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April 29, 2016

Government health officials will team up with minor league baseball as part of a new $36 million campaign to discourage rural teenagers from using chewing tobacco. Baseball stadiums will feature the campaign’s central message this summer — “smokeless doesn’t mean harmless” — via advertising and promotions with players. Ads will also run on local television, radio and online in 35 markets across the U.S., including cities in Michigan, Montana, South Carolina and Tennessee. The Food and Drug Administration says its latest effort targets white, rural males who are more likely to use dip, chew and other smokeless tobacco products. Roughly 32% of rural males ages 12 to 17, or roughly 629,000 Americans, are at risk for using chewing tobacco, according to the agency.

 

Drug Addiction in Rural Areas

There are multiple explanations for why people living in rural areas may be more likely to get addicted to drugs. Rural populations are usually older, and older populations are more susceptible to chronic pain treated by opioid-based pain medication — a common introduction to the slippery slope of opioid abuse. And in these rural areas, where existing jobs are often more physically demanding, work injuries are common. Instead of risking job loss, injured employees often rely on these pain medications to numb the problem. But the sheer distance from addiction treatment is the main reason that rural areas see so much long-term drug abuse — abuse that can lead to an overdose.

The Seattle Times reports that “legal marijuana sales in Spokane County topped retail sales of wine and kitchen staples such as bread and milk last year.” In the parts of the country where marijuana can be legally bought and sold, the product is proving just as lucrative as expected: Spokane’s sales topped $5 million in March, and in the last month of 2015, the state of Colorado sold a whopping $62.2 million.

UPCOMING EVENTS

May 19 - Illinois Local Government webinar
June 13 - Farm Dreams, Epiphany Farms, Bloomington, IL
June 27 - Farm Dreams, Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, Champaign, IL
July 11 - Farm Dreams, Blue  Yonder Organic Farm, North Salem, IN
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