Protecting Our Young … and Old –
October 28, 2018 – When he was police chief of Stanwood, Wash., population 7,000, Ty Trenary thought rural communities like his were immune from the opioid crisis. Then, one day, a mother walked through his door and said, “Chief, you have a heroin problem in your community.” … “And I remember thinking, ‘Well that’s not possible,’ “ Trenary recalls. “This is Stanwood and heroin is in big cities with homeless populations. It’s not in rural America.” But heroin addiction and abuse are not just a big city problem, as Trenary had thought. While the bulk of fatal overdoses still happen in urban areas, the rural overdose rate has increased to slightly surpass that of cities. Rural Americans say drug addiction and abuse are the most urgent health problems facing their local community, according to a new poll by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. In the poll, 48 percent of people said opioid addiction has gotten worse in their community in the past five years.