New Measure To Boost Drug Prevention In Rural Areas

Tom VilsackNorthwest Iowa — Newly released national data shows children born in rural areas such as ours may be more at risk to drug exposure than kids in the state’s larger cities. Health officials say a higher percentage of newborns in rural areas are affected by prescription pain killers and heroin than in urban areas.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is offering an explanation.

The statistics from 2013 show that five out of every 1,000 births in urban areas were affected by drugs compared to eight out of every 1,000 in rural areas. Vilsack, who served as Iowa’s governor from 1999 to 2007, says more people know each other in rural areas, so those who are struggling with drug addiction may be more reluctant to seek help out of fear their neighbors will find out. He says it’s important to recognize addiction is an illness, not a flaw.

President Obama recently signed a bill designed to provide more education, prevention and treatment programs to rural areas.



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