UNMC: Opioid misuse a common problem in rural communities

The University of Nebraska Medical Center is spreading the word, when it comes to opioid misuse among those in rural communities.

They’re working with National Farm Safety and Health Week from September 15th through the 21st, the Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health (CS-Cash) at the University Medical Center College of Public Health.

These organizations are working together this week to address the issue of opioid abuse.

The Farm Bureau estimates that around 75 percent of farmers or farm workers are directly impacted by opioid abuse, whether it comes to a friend, family member or themselves.

Officials advise anyone receiving an opioid prescription to take caution when using it.

According to experts, an opioid use disorder is defined as a problematic pattern of use that leads to serious impairment or distress.

People diagnosed with this disorder show at least two of the following symptoms:

-Substance is taken in larger amount and for longer period than intended.

-The person experiences a desire or unsuccessful effort to cut down or control use of the drug.

-A great deal of their time is spent in obtaining, using, or recovering from abuse of the drug.

-And a strong desire, craving or urge to use opioids.

Doctors say continued use of painkillers typically leads to failure to fulfill obligations at work, home or school.

Going back to rural communities, the Farm Bureau estimates, 77 percent of farmers and 76 percent of agricultural workers say it’s easy to obtain large amounts of prescription opioids.

As many know, Nebraska’s primary industry is agriculture, injury rates are high.

And the latest data from the National Institute on Drug Abuse reported in 2017 that Nebraska providers wrote 56.6 opioid prescriptions for every 100 people.

The average in the U.S. was 58.7 per 100 persons.

This week is meant to highlight resources for help, and inform people of the ongoing crisis.






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