NPR

NPR Poll: Rural Americans Are Worried About Addiction And Jobs, But Remain Optimistic

What's on people's minds in rural America? A new poll shows that the addiction crisis and economic issues have people worried. But many retain an upbeat outlook about the future of their communities.
Drug addiction is a big concern to rural Americans, according to a new poll from NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Source: Alice Goldfarb/NPR

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

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