reached a crisis stage, with the number of overdose fatalities rising dramatically every year. Although this might seem to be an urban phenomenon, the nation’s farmers have been significantly affected too.
Author
Publisher Name
bioMDplus
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Azriel Adelberg
About Azriel Adelberg

MSc Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley
An Israeli born organic chemist and PROUD University of California, Berkeley graduate.

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