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

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from NPR

NPR2 min readPolitics
Suicide Bomber Kills 63, Injures 182 At Wedding Reception In Kabul
More than 1,000 people had gathered at a hall in a Shiite neighborhood to celebrate a wedding. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack Sunday.
NPR10 min read
My Grandfather, A Killer
Denise Guerra, a second-generation Filipino American, never met her grandfather. When she finally learned a long-held family secret, it shattered her view of the quintessential immigrant narrative.
NPR3 min read
In 'Gods With A Little G,' The Kids Are Alright
Tupelo Hassman's novel about a group of teenagers at loose ends in a tiny town run by Christian fundamentalists has some dark moments, but ultimately it's as heartwarming as it is beautifully written.