Rural Communities Site Drug Abuse As A Top Concern

A new study released this month revealed that rural Americans are just as worried about drug addiction as they are economic conditions in their communities.  New Jersey has a population of over 8 million residents of which nine percent live in rural areas, encompassing seven of the twenty-one counties in the state. These counties are Sussex, Warren, Hunterdon, Cumberland, Salem, Atlantic, and Cape May.

The study conducted in 2018 and 2019, was an open-ended survey of 2,700 rural adults and aimed to identify the major concerns of rural voters. It found that 25 percent of rural American said opioid or drug addiction was the biggest concern for their community, and 21 percent sites the same for economic conditions. This strikingly illustrates the dramatic toll of addiction on our rural communities.

The survey also revealed that these communities, typically thought of a self-reliant, resoundingly feel that outside help is necessary in order to solve the opioid epidemic they are facing.  Since 2017, the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey (PDFNJ) has been conducting Knock Out Opioid Abuse initiatives in conjunction with Horizon Blue Cross Shield of New Jersey (Horizon BCBSNJ) in order to address the opioid epidemic in all of New Jersey’s 21 counties. Knock Out Opioid Abuse encompasses community outreach, prescriber and parent education, town halls and a statewide awareness campaign.

As we are scheduling our upcoming 2020 Knock Out Opioid Abuse town halls across the state, specifically in these rural counties, this study is important to keep top-of-mind, as these communities may be struggling the most economically as well, and can really benefit from the help and outreach the PDFNJ provides.

If you are interested in participating in Knock Out Opioid initiatives in your area, please be sure to visit the Knock Out Opioid Abuse website and please reach out to PDFNJ as well, and let us know how we can help.


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