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Perceptions of Opioid Misuse in Mississippi Agricultural Communities: Focus Group Findings  Open Access

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health. 29(1): 47-56. (doi: 10.13031/jash.15250) @2023
Authors:   Devon Meadowcroft, Mary Nelson Robertson, Marina Denny, Martha Rayner, Amanda Stone, Jeff Johnson, David Buys
Keywords:   Agriculture, Farming, Focus groups, Opioids, Mississippi.


There is a concern that agricultural producers could be misusing opioids to cope with stress and injuries.

Focus groups were held in Mississippi to determine perceptions of opioid misuse in the agricultural community.

Results found that alcohol misuse, not opioid misuse, is an issue for Mississippi agricultural producers.

Focus group participants believe that other groups in their communities have issues with opioid misuse.

Abstract. Opioid misuse has been identified as a concern among the farming community. The aim of this study is to identify how opioid misuse is perceived in agricultural communities across the state of Mississippi. A series of focus groups were conducted with University Agricultural and Natural Resource Extension agents and agricultural producers in Mississippi between November 2020 and February 2021. Focus group transcripts were analyzed through thematic analysis. Both university Extension agents and agriculture producers believe that opioid misuse is more of a concern in the greater rural community, amongst younger individuals, as opposed to being a concern for producers themselves. Extension agents stated that the unique personalities of agricultural producers might prevent them from being upfront about any of their opioid misuse. Agricultural producers stated that alcohol misuse is more of a concern among their peers than opioid misuse and that opioid misuse is present in farm labor. Generally, the focus groups revealed that participants did not think that opioid misuse was an issue for agricultural producers in Mississippi. However, participants identified other groups in their communities as having issues with opioids. The private nature of agricultural producers could be a reason why opioid misuse is not perceived to be widespread in that group. Alcohol misuse was observed as an issue for agricultural producers in the producer focus groups.

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