Rural Americans Preoccupied with Opioid Addiction

Rural Americans Preoccupied with Opioid Addiction in Their Communities

New Poll From NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Interviews Conducted by SSRS

Rural Americans are preoccupied with the problems of opioid and drug addiction in their communities, citing it as a worry on par with concerns about local jobs and the economy, according to a new poll from NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

“For many years, the opioid crisis was seen as affecting only a few states — West Virginia, Kentucky and New Hampshire among others. But it never was just about those states,” says poll co-director Robert J. Blendon, a professor of public health and health policy at Harvard. “It’s now at the same level of a very serious economic plight that people are really worried about. It affects elections, and it affects how people elected from rural areas view their priorities.”

Nearly equal proportions cited drug addiction or abuse (including opioids) and economic concerns as the biggest problems facing their local communities.